A follow-up on yesterday’s post, which I ended with this great line by Vast Left: “No status quo was harmed in this election.” Another summary statement from Vast Left: “It’s not pragmatic or politically feasible for me to pretend both big parties aren’t crap.”
The arguments are familiar. That doesn’t make them meaningless. It is, however, another indication of how stuck we are. Examples: this is not a practical time to talk about alternatives, not during the 2012 version of the most important election of our life! You want perfection! Supreme Court!
Back during the 2008 version of the most important election of our lifetime, Eric Stoner wrote Beyond the Lesser of Two Evils. It’s still relevant. Almost certainly it will be, still, in 2016.
Every four years we are told that we face the most important election of our lifetimes, and that voting for anyone but a Democrat only increases the likelihood of a Republican victory that the country just cannot bear. Anyone who buys this argument must ask themselves: when will the situation in this country and the world not be desperate? … If not now, when should we demand fundamental change for our vote? For the Democratic faithful that day will never come. The lesser of two evils logic will always apply.
How to break this lesser to greater evil deadlock? Debra Sweet, at OpEdNews:
12 Steps to Overcoming Addiction to Voting for the ‘Lesser of 2 Evils’ …
Were you opposed to the policies of the Bush regime? Did you used to think critically and attend anti- war protests but now find yourself justifying Barack Obama’s wars in Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and Pakistan?
Are you unsatisfied with Obama but stay with him out of fear of Mitt Romney becoming president? If you answered yes to more than one of these questions, you are probably in a self-destructive relationship with the Democratic Party.
The “12 step program” Sweet offers concludes:
12. Come to grips with this: The only thing scarier than the Republican Party ( a party full of climate-change deniers, fundamentalist woman-haters and gay-bashers, election stealers and racists ) is a party who continually moves to the right to accommodate them and gets Americans to go along in that direction.
Holding ourselves accountable (which means different things to different people) needs to happen before we’re ready to hold Electeds accountable. Writing at Information Clearinghouse, John Cusack focuses as much on voters as on Electeds and Wannabes.
This is not an exercise in bemoaning regrettable policy choices or cheering favorable ones but to ask fundamentally: Who are we? What are we voting for? And what does it mean?
Cusack provides the transcript of an interview with Jonathan Turley. Snippets:
TURLEY: The Republican and Democratic parties have accomplished an amazing feat with the red state/blue state paradigm. They’ve convinced everyone that regardless of how bad they are, the other guy is worse. … They have so structured and defined the question that people no longer look at the actual principles and instead vote on this false dichotomy. …
The question for people to struggle with is how we ever hope to regain our moral standing … unless citizens are prepared to say, ‘Enough. … We’re not going to … be played anymore according to this blue state/red state paradigm. …
CUSACK: … If you want to make a protest vote against Romney, go ahead, but I would think we’d be better putting our energies into local and state politics – occupy Wall Street and organizations and movements outside the system, not national politics, not personalities. … Not brands. … What would you say?
TURLEY: Well, the question … that people have got to ask themselves … is not what Obama has become, but what have we become? … I think that people have to accept that they … can walk away. I realize that this is a tough decision for people but maybe, if enough people walked away, we could finally galvanize people into action to make serious changes.
Similarly, from Chris Hedges at TruthOut:
Our political system … is one of legalized bribery. … We cannot use the word ‘hope’ if we do not fight back. … We can expect only mounting hostility from the corporate state. Its internal and external security apparatus … will seek to silence and crush all dissidents.
Any doubts about that latter assertion should be removed with how heavy-handedly Occupy and related efforts are restricted, if not shut down.
At Dissident Voice, Linh Dinh writes:
… if you want more of the same … then vote D or R this November, but I have another proposal. As a first step in a radically new direction, we must boycott this coming election and deny it of all legitimacy, and we shouldn’t do this passively, by staying at home. Instead, we should turn out in massive, unprecedented numbers on election day … not to vote but to announce … that these elections are mere charades masking the fact that America no longer has a representative democracy. Before we can say yes to anything else, we must say no to this ongoing madness.
I know, that sounds so unrealistic, so impractical. And obviously it’s a huge undertaking, one in which millions are actively involved, but are yet very much in the minority. But then, if there were never any people, however small in numbers at the beginnings, who were willing to say “enough,” we might be the United States of Great Britain; or women might still be barred from voting; or maybe we’d still have “separate but equal” schools and water fountains.
(American Extremists comic via Vast Left)