“Beware the Worser Evil! You’re Not Voting? Are You Crazy?!“
By Dennis Loo (11/1/12)
While nature’s latest revenge against the folly of those who think that Mother Nature can be ignored can be seen in the stunning wreckage of the people and infrastructure of the U.S. eastern seaboard, taking lives and threatening many more, and where nothing will be the same as before, another storm is happening within the political left. Here, for example, are the admonishments of The Nation writer Phyllis Bennis writing on October 29, 2012:
It’s practically the eve of the election—and I’m still kind of stunned to hear from people who don’t plan to vote, who think voting doesn’t matter. A young writer, 21 years old, wrote to me the other day, after seeing an interview I did on what elections are and aren’t, and on how the candidates do and don’t differ on foreign policy. (Spoiler alert: mostly they don’t.)
Among other things, he said “We young people understand that the political theater of electoral politics will not bring about the radical transformations required to avert environmental and economic catastrophe.”
Rather than acknowledge the fact that this young unnamed writer is absolutely right that environmental and economic catastrophe is unfolding before our collective eyes - for those of us still able to see what actually is in front of our eyes - Bennis wastes not a single word talking about those disasters, including the one happening, as she wrote those words, with Hurricane Sandy.
Instead, our stalwart proponent for the Left Ms. Bennis focuses on what’s really important – determining the decisive difference it makes whether Obama or Romney gets elected. I’m reminded while reading her piece of the fabled debate among religious scholars of the number of angels that can fit on the head of a pin.
Bennis’ piece is entitled “Why Elections Matter – and Why We’re Still Arguing About It.” A better title, at least a truthful one, would be “Why You Have to Tail After the Pseudo-Progressive, Even After He’s Shown That He’s a Fraud.” Or perhaps: “Don’t Look at What Obama’s Done (fill in the blank for whatever Democrat is running that year), Be Afraid of What the Republican Might Do.”
I’ve lived long enough to see this guilt trip played on people who value justice time and again. Fear the Republicans. The Democrats are our friends. The Democrats won’t crush us the way the Republicans will. They’re not as bloodthirsty.
There is one war-and-peace issue where they do differ, and that one matters a lot. Both set “red lines” and say they would use military force against Iran—that’s disastrous under any circumstance. Romney’s red line, which is Israel’s red line, would use force to prevent Iran from reaching “nuclear weapons capability.” While it’s not defined anywhere in international law, “capability” is generally assumed to include the ability to enrich uranium and scientific knowledge. And arguably, Iran actually has that capability already. In the real world of potential new wars, there’s a huge difference between that, and Obama’s red line, which he would invoke to prevent Iran from “having” a nuclear weapon, an event which the entire combination of US military and intelligence agencies agree could not happen before at least a couple of years out. The difference matters—because over years it is possible to build and strengthen movements that will make any such new wars impossible.
So let me get this straight: Obama’s better because his stated trigger point for a military assault on Iran is that Iran must not “have” nukes versus Romney’s they must not reach “nuclear weapons capability.” Perhaps Bennis has forgotten the way that the last American president fabricated the WMD charge against Iraq. Do you really think that the U.S. president hasn’t the capacity to make the claim and make that claimstick that the “enemy’s” done something, whether or not the putative enemy has actually done anything at all? You are going to stake the people’s movements against unjust, illegal aggressive wars on the official statements by U.S. presidents?
Have you forgotten, Ms. Bennis, that the GOP and the Democratic Party have to make their fundamental agreements appear to be different or else no one will continue to buy the fakery involved in roping people into the killing confines of two party electoral circuses that hold out the phantasm of the people’s will being honored, all the while the real political decisions are made by the 1% no matter which face is in the White House?
People concerned about justice and who can see the disaster that capitalism and imperialism present to the planet are waking up about the fraudulence of the elections and searching for the path forward. That is all to the good and must continue much more broadly and deeply. People need to study profoundly how things work and see beneath the surface appearance of things to their essence and act in the streets and everywhere to bring the news to everyone that we don't have to put up with this, we and the planet cannot put up with it, and that another way is possible.