The following article, posted Sept. 27, was reprinted from prisonradio.org.
What a difference a few years make. Four years ago, the Obama presidency sent a palpable sense of relief across the country and around the world.
I remember seeing a spontaneous eruption of joy in the streets of Pittsburgh near SCI-Greene, as youth took to the downtown district in sheer exultation.
The only thing that came close was when the Philadelphia Flyers (a hockey team), won the Stanley Cup in 1975, and people poured into the streets in a kind of mania.
Well, the mania is gone now.
Even so, Obama looks increasingly like he’ll win re-election, especially if Mitt Romney insists on helping him by stepping on his tongue.
Four years ago, “hope” and “change” were the mantra of the day, captivating millions.
But history can’t be made every day.
Americans are terrified of the looming economic crisis gripping the nation.
The rightists are afraid Obama will establish new and larger government programs. Leftists fear that Romney will scuttle so-called Obamacare — aka Affordable Health Care Act — and decimate other social services.
But, truth is, both are essentially advocates of austerity. One wants to slap people with it; the other slaps you as well. He just says he hated to do it.
Austerity is a strategy to cut off social services and privatize. Fear is the night side of democracy. It is its alter ego. And the politics of fear always result in loss, not gain. As Europe begins to tumble, the economics of fear sails across the Atlantic. And it infects U.S. politics — and before long — everything else.