What’s a Voter to Do?


In the good ol’ USA, I’m considered a white guy.  Despite my leftist/anarcho politics and my preference for news that isn’t filtered through the capitalist media, I’m a white guy as far as polling demographics go.  I’ve got friends who fear immigrants and blacks, wear their rednecks a little too proudly, and genuinely like Lynyrd Skynyrd because of the band’s politics.  Despite this, I still tend to believe that most US residents are a bit more liberal than those particular friends.  So I can’t figure out why the hell someone like Barack Obama thinks he has to cater to their vote.  These folks, if they do vote, are never going to vote for a Democrat anyhow since they are convinced that the party is composed of Satan’s spawn.

However, like a good number of the rest of the white guys out there, when Obama starts dissing African-American fathers and catering to the Nixonian/Clintonian silent majority that is only silent because it doesn’t exist, he loses me.  Most US voters are cynical enough anyway about the entire electoral process and when Obama starts talking like ever other Democratic presidential candidate of the past twenty or so years, their desire to go vote decreases faster than George Bush’s polling figures have over the past year.  In other words, when the Democratic candidate starts trying to be the lite version of whatever type of lunatic the GOP is running, lots of folks don’t bother to vote.  After all, what the hell difference will it make?

The war in Iraq?  Well, Obama is hedging his bets by telling the media that he would have to see what the facts on the ground are.  Even worse, he has essentially stated that he would let the generals tell him what course to take if he gets elected.  Now, isn’t this exactly what George Bush is doing?  Even more fundamentally, since when did the generals take on the role as the deciding factor in whether or not the US military will occupy a country and kill its people?  I mean, come on, these generals have a vested interest in war.  That’s how they make their living for chrissake!  It’s always been my understanding that it is up to us, the American people, to decide whether or not we want to be destroying another nation with the men and women that wear the US uniform.  Given that, it’s my understanding most US residents oppose the occupation and war in Iraq (and possibly in Afghanistan, as well.)  Obama should be asking the US people not the freakin’ generals!

War on Iran?  Obama is for that as well.  Without getting into the particulars here, let me just say that I think this idea is one of the most stupid ideas to come out of Washington in my lifetime.  It’s not that I’m a fan of the Tehran government as far as that goes, but it really isn’t any of my business how the Iranians run their country.  In fact, from what I know about the place from Iranian friends and others is that Iran is not a giant monolith intent on building nuclear weapons and destroying all its perceived enemies.  In fact, this is not even the desire of much of the Iranian government if any of it.  In fact, from where I sit, this description seems to fit the government in Washington better than it does the one in Tehran.  After all, which legislature is probably going to pass legislation very soon that enables the White House to put a naval blockade in place around Iran?  You got it.  The one in Washington, DC.  The legislation is known as HR 580  and has garnered dozens of cosponsors demanding that the US carry out what is internationally recognized as an act of war against Iran.  Guess who is pushing this legislation?  That’s right, AIPAC.

Which brings me to another Obama talking point.  Why did he consider it necessary to talk before AIPAC and pledge that he would support Israel no matter what that nation’s government does?  I mean, he went and talked to AIPAC before he talked to any other group.  Why?  This is a lobby whose entire raison d’etre is to get tons of money from the US taxpayers to fund an illegal, immoral, brutal and politically questionable occupation.  Last I looked, Israel was not part of the United States although it might as well be considering the amount of aid it gets from the Feds.  Seems to me that they should either figure out how to survive without sucking off the Washington teat or demand statehood or territorial status.  Not that I’m in favor of the latter, but we might as well certify the facts..

And then there’s John Effin McCain.  What’s a voter going to do?  Ralph Nader can’t win and can probably only help Mr. Keating Five McCain win.

RON JACOBS is author of The Way the Wind Blew: a history of the Weather Underground, which is just republished by Verso. Jacobs’ essay on Big Bill Broonzy is featured in CounterPunch’s collection on music, art and sex, Serpents in the Garden. His first novel, Short Order Frame Up, is published by Mainstay Press. He can be reached at: rjacobs3625@charter.net







Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com.

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