What? You're Not Going to Vote? Are You Insane?
Recently, a member of the discussion group Speak-Your-Peace ( (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Speak-Your-Peace/), call her Ishmael, wrote this:
"For all of you who think Nader is a "Bush plant" or a spoiler....check out the following article (not included, it was so dumb--ed.) and find out...WHO IS
REALLY TAKING THE MOST REPUBLICAN MONEY? Hint...It ain't Nader.
If you must vote....vote peace. Or else take responsibilty for the murder of the innocents to come. When you vote for war.....you are killing them.
I will probably will not vote this year....my message to the
DNC....I don't buy what you are selling and I will not participate in this FARCE. Smoke, mirrors and bull shit. Two sides of one coin...NO CHIOCE! With the votes being handled, controled and counted by the GOP and their companies. What a joke."
Yow! So I responded--surprise--with a rant:
"Ishmael, you won't vote this year? Have you taken leave of your senses?
And by "you" I mean all who agree with Annie or plan to vote for Nader in a swing state.
Whatever merit there is to Naderism, it's been, at least temporarily, been made moot. There just too much at stake to be bogged down in the trough of "same coin, two sides." In many ways, that dogma feeds right into the neocon's pit bull attack. The more of you--who would not vote Republican under any circumstances-- that don't vote, the better off they are. And as much as 3rd party that offers a real choice is desirable and necessary, I can wait another few years--it's been a few hundred, after all--to resume that fight.
I don't have a problem with Nader's general points of view. His conclusions about the evils of corporate dominance are indisputable. But--and there's a big one--but with extreme rightwing neocon zealots having hijacked the Republican party (not that it ever was admirable), being in charge of the government and still largely controlling the national agenda, and even with a centrist DNC-dominated Democratic party, to still maintain that there's no difference between the two parties is mind-boggling and hopelessly reactionary. "Corporate interests" are an incredibly destructive force, but note this--no mater how insufficient the Clinton administration was in fostering a sustainable environmental and energy policy, the democrats would not and will not undo 30 years of environmental progress, and invite the energy industry into the White House to write energy policy. That comparison obtains across the board. The dems don't distort or deny all science to a radical or religious agenda, that not coincidentally enriches the corporate coffers at the expense of yours and mine, as does the Medicare bill that the dems would never have passed. Under the dems, slow and plodding--often begrudging, sometimes bludgeoned into it-- advancement of consumer interests and reigning in of corporate power. Under the current incarnation of Republicans, total capitulation to the goals of the worst of corporate America, and total undoing of any progress in that direction since the New Deal, if not the first Roosevelt era--if they could get away with it. Another term, and they might.
At this stage, do we again have to list all the crimes of the Bush administration to convince anyone to vote against them,and that corporate hegemony is far from the only,or maybe even the most important problem? How about the 300,000 women around the world who have died because of Bush's re-imposition of the Reagan gag rule--no funding for international health clinics if abortion is even mentioned, let alone advocated or practiced, or don't adhere to the Bush's insistence that the only advocacy can be of abstinence. That's 300,000 dead. As that was one of the first acts of Bush as pres, repealing it will be one of the first acts of a Democratic pres. Once more --300,000 needless deaths, and immeasurable suffering. I shouldn't have to say anything else to get you to vote for Kerry--or rather, against Bush. Jesus Christ, 300,000!
But I will.
Remember that $15B AIDS money? How much do you think has been distributed so far? And to whom was it distributed? And who didn't speak up when some sick fuck of a Bishop in the Vatican told Africans it's no use to use condoms because they leak the AIDS virus--in an attempt to support his Church's vile policy against contraception? How many vulnerable uneducated African Catholics, with no access to the truth--due in no small part to that murderous gag rule--have suffered or died because of these hateful policies? You'd think the leader of the free world would condemn loudly and boldly such malicious ignorance--were it not for the fact that he instructed his CDC to say essentially the same thing on their website--or remove any reference to condoms at all in AIDS prevention. Condoms, after all, promote teenage promiscuity, in addition to not being very effective.
How much suffering and death have these actions and inactions caused? Your guesses will be far too low.
In the interest of full disclosure, the CDC seems to have restored some info on condoms recently, and Bush has recently mentioned, oh so briefly, condoms, in a positive way. Much too little, much too late. Close to 40% of teens in America think condoms don't work so there's no point in using them, mostly as a result of the same abstinence-only advocacy policies in public schools and other institutions that accept (or need) govt money, and the general; lack of any integrity in govt policy towards AIDS and STD education in America. All they seem to care about is stopping kids from fucking, instead of preventing pregnancy or disease. The former is idiotically futile, while the latter is eminently achievable.
That pig Reagan's silence during the early years of the AIDS epidemic resulted in the slogan SILENCE=DEATH. In more ways than he imagines, Bush is Reagan's legatee.
How about 10,000 dead Iraqis, 1000 (so far) dead American soldiers--and 5000 grievously wounded, and tens of thousands who will suffer the Iraqi version of Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome? In Vietnam, 52,000 Americans died (and countless Vietnamese), but almost as many vets died after the war due to PTSS, via drug od's, suicide, and other manifestations of depression and despair. What will happen to the vets from this war, especially as they continue to realize how they too have been lied to, manipulated, and ill-treated when they return home--this time not by their civilian peers, but by their government? Whatever Kerry may or may not do as pres regarding Iraq (and his comments are not encouraging), there's no question the invasion wouldn't have happened under a Democratic regime. Two sides of the same coin? What offensive nonsense.
And those are just the appetizers for Bush's Grande Bouffe.
Now add this--during the next presidential term, up to four supreme court justices may retire. Two at least are guaranteed to do so. How long will Roe v Wade last with one more rightwinger on the court? Or for that matter, the Bill of Rights? Can you imagine the consequences of having an unassailable rightwing majority on the court? Are you even thinking about this? You think that won't further corporate interests in more far-reaching ways than even Nader is talking about?
And finally, does anyone really expect the Democrats, ever, to dismantle the corporate hegemony of America, no matter who the candidate? Do you really think even Kucinich or Nader as pres would have the power to do that? Come on! Not to be paranoid or anything, but this corporate star-chamber is not going to just pack it in--ever. If any true progressive ever made it to the Oval Office, he or she better have good life insurance.
But what the Dems would do, and what even today's wimpy incarnation will do, is wage a good fight against the social and civic oppression, the disgusting disregard for and attempts at dismantling of 80 years of social progress, and stop the vile and disgusting Daily Outrages that have threatened the wellbeing of billions of people on this planet.
So who gives a damn whether Nader is right or wrong, ultimately. And who gives a damn about who is or isn't accepting Republican money. And finally who gives a damn that Kerry isn't the progressive savior we want him (or the candidate) to be? All I want from him is to stop the hemorrhaging of our democracy, restore the Bill of Rights and the social progress of the last decades, and slow the heretofore depressing and inexorable usurpation of the government by the forces of evil. That's all. And that's not sarcasm. Any democrat will do that--because we've gone so far in the other direction, we don't need a hero to turn it around. A goddam moderate can do it, with our help and unrelenting pressure on him or her to do so.
The overwhelming priority for us, our country, and our children is to get rid of the Bush administration, prevent the total corruption of Supreme Court and finally win back control of the Congress from the real Evil Empire. We simply have to disempower the neocons and the religious right, and their surrogates in Congress. That won't get rid of the Ken Lays or Halliburtons of the world, overnight, or maybe at all, but it will stop the brutalizing of women abroad and at home (where they are being denied access to the morning-after contraceptive even after a rape), our children (who as teens are being denied access to condoms, safe sex education, sane advice about sexuality), our health (where stem cell research--well, really, any progressive science, including environmental--is another victim of these insane theocrats), our parents and seniors (who are further victimized by that scam Medicare bill) and our safety in the workplace, in the streets and as citizens of the world.
If one professes to care about any of these issues, and the hundreds more that you know are at risk by the traitors in the White House, then one has no choice but to vote for Kerry/against Bush. If one wants our leaders to care about the furthering of human dignity, and that our leaders at least make an attempt to protect us from our own worst instincts (like corporate greed), then one must vote for Kerry/against Bush. Not voting, or voting for a third party candidate, no matter who, when the electorate is still so closely divided, is not only unprincipled, it's disgraceful. It's treasonous. It's manslaughter!
If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.
If you don't vote, you help elect Bush. If you vote for Nader in a swing state, you help elect Bush. If you support Nader's one-trick-pony litmus test, you help elect Bush. If you buy into Nader's lame responses that he didn't put Bush in office, against irrefutable evidence that those who voted for him, had even half of them voted Democratic, would have also irrefutably given the victory to Gore--then you help elect Bush. .
Take offense if you will, but if Bush wins because people like you didn't vote, or voted for Nader, and you allow these pricks to bring back that "constitution in exile" and continue to bankrupt the govt so it can't afford any social programs at all, you will have become part of the problem, and all your so-called principled attacks on corporate dominance will be revealed as self-serving bluster and incredible naivete. And you won't win the hearts and minds of the citizens you claim to care about but actually will have dishonored them by your incredible arrogance.
The Right has won because they have drilled down to a set of certitudes, turning them into achievable goals, spent billions in think tanks over the last 39 years in formulating strategy--including mastering the art of framing the debate and using language--and dismissing those conservative forces that represented moderation--essentially eliminating internal dissent and co-opting the religious right. And of course being totally unethical unscrupulous lying cheating hypocritical pusmongers.
So how can the Left regain hegemony? Well, that's what the entire leftie pundiscenti are talking about. One thing is clear, though. Ignoring the few tools we have on the grounds that those tools are as bent as the opposition's ain't going to cut it.
So get off your polemical platform and see the forest for the trees--work to defeat Bush, and vote, goddamit. Not voting is not a protest, this time around. It's aid and comfort to the real enemy. And it's stupid. Are you stupid? Of course not. So why are you behaving that way?
Work to defeat Bush. It IS the principled stance. It's the only one. All else is rendered crap by the crimes of this administration.
If Bush gets in again, I will hold you personally responsible."
Now today we read that Bush, Inc. is making "contingency" plans to cancel--they say postpone--the election in case of terrorist attacks.
Isn't that convenient?