American Herald Tribune|Danny Haiphong: New York Senator and prominent Democratic Party leader Chuck Schumer recently shed tears over the Trump Administration’s executive order to ban immigration from seven countries in the Middle East and North Africa. The tears immediately invoked a debate between Trump and the Democrats over the legitimacy of the tears. While Trump and his surrogates have accused Schumer of failing to cry during 9/11, there are far more verifiable examples of Schumer and the Democratic Party elite’s hypocrisy on critical issues. The reality is that the Democratic Party, often touted as the lesser of two evils among self-proclaimed progressives, have facilitated conditions that would bring anyone with an ounce of humanity to tears. But of course, humanity is secondary to a political establishment that is completely beholden to the interests of capital. Here are ten political developments that the so-called lesser-evil party has not shed tears over.
1. The Putrid Economic Conditions for Workers in the United States
It is quickly becoming public knowledge that wages for all workers have declined significantly over the last three decades. The same can be said about wealth. Eight people have usurped more wealth than half of the world’s population. Not a tear has been shed by the Democratic Party for their role in the largest wealth transfer from the 99 percent to the 1 percent in history between the years 2008-2016. In fact, the Democratic Party helped facilitate the wretched conditions that continue to haunt working people.
The Democratic Party championed the destruction of welfare, the privatization of education, and the bail out of Wall Street. Hillary Clinton defended these policies in her campaign. She and her Democratic Party supporters failed to mention that policies like NAFTA and the bank bailout decimated the standard of living for the majority of workers in the US. Most of the jobs created under the last Democratic Administration were either part-time or temporary. Because Democrats shed no tears over the economic plight of the working class, Donald Trump defeated the Democratic Party in one of the most embarrassing electoral losses in US history.
2. Black Americans Murdered by the Police
President Obama became emotional for Trayvon Martin after vigilante George Zimmerman murdered the young Black American in 2012. However, when Michael Brown’s murder by police officer Darren Wilson sparked a national movement against racist police homicide, the Democrats predictably stood by the armed occupation forces of racism and capitalism, otherwise known as the police. Furthermore, Obama paid little attention to the near daily murder of Black Americans at the hands of the police. Worse yet, the Obama Administration’s Justice Department declared that it wasn’t the job of the federal government to prosecute local police departments. However, the Obama Administration did find it worthy to spend more money than any other President in US history in federal weapons transfers to local police departments nationwide.
3. The Mass Black Incarceration State
That leads us directly to the mass Black Incarceration state, which still holds over two million people in prison nationwide. The US remains the leader in number of total people living inside a prison cell. Nearly forty percent of all US prisoners are Black American. Democrats haven’t shed a tear over this development because it was their party that greatly enhanced the mass incarceration regime in the 1990s. President Bill Clinton’s crime bills directly targeted Black Americans for low level drug offenses, leading to 673,000 more people being imprisoned during his tenure, the vast majority of them being Black. When the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 reduced the sentencing disparity between crack and cocaine from 100 to 1 down to 18 to 1, the Obama Administration fought in federal court to prevent retroactive release. The commuted sentences of a few hundred prisoners should be seen as a pathetic response to a bill that should have released thousands from unjust incarceration.
4. Deportations before the Trump Era
Trump has become the face of white supremacy for his proposal to build a wall between the US and Mexico. A number of Democrats have rejected the proposal, but none of them have shed a tear over the war that they waged on undocumented immigrants during the Obama era. From 2008-2016, Obama managed to deport over three million undocumented immigrants, more than twice that of any other President. The Democrats were perfectly fine with militarizing the US-Mexico border at the cost of billions of dollars per year. And few Democrats opposed Hillary Clinton when she staunchly defended the deportation of thousands of Central American children fleeing the chaos created by her policies in the region in 2015.
5. Drone Warfare
Drone warfare was in its infant stages during the George W. Bush’s Administration. The Democratic Party, under the leadership of Obama, launched ten times more drone strikes than Bush, killing nearly 3,000 people in countries such as Yemen, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Civilians in these countries continue to live under the trauma of not knowing whether a strike will take them out at any given moment. But the Democrats are perfectly fine with the CIA’s targeted killing program. The policy has predictably continued under Trump. Do not expect tears or protest from his Democratic Party opposition.
6. The Destruction of Libya and the war on Syria
In the early months of 2011, then President Barack Obama collaborated with NATO and its Persian Gulf allies to destroy the sovereign state of Libya. The imperialist partnership sponsored takfiri mercenaries to complete the objectives of the war. So-called “Libyan revolutionaries” waged a full-scale genocide of Black Libyans. The mission was simple: return the country’s resources to the Western world. Tens of thousands of NATO sorties gave cover to the terrorists, whose victory came at the expense of over 50,000 Libyan lives. Hillary Clinton declared “we came, we saw, he died” on the day that the US-backed Salafists assassinated Libya’s leader Muammar Gaddafi. The destabilization of Libya greatly expanded the global Salafi network across the African continent.
Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and the rest of the Democratic Party used the momentum gained from destroying the sovereign, socialist country of Libya to wage a similar dirty war against Syria. The Saudi-funded and NATO supported takfiris have facilitated the largest refugee crisis in history and are responsible for the deaths of over a 500,000 Syrians. Congress woman Tulsi Gabbard stands alone as the sole Democratic Party politician to advocate for an end to US support for takfiri mercenaries, many of which are affiliated with Al Qaeda.
7. The War on Iraq
Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton both voted for the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The war, often deemed the Republican Party’s biggest blunder, killed over a million civilians. In 2011, Obama announced a gradual reduction of the occupation, but ensured that the war continued by other means. The US State and Defense Departments have maintained the presence of Special Operations forces and military advisers ever since. Madeline Albright, who enthusiastically defended brutal sanctions against Iraq in the early 90s, has come out against Trump for his immigration ban. Yet Albright said it was “worth it” to murder over 500,000 Iraqi children by way of starvation sanctions when she was Secretary of State. The Democratic Party has not shed a single tear for the immeasurable death and destruction imposed on the Iraqi people.
The invasion of Afghanistan pursued by George W. Bush’s administration in 2001 further destabilized a country that had already experienced decades of sectarian strife after the US created a jihadist army to break Afghanistan’s relationship to the Soviet Union in 1979. That war began under President Jimmy Carter and was happily picked up by Ronald Reagan. Similarly, Obama picked up the war that Bush started in 2001. Although he promised to end the occupation of Afghanistan, Obama extended the war indefinitely. Trump has inherited the occupation and drone war on Afghanistan from Obama, and there is not one Democrat today that is shedding tears over it.
9. Subverting Peace and Progress in Latin America
Whether it was Hillary Clinton’s leading role in the coups in Honduras in 2009 and Paraguay in 2012 or the Obama Administration’s sanctions and attacks on Venezuela over the last two years, the Democratic Party has been no friend of Latin America. Obama and the Democrats developed strong ties to oligarchs across Latin America over the course of two terms. They used USAID and National Endowment for Democracy funds to create unrest in Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia. Right-wing governments in Argentina and Brazil found the Democrats to be more than friendly toward their privatization agendas. Whether Democrat or Republican, US Presidents have for well over a century sought to crush all independence and socialist movements in the region in favor of brutal, neo-colonial dictatorships. And none of them have ever questioned the policy, let alone shed tears over it.
10. The Obliteration of Civil Liberties in the US
The Democratic Party was elected in 2008 with a mandate to roll back the most egregious forms of surveillance made possible by the War on Terror instituted during the Bush era. What ended up occurring was a vast expansion of the NSA’s surveillance capabilities into the private lives of every person residing in the US and much of the world. Furthermore, the Democratic Party fully endorsed the Obama Administration’s provision in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012. The provision allowed the state to indefinitely detain anyone it deemed a “terrorist.” Both corporate parties commonly agree upon such breaches of civil liberties, which is why we will not find Democratic Party politicians in Washington shedding tears over the increasingly repressive environment in the United States.
The point here is not to lament over what the Democratic Party has done in the past in order to justify the Trump Administration’s policies. Trump and the GOP’s unstable rule will no doubt create its own legacy. That legacy thus far is shaping up to be more of the same. A national Right to Work law is currently in motion in Congress and the Trump Administration has set its sights on militarily provoking Iran and China. Resistance to Trump and the GOP’s call for cutbacks and war must be armed with the understanding that the Democrats will do nothing but exacerbate these conditions. If it isn’t, than the resistance will wither away under the weight of the Democratic Party’s assault on the political aspirations of the masses.
*(Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer, Supreme Court news conference to call for the reversal of President Trump’s travel ban on refugees and immigrants from several Middle East countries. Image Credit: Lorie Shaull/ flickr).