Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
Announcing the Ryan pick for a weekend news cycle meant the Romney/Ryan campaign got the Sunday morning political-analysis-as-duopoly-entertainment attention, in which the same predictable points are made, about the same predictable process by which We the Electorate are expected to choose between the predictable oligarchy approved nominees of the two corporate parties. Resulting in a rather predictable response on my part, I acknowledge.
Ryan on economy, but also on “social issues” (and there is an audience as much focused on that – from “socialized medicine” / Obamacare to immigration “reform” to the “protect our innocent children, traditional marriage” – as on reducing deficit and taxes) gives some of the “I’m really uncomfortable with Romney” voters a way to move to “okay, with Ryan on the ticket I can vote for Romney,” while also encouraging the “You have to vote for Romney / Ryan because Obama / Biden are much worse!” Republican side of lesser evildom.
On the Democratic side of things, not much changes except we can now fill in the space after Romney’s name with Ryan’s (R&R doesn’t mean what it used to), and use his unquestionably very conservative positions and record for an even stronger, if predictable, “why you have to vote for Obama / Biden because Romney / Ryan are much worse!” Democratic side of lesser evildom.
As lambert at Corrente put it: “The choice … will be which legacy party will, or will be perceived to, gut the New Deal less.”
Of course, we can choose to vote for a “third” party at the top of the ticket and beyond (if you’re fortunate enough to be in a state on which such appear on the ballot, or you can write-in). I’ll do that, yet again, and it will be Stein / Honkala.
Predictably, making any but the Repub / Dem choice will mean hearing: 1) you’re wasting your vote; 2) (on the Left) a vote for “third party” is a vote for Romney / Ryan (mention of Nader at this point is likely); 3) you’re being unrealistic; 4) post-2008, there may also be a mention of Hillary, implying the only reason you could possibly have to vote “third” party is because you are a disgruntled Hillary-ite who needs to “get over it.” It’s significantly weaker than the already weak arguments it accompanies, but it sometimes gets thrown in, along with “single issue” and the exceptionally condescending, “you’re looking for perfection,” accusations.
We keep ourselves stuck with either/or options when we let “evildom” framing (explicitly and implicitly) limit the conversation. We restrict our choices when we let lesser evildom, or anti-lesser evildom, rule. The need for change, more options, reform, revolution, etc., is about so much more than 2012; so much more than Obama/Biden vs. Romney/Ryan; so much more than the latest version of the “most important election of our lifetime” framing.
For everyone working within the two party system, and for everyone working from the outside, toward making actual changes … more power to you! Those efforts to challenge the Two Party Front for the Oligarchy reality are a long-term, hard work process, which is very important even though its ultimate success is, of course, in doubt.
As for the next few months of mainstream public and media Obama/Biden vs. Romney/Ryan attention, there’s no doubt: Lesser evildom rules! And so in terms of actually providing any challenge to the Duopoly, predictable 2012 politics is so exciting even the crickets are yawning.
(Cricket photo via Photobucket)