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For Those Who Think That They Must Vote for Obama Because Romney’s Such a Threat

For Those Who Think That They Must Vote for Obama Because Romney’s Such a Threat

By Dennis Loo (10/31/12)

Our only choices are not whether to vote for Obama or for Romney. The idea that our only choices come down to that is exactly what the people who run this system want us to think because voting keeps people safely confined within the parameters of doing nothing that actually threatens the existing power relations. It keeps us from actually exercising any impact whatsoever over public policy.

Of course Romney’s a threat. The man and his party are straight up reactionaries, unapologetic front men (and women) for racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia. They’re proud of it to boot and when they are behind closed doors and can vent their unvarnished sentiments among themselves they show this explicitly.

But Obama isn’t the alternative to that horror show of ghosts and goblins and he isn’t better. And you should listen to your own sentiments that Obama’s been a painful disappointment if you believed him when he ran in 2007/8 and promised “change.” He is not now nor was he back then, what so many people thought he was and his ascension to the presidency has not been a step forward. As was reported on October 27, 2012 by the Associated Press, to cite just one example, racism has gotten worse since Obama’s election, not better. What Obama has done is rebranded and gone further down the wrong road of Bush and Cheney’s odious policies.

As I wrote at the time of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012’s passage:

This bill, as horrible as it is, is essentially a “Me Too” bill signifying the Legislative Branch’s jumping wholly and enthusiastically onto the “We’re Against Terrorism Too!” bandwagon, showing how willing they are, as is the Supreme Court and the White House, to use torture, ubiquitous surveillance, and powers befitting not a country that respects due process as the linchpin of a society that is not a tyranny, to suspend people’s rights and exercise dictatorial powers.

Notably, as Greenwald also points out, the bill only passed because sixteen Democrats joined the majority of Republicans, including some “liberal” stalwarts:

Every GOP Senator (except Rand Paul and Mark Kirk) voted against the Udall amendment, while just enough Democrats – 16 in total — joined the GOP to ensure passage of Levin/McCain. That includes such progressive stalwarts as Debbie Stabenow, Sheldon Whitehouse, Jeanne Shaheen and its lead sponsor, Carl Levin.

I’ve described this little scam before as “Villain Rotation”: “They always have a handful of Democratic Senators announce that they will be the ones to deviate this time from the ostensible party position and impede success, but the designated Villain constantly shifts, so the Party itself can claim it supports these measures while an always-changing handful of their members invariably prevent it.” This has happened with countless votes that are supposed manifestations of right-wing radicalism but that pass because an always-changing roster of Democrats ensure they have the support needed. So here is the Democratic Party — led by its senior progressive National Security expert, Carl Levin, and joined by just enough of its members — joining the GOP to ensure that this bill passes, and that the U.S. Government remains vested with War on Terror powers and even expands that war in some critical respects.

This makes you oh so enthusiastic to go out there and campaign for progressives and the Democrats more generally because they will do such a bang up job of representing the People, does it not?

There is a path that represents the only real road forward in the face of this, as I write in my book:

In the neoliberal world not only do physical characteristics matter, but behaviors, dress, class background, attitudes, and so on, can create a sense of “insecurity” for others, justifying clampdowns. The law no longer represents the standard that people must abide by in order to avoid having police actions and prosecutions imposed upon them. The new standard is that one can be subjected to governmental or private social control measures simply for being a perceived threat or source of discomfort to someone. This undermining of the rule of law is being carried out across the full spectrum of bureaucratic and corporate purview and policy making from top to bottom. As Hornqvist puts it: “It may seem absurd that a single area of policy should cover everything from truancy and drug sales to acts of terror. But it is absurd only because so many of us have not yet learned to proceed from a concept of security that has broken away from the logic of the law.”[i] From this perspective, Bush and Cheney’s express violations of the rule of law are then not unique to them. They were merely on the cutting edge of that trajectory. And Obama’s perpetuation of their actions represents the further advance of that neoliberal project. This means that attempts to restore the rule of law will not succeed as a strategy separate from a fundamental challenge to the entire logic of the system itself. (p. 155).

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