What A President With Genuine Courage Looks Like.To repeat, for the benefit of the cognitively disabled:
By: John Caruso
Evo Morales just finished a 5-day hunger strike in support of a package of electoral reforms:Bolivian President Evo Morales ended a five-day hunger strike today after the Bolivian Congress approved a new electoral law that will boost the voting power of his core constituency.(This was nothing new for Morales, who once fasted for 18 days when he was a union leader to protest coca eradication.)
Morales had canceled a diplomatic visit to Cuba to maintain a vigil inside the presidential palace, where for almost a week he consumed only water and coca leaves, the raw ingredient in cocaine and a folk remedy used in Bolivia to suppress hunger. He slept on a bare mattress on the palace floor, surrounded by fasting union leaders who form part of his coalition party.
"The Bolivian people will never forget this revolutionary process," Morales, 49, said today in the presidential palace, moments after concluding the strike. In remarks on state television, Morales said he hoped the fast would strengthen Bolivians’ support for "profound economic, social and cultural changes."
The superficial similarities between Morales and Obama only serve to highlight the critical differences: Bolivia's president is a former union leader who draws directly on his experience to fight for his principles, whereas our erstwhile community-organizer president trades on his past to gain votes while actively betraying the principles he formerly espoused. To put it another way, Morales uses his power to further the goals of the popular movement that made him president, while Obama co-opts the power of the popular movement that made him president to undercut its goals.
Just for a moment, imagine what it would be like to have a president who actually possessed (positive) core, non-negotiable convictions, and for whom going on a hunger strike was well within the range of sacrifices they were willing to make to fight for those convictions. While you're at it, imagine what it would be like to have a populace that demanded this level of conviction in exchange for their support—and refused to settle for less. And finally, imagine how far short of those goals we could fall and still be light years beyond where we are today.
It's no surprise that we're constantly told the most we have a right to expect is tiny incremental steps toward positive change, but what's tragic is that so many people have not only accepted that but have internalized it as though it's some sort of immutable law of nature. They never seem to notice that those same restrictions don't apply to negative changes—like (say) massive restructuring of the entire system of world trade, radical financial deregulation, or the repurposing of a "defensive" military organization as a weapon of U.S. foreign policy, to name just a few. They end up excusing and rationalizing the most craven compromises (and even outright betrayals) with carefully-inculcated arguments about pragmatism and political feasibility and the need to lower their expectations.
As a great philosopher once said: you get what you settle for.
To put it another way, Morales uses his power to further the goals of the popular movement that made him president, while Obama co-opts the power of the popular movement that made him president to undercut its goals.Couldn't have said it better myself...