Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
If you choose the lesser of two evils voting path, then what’s next? Pushing the lesser evil to do better? Or not pushing the lesser evil for fear the greater evil might win next time? If our lesser evil guy / gal says he or she will work for, say, single payer health care, and becomes an Elected, do we keep pushing for single payer, or mostly / only keep kind of quiet, because we’re more afraid of greater evil than the perceived lesser evil of not getting what we were promised?
Clearly I’m in high cynical, or just realistic, mode. Presidential election year politics tend to push me even further that direction. Our political / corporate / media meld very successfully turns each election cycle into drama for the consumption of the masses – that’s us. We’re the audience to be entertained and distracted, encouraged to cheer or jeer (both sides are needed for the drama to work), based on lesser-evildom framing.
Of course, not everyone actually goes along with this game. There are probably lots of people who do “go along,” but know what they’re “going on” with, and try to make it at least somewhat better. And, there are people who seek reforms, if not rebel and revolt. These folks, especially on the rebel and revolt end of things, are generally not favored by the media, by legacy parties, and certainly not by the Elites who buy elections. Well, except as used as a foil, or a scary distraction.
Some recent reading got me thinking about all of this. Again.
David Swanson, at OpEdNews:
You’d never know it from watching television, but there are many thousands of people in the United States who take peace, justice, environmental protection, and government of the people so seriously that they don’t censor themselves whenever the president is a Democrat.
Obviously Swanson is writing on the Left side of things, looking at a book by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank, a collection of 56 essays from prior to Obama’s election through the “quite recent,” entitled, Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion. Drawing on the essays, he provides a lengthy list of “charges against Obama” through a “Declaration of Independence like list of grievances,” ranging from accepting “massive funding from Wall Street” to “sabotag(ing) efforts to protect the earth’s climate” to “dramatically escalated drone killings.”
I think he’s largely correct in saying “you’d never know” about the people who “don’t censor themselves,” and you certainly wouldn’t know about their actual arguments, if you relied on MSM.
Swanson also wrote Elections: What Are They Good For?, which includes a discussion of the evil / lesser evil framing. It seems to me that We the People have largely accepted that framing as something we can’t change, that’s just the way it is, and furthermore, anyone who thinks differently is naive, impatient, and probably unpatriotic, since loyalty to one side of the Duopoly is tantamount to being a “good American.”
… lesser-evilism inverts representative government even when there’s no election anytime soon. People make themselves the servants of their public servants. Organizations ask the government what they should rally their members to demand of the government. Pressuring elected officials from the Good Party is forbidden or heavily restricted as supposedly assisting the Bad Party. …
What to do, Swanson asks, then beings his answer with this:
… first of all, we focus on the other 729 days in every two-year period. …
I advocated for increased activism, which you’d think would make sense … especially if you’d elected less evil office holders. Shouldn’t you try to end war when you’ve elected someone you fantasize might do it, and not exclusively when you believe there’s no chance?
Of course there are those who do keep pushing. During Obama’s term, for example, the environmental activists have been visible with the Keystone Pipeline protests. Immigration reform activists have been vocal, along with the LGBT communities. And, of course, there’s the Occupy / 99% movements, which are focused on the need for a changed system, not just who gets the larger measure of evilist power every few years.
There are others who make more direct decisions, like Rob Kall:
I’m Dumping the Democratic Party, Personally
I’m switching my voting registration from Democrat to independent. I’m doing it to send a message … that I’m not happy with the way they operate, … with their leadership and … with their pseudo-liberalism and the pro-corporatist policies that they have embraced. I’m changing to independent because the two party system is killing America and killing democracy. …
I realize that many of my liberal and progressive friends will continue to be Democrats, continue to work on Democratic campaigns and I respect that decision. …
The most persuasive arguments that have converted me have been my observations of the lies and failures to fulfill promises that Obama and the Democrats engaged in, and conversations about lesser of two evilism. …
… I’ve become a real believer in bottom up approaches and processes. The two party system is VERY top-down. Joining any party gives more power to the top of that party. Remaining an independent retains YOUR power. Now, if there were ways to join together and wield independent power. That would be something.
So far, Evilism has prevented that “something” from happening in a consistent manner. But every time someone or some group challenges Duopoly claims of “representative democracy,” from my perspective, that’s a good thing. And even as torturously slow and difficult as it is, it’s better than accepting lesser evilism as the only “good” option.
( Comic via American Extremist)