Criticizing Obama

I think Glenn Greenwald has it right.

If those who want fundamental reform in these areas adopt the view that they will not criticize Barack Obama because to do so is to “help Republicans,” or because he deserves more time, or because criticisms are unnecessary because we can trust in him to do the right thing, or because criticizing him is to “tear him down” or “create a circular firing squad” or “be a Naderite purist” or any of those other empty platitudes, then they are ceding the field to the very powerful factions who are going to fight vehemently against any changes.  Do you think that those who want the CIA to retain “robust” interrogation and who want the federal surveillance state maintained, or want a hard-line towards Iran and a continuation of our Middle East policies, or who want to maintain corporate-lobbyist-domination of Washington, are sitting back saying:  “it’s not right to pressure Obama too much right now; give him some time”?

I’d go even farther and argue that there is a moral obligation to express dissent, particularly on questions of war, torture, and civil liberties. This seemed to be the general consensus among activists during the Bush years, even in the knowledge that we were unlikely to force a change in policy. Now that we actually have some influence, why are we so afraid to use it? Isn’t the moral imperative the same?

Update: I suppose I have to clarify that perhaps our criticisms need to be more productive now. Dissent for dissent’s sake isn’t terribly helpful.

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Published in: on January 13, 2009 at 9:41 am  Leave a Comment  
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