Thursday, April 21, 2011

2004: We Already Told You

Sadder but wiser?

2004: Kerry for President
I tend to use my vote strategically. I voted for third party candidates in 1976, 1980, 1996 and 2000 to send a message to the Democrats that I couldn't stomach their policies (and because Peter Camejo, Barry Commoner and Ralph Nader offered genuine leadership).

When I canvassed for Barry Commoner and the Citizen's Party in 1980, my friend and I were sent to the poorest precincts of East Palo Alto. The African-Americans there would have none of it. They told us that we would just help get Ronald Reagan elected, and then things would be even worse. And even though Jimmy Carter was mostly offering Reagan Lite, I came to see that those voters were right. Things did get much, much worse because of Reagan, and we're still suffering from the effects.

I voted for the Democrat in '84, '88 and '92 as a matter of self-defense, to block the eviller of two evils. If Al Gore had bothered to contest my state in 2000, I probably would have clamped an industrial-strength clothespin on my nose and filled in the oval for him.

I don't believe I've ever seen an eviller candidate than George W Bush, and I have very real concerns that if we don't get rid of him and replace him with a less malevolent corporate stooge, we may never again have a chance to reclaim our democracy. I have no illusions about any white knight riding in to save us; whoever is elected, we have to keep their feet to the fire with constant activism for justice. As Frederick Douglass put it, power will concede nothing without a struggle.

And there's a real danger than many will simply relax once Bush is gone, and trust the Democrat to do the right thing, as they did with Clinton.

But as Chomsky has said, even minor differences between candidates in the US can translate into life or death for our victims abroad. The whole planet is depending on us to overthrow the Bush junta. The Left has to show next year that we can unite and defeat this incipient fascism. Doing this would help make us a force to be reckoned with, and let's face it, right now we are reckoned without.

The last thing the Democratic Party wants is a bunch of lefties coming in and working with local precincts and committees, raising progressive issues, canvassing on behalf of their candidates, or even running for office. So let's be their worst nightmare and help them win. The electorate is moving left and most progressive issues actually have majority support. It's time we helped to prove that.

Meanwhile I'll keep working for electoral reforms like instant runoff and proportional representation, along with easier ballot access for third parties. And I'll oppose the corporate welfare and foreign interventions that the next Democrat brings us. I'll also applaud when they occasionally manage to do the right thing, because the current administration simply never does.

When the voters of Oregon passed a right-to die initiative, it was overturned by the legislature. So the voters simply put it back on the ballot again, and passed it with an even greater majority, using the campaign slogan "We Already Told You." Many voters who opposed the initiative ended up voting for it the second time around, simply to take a stand for democracy.

The voters of the United States told us in 2000 that they didn't want George W Bush. Thanks to the treasonous Supreme Court, they got him anyway. Now even those of us who generally don't like Democrats owe it to democracy to send Bush back to Texas. We already told them.

No comments:

Post a Comment