On Dissidents and Their Voices
Part of the fun of having your own blog is that you can post something in a post that really should be a comment, in an attempt to get more people to read it.
First, I had no idea because there was no campaign whatsoever regarding it, that I was going to walk into my precinct and vote on a Constitutional Amendment that would define marriage, in the State of Florida, as a union between one man and one woman.
Next, in response to yesterday's post about my vote for Nader/Gonzalez (or more accurately, the fact that I didn't vote for Obama), I voted for Nader because he has spent his career fighting The Man. And if we are to develop a viable third party in this country, which might be the only thing that can save it, we have to start supporting it with our votes.
Rather than blathering on, allow me to refer to three articles on Dissident Voice that help explain my position.
- A book review posted last night called "Critical Reading–The Democrats: A Critical History," which I'm putting on my list. Pham Binh reviews the book . . .
Two themes run throughout the book and form Selfa’s conclusion: 1) the Democratic Party is part of the problem, not part of the solution if you want real, meaningful change in this country and 2) change comes from grassroots movements independent of (and in opposition to) the Republican and Democratic parties. The lesser-evil strategy has been and will always be a complete disaster, allowing both parties the freedom to become more and more 'evil' as time goes on so long as they don’t become equally 'evil.'"
2. "How Should You Vote?" by Jeremy R. Hammond. Again, partly about the lesser evil syndrome (and Florida in 2000, where I was a "spoiler" who voted for Nader) and this round's third-party darling, Ron Paul (except for that anti-choice stance that I can't get beyond). Hammond writes of how the lesser evil strategy is doomed. . .
The American people need to recognize that an alternate reality exists, and that the way to bring it about requires merely a shift in paradigm. American voters should shift their electoral strategy from seeking to put the lesser of evils into power to seeking to elect the force for the greatest good.
There are, of course, those who already adhere to this alternative framework. If there were a few more among their numbers, alternative candidates like Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich, and Ralph Nader would gain more votes. They might still lose. But does voting for a losing candidate mean one’s vote has been wasted? How much more wasted is a vote that goes towards the lesser evil? You’ve still voted for the perpetuation of evil. . . .
The only real voting strategy that can offer real hope for change is the one wherein Americans vote their conscience and cast their ballot for the candidate they think is truly the most worthy to be called by the title of President of the United States of America.
Until Americans realize this then there will indeed remain little hope for the future."
3. Mickey Z. (need I say more?) in "Myth America: A Stand-up Tragedy" begins by speaking (this is a talk he's been giving) of what, in my experience, few mainstream Americans (read: not you, and not those who get their information from alternative media sources) talk about–or even know about (thanks to history textbook publishers, among others): September 11, 1973.
"On that date, the US government helped fund and sponsor a military coup in the South American nation of Chile. The democratically elected president, Salvador Allende, was overthrown and killed. They said he committed suicide…with a machine gun. In his place, the US propped up the dictator, General Augusto Pinochet. Not surprisingly, under Pinochet taking power, human rights violations in Chile skyrocketed."
There are bestselling books (Confessions of an Economic Hitman comes to mind), films ("The Battle of Chile" and the subsequent "The Pinochet Case") and even pop songs (I think Sting's "They Dance Alone") that refer to what the US has done in Chile (and other countries), under both Republican and Democratic administrations, but still there is either a forgiveness or an amnesia about what Democrats have done that scares me.
Mickey Z. gets right to it.
"I’m going to provide some of the many, many reasons you shouldn’t vote for McCain:
He’s raised twice as much money from Wall Street than his opponent. He voted for every Iraq war appropriation bill he faced. He refused to be photographed with San Francisco’s mayor for fear it’d be interpreted that he supported gay marriage. He voted against single payer health care. He supports the death penalty, the Israeli war machine, and the fence on the US-Mexican border. When asked if 'there’s anything that’s happened in the past 7 1/2 years that the U.S. needs to apologize for in terms of foreign policy?' he responded: 'No, I don’t believe in the U.S. apologizing.' He voted to confirm Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State and to reauthorize the Patriot Act. He…uh-oh. Sorry, I messed up and gave you some of the many, many reasons you shouldn’t vote for Barack Obama. My bad…"
"In the first three years of the Clinton-Gore regime—two of which involved a Democratic House and Senate—Clinton and his green buddy gave us fun stuff like: The passage of the salvage logging rider, the continuation of the use of methyl bromide, the weakening of the Endangered Species Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act, the lowering of grazing fees on land, the subsidizing of Florida’s sugar industry, the reversing the ban on the production and importation of PCBs, and allowing the export of Alaskan oil.
When Clinton and Gore ran for re-election in 1996, David Brower, former president of the Sierra Club, wrote an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times called 'Why I Won’t Vote for Clinton.' In this piece, Brower declared that Clinton and Gore had 'done more harm to the environment in three years than Presidents Bush and Reagan did in 12 years.' That’s Bush the Elder, not Bush the Lesser.
But most important for my purposes . . .
"To me, America’s two-party system is like buying a ticket on a commercial airline. You can request a seat on the right side or you can request a seat on the left side of the plane. But it doesn’t matter as long as the pilot is in control.
Sure, voting for Barack Obama will prove once and for all that you’re more open-minded than your Republican brother-in-law but it’s time to recognize the most consistent and primary difference between Republicans and Democrats is this: they tell different lies to get elected."
A fabulous deconstruction of what it means to "support our troops" follows.
"No matter what you call it, there is an alternative to terrorism. It’s called justice. But to seek justice, we must first recognize injustice—even if we play a direct or indirect role. To do that, we have to open our eyes and then take action. . . .
To do that, we have to remember that the few successful movements in this country’s history—civil rights, women’s suffrage, labor—prevailed in part because they utilized tactics that were outside of what was permitted at the time. . . .
Clearly, the old strategies are not working but until our tactics evolve, we remain accomplices to the perpetual global crime we call
civilization. What kind of tactics? That’s up to you but, before you rule anything out, consider this: Let’s say I step out side get some air and see one of you lying on the ground. Standing above you is a large, menacing man with bad intentions and clearly, he has incapacitated you with a surprise blow. Your eyes meet mine and you indicate you need help.
I could pray. I could meditate. I could chalk it up to bad karma. I could ask you to recognize that the attacker is a human and tell him that you love him. I could blame patriarchy, the Republicans, or gangsta rap. I could ask myself: What would Jesus do? What would the Dalai Lama do? What would Oprah do? I could try to remember that excellent saying about non-violence I got from my Pilates teacher.
OR: I could stomp my foot to draw his attention downward and promptly whip out a finger jab to his eyes. When he brings hands up (too late) to protect himself, he leaves his mid-section exposed. I kick him in the balls—doubling him over—then grab him by the hair and bring his face down into a powerful knee blow. Then I’d grab the victim get the fuck out of there as fast as we can.
It’s either that or chanting. The choice is yours."
And tomorrow, it's back to the animals (and by the way Mickey Z. does refer to them and their plight).