A lot of times, I’m nervous about sharing who I really am. For example, when I’m at Cafe Luxenbourg or the bar on the 7th floor at Bergdorf’s, I don’t seem very much like part of the 99%. If it comes up in conversation with other folks at the bar, or the bartender, I always say things like, “And that is why we Occupy,” and “We are the 99% too, buddy,” because you never know where you’ll find a kindred spirit who strives for Peace, Social and Economic Justice and Sustainability. Sometimes, though, I feel like I can’t participate in certain political discussions because there’s no denying that I absolutely am a bourgeois bitch at Bergdorfs, having cocktails among other ladies who lunch. I don’t feel guilty about hanging out in picturesque bars with good lighting because, you know, that’s what I do when I’m not teaching preschool. I’m a person who happens to be on the Digg Patriots’ list of subversives and the preferred customer list from the Chanel counter at Bergdorf’s. Subversives need lipstick too, and really, a person can have a little disposable income and still be in the 99% — especially at my age.
These days, I’m nervous to tell most of my friends that I’m voting Green. I fully understand that people are alarmed at the prospect of a Romney presidency, but I don’t understand how a few thousand Greens in solid red or blue states will be to blame if Romney gets elected. Seems to me the millions of teahadists and miscellaneous greedy Republicans coast to coast who actually vote for Romney will be infinitely more responsible for a Romney presidency than anyone else. Nevertheless, entrenched, fearful Democrats continue to harshly criticize and pressure Greens to vote Lesser of Two Evils.
Obama may very well have been an idealistic young politician years ago in Chicago. I’m not saying that he’s fundamentally evil or “bad” in any way. I am saying that both he and Mitt Romney will shoot unlimited drones into Pakistani communities and call the bloody bodies of innocent men, women and children collateral damage. They’ll both send a shit ton of money to Israel, and neither one will do a damn thing to get corporate money out of elections or to stop lobbyists from writing legislation. Certainly Romney is a threat to women on many levels, and Obama gave sensible, sensitive answers in the debates – but from where I sit, the only thing that will change if Romney is elected is the rate of decline in this country. Right now, it’s like we’re being pecked to death by a chicken. If Romney wins, it will be more like a runaway mine car descending into a pit. Either way sucks though – and even after the hurricane, Climate Change is not a serious issue to the Uniparty. The Uniparty gets too much cash from the Fossil Fuel Industry.
Pretend for a moment that you are standing in a grocery store trying to buy peanut butter. There is only one brand – let’s say, Skippy. There is no Jif or Peter Pan or even Smuckers. The only choice you have is Smooth or Nuts. Both are filled with high fructose corn syrup, miscellaneous chemicals and probably contain rat turds. The choice is yours.
A few weeks ago, RootsAction sent an email around advocating Strategic Voting. They referenced Noam Chomsky and Daniel Ellsberg who both take the position that people in swing states should vote for Obama in order to prevent a Romney White House. Notably, the email from RootsAction included the information that both Chomsky and Ellsberg live in solidly blue areas and both men are voting for candidates who support peace and justice. This email was sent in mid-October, about the same time as Ellsberg’s article on strategic voting. A lot of progressives were pissed off that someone with his activist credentials would support LOTE voting. Granted, it would have been a huge boost to the Greens if Ellsberg and Chomsky had given Jill their unqualified support – but it’s not like a lot people in this country listen to Noam Chomsky and Daniel Ellsberg in the first place. Few people listen to Chris Hedges either, and he’s come all the way out of the Green closet (http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/why_im_voting_green_20121029/).
It’s annoying when the political organizations and activists you respect come out in support of The Estabishment – but even if Chomsky and Ellsberg themselves sort of whispered their intentions to vote for alternative candidates, RootsAction made this recommendation:
In the nearly 40 non-swing states where our vote has no impact on Obama vs. Romney, voters can wisely send a message of protest to Obama and the Democratic Party leadership — over policies like militarism, Wall Street coziness, abuse of civil liberties, expansion of nukes, fracking and drilling — by voting for a genuinely progressive candidate such as Jill Stein of the Green Party.
Progressives in some states may have been advised to vote LOTE, but these same established activists advised progressives in 40 states to vote for a candidate who shares their values – assuming that candidate is even on the ballot. Election regulations are structured so that third parties can’t even be on the ballot in many states, and we continue to believe we live in a true democracy.
Strategic Voting was still being debated among the far left when Obama’s senior campaign adviser and former press secretary, Robert Gibbs, said a 16 year old American citizen who was blasted to bits by a US drone while he sat around a campfire with his cousins should have had a better father: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/24/robert-gibbs-anwar-al-awlaki_n_2012438.html
Maybe killing American citizens without due process with drones is an impeachable offense as The Atlantic suggested at the time. I don’t know. I just know that pushing the voting button for Obama is the moral equivalent of pushing the drone button killing little kids in Pakistan. Most Democrats won’t accept this responsibility since they personally oppose killing little kids in Pakistan. They will still vote for Obama, and many will continue to blame Ralph Nader for pulling votes away from Al Gore and giving us George W. Bush – as if Clarence Thomas (whose wife Ginny, champion fundraiser for the Tea Party, was on Bush’s transition team) and the Supreme Court didn’t have a fucking thing to do with the results in Florida. Entrenched Democrats only seem to remember the Supreme Court Justices to justify a LOTE vote – as if Obama would appoint a progressive judge instead of continuing his practice of only submitting people and policies that the Republicans will approve.
I maintain that Ralph Nader wishes he had that kind of influence on American politics. I wish the Greens had that kind of influence too – which is why I’ll be voting for Jill Stein next week while all my friends and most of my family will be voting for Obama. They’re voting for him because of wedge issues like Abortion Rights and Marriage Equality. Those issues are important to consider, but in the end, that’s kind of like putting your own special interests ahead of marginalized and brutalized people in this country and around the world. When you think about what Cornel West has had to say about the new Jim Crow and Stop & Frisk, it’s pretty surprising he said he’d be voting for Obama even though, to my knowledge, he’s not registered in a swing state and RootsAction says he was among the “initiating signers” of the email about strategic voting.
Some of my friends will vote for Obama because they’re afraid of Conservative Christians. For the record, I’m afraid of Conservative Christians too especially since so much of their money has gone into US politics, and through the people that money has elected, into a system that puts corporate greed over human need. Obama supporters often say that we have to work within the system to change it. I say that voting for Jill Stein and other alternative candidates IS working within the system. Setting explosions around the gates of Monsanto is not – that’s why I gave all my lipstick money to Jill Stein this fall and have chosen tequila cocktails over Molotov.
Every Democrat I know is so scared of a Romney presidency that they overlook all the ways in which Obama functions as a corporate spokesperson to perpetuate endless war and environmental destruction. Maybe they’re right and a couple of thousand votes for Jill Stein will end in a Romney victory. Maybe with Romney in the White House, Democrats will finally stop celebrating Incremental Progress and get off of their asses and into the streets with the rest of us.