Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Not Much Choice When You Think About It

I know this is a little behind the times, but I'm still pissed about Obama's fold on the FISA bill. And I'm not the only one. One anguished voice said the vote is "unforgivable." I agree. But we don't have any choice but to forgive, do we?

What are our other options?

  • Don't vote at all. Well, I always defend those who don't vote. I contend that no vote is a vote. I used to think that the vast, vast majority of people who don't vote are those who either consciously or unconsciously have decided the system is not about to do anything for them, so why bother? I'd like to think this is so, but research tends to show that there's little to distinguish voters from non-voters, except perhaps degree of apathy. But another reason I always defend those who opt out of voting is the vocal bunch who act like the right to vote is like the right to breathe. And then they go on to argue that if you don't vote, you don't have any right to complain. Two points about this: you always have a right to complain in this country--at least until the fascists take over completely; and two, all those flamers who act like the right to vote is a direct gift from God really don't know much about how the choices we're presented in this country are so constrained. We all operate under the capitalist presumption, the engrained and entrenched two-party system, and its narrow consensus. And that's the "choice" we have. Nothing else.
  • Option two: vote for a third party candidate? That's a viable option also. I've done it several times. Several times, as a way of registering my protest against the whole damned thing. So sure, if you're so mad at Obama you cannot vote for him, go ahead and vote for the Socialist Workers or the Greens or someone equally as worthy. Got no problem with it. (Presuming of course they're even on the ballot in your state. The system is skewed completely in favor of the two major parties. They agree and collude on ways to make it as difficult as possible for any other party to compete.)
  • Option three: vote for McCain . . . get serious.
But here's something else you can do in the meantime. Let Obama know how you feel about his gutless reverse on a matter of our civil liberties. Maybe this will keep him from waffling on all the other things he's said during the primaries. Here's where you can do it. And here's what I told him when I wrote:
Sir,
I'm just writing to tell you how disappointed and angry I am at you for your support of the execrable FISA legislation that you just helped George Bush get passed. The spineless dodge you have articulated instead of a straight-forward opposition to this bill is not worthy of you. All you have done is enable yet another assault on our fast-disappearing civil liberties and, on top of it, let corporate malfeasance and law-breaking go unpunished. What, sir, could possibly be in your mind?

I have supported you from the beginning of your campaign for the White House, but lately you're causing me to wonder if I've backed nothing but another trimming politician who says one thing and does another. I've watched you recede from progressive positions on several other things over the past few weeks. How many other surprises do you have for us, Senator?
Feel free to paraphrase on your own letter.
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