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"The Pendulum Effect"

Recorded 11-01-09

1) 1:44 The Pendulum Effect MP3

2) 2:05 The Pendulum Effect MP3

The Pendulum Effect
[col. writ. 11/1/09] (c) '09 Mumia Abu-Jamal

    a lot of psychological, emotional, social and economic energy goes into this political business.

    Billions of dollars fill campaign coffers, and friendships, not to mention marriages, are severely tried by conflicting allegiances to competing parties.

    But, if you look at this thing close enough -- or long enough -- a funny thing emerges -- it's what I call 'the pendulum effect.'

    It's the tendency of politics to shift from one position to and opposite one.  This is seen most acutely when a politician switches parties between elections.

    But it's also seen when parties switch their positions over time.

    Back during the U.S. Civil War days (and for quite a while afterwards) the Democratic Party was the white supremacist, nativist, and indeed, openly racist party.  They carried public banners with the word "nigger" emblazoned on them, and the Ku Klux Klan was, in many ways, the party's militia.

    In those days, the Republicans were the beneficiaries of the small, but loyal, Black vote; and they counted among their number the remarkable Black abolitionist leader, Frederick Douglass.

    A century (and a civil rights movement) later, and the party's positions have switched diametrically.  This is also a pattern that developed after the so called 'Southern strategy', when the GOP launched into an all out campaign to exploit white fears and hatreds roiled by the movement.

    There's another factor that we see every election: a politician runs one way, and governs another.

    Perhaps the best exemplar of this trend was former U.S. President George W. Bush, who ran a moderate, non-nation building, and 'humble' foreign policy campaign, and quite another presidency.

    If politicians believe in anything, it's not conservatism, liberalism nor even democracy: it's power.

--(c) '09 maj

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