Shut Up and Vote Obama


It’s election time again and that brings on the national pastime of analytical blather from all sides. (Yours truly, like so many others, certainly feels compelled to write more during this season.) Most are “rah rah, my team rocks” missives; many mainstream media ones are Imperial “look at the grouse” deflections; some, like those found on Counterpunch are serious analyses and, then again, some are absolute partisan rubbish like Rebecca Solnit’s “Letter to my Dismal Allies”  that was posted to TomDispatch a “project of The Nation Institute” complete with Tom’s “simple (minded) warning: Reader beware; rile up Rebecca Solnit at your peril.”

Solnit starts her long-winded, paid-by-the-word-esque, piece out by setting up a straw man – a “grousing,” “poisonous,” “rancid sector of the far left” – a subdivision that might, at best, comprise about 1/10th of 1% of the electorate. She then proceeds to knock her straw man down with more name-calling – critics of self-serving, pro-corporate politicians are not only “rancid, etc.,” anyone who points out any inconsistency or, heaven forbid, an actual blatant anti-democratic contradiction from any of her heroes isn’t thoughtful or insightful, or even wrong,  for noting such they are dismissed as merely, “snarky.”

Speak Not About Evil

At its core, Solnit piece is a blatant attempt to impose “No-Talk Rules” about Obama’s very real outrages, dismissing such things as drone murders, Indefinite Detention and the loss of Habeas Corpus, Permanent War, increased deportations, failure to act on the Climate or Banksters, crackdowns on whistle-blowers and Medical Marijuana…ad naseum, as mere “dimples on the imperial derriere by now, and there are other things worth discussing.”

Solnit goes so far as to dismiss her own obvious call for voting for the Lesser of Two Evils as a “tired cliché.” She wildly dubs even noting that the choice is one of lesser evils, a type of “Left Wing Voter Suppression;” as if mere mention of the state of the Emperor’s clothing will cause vast numbers to sit home on Election Day.

Setting up another straw man, she proceeds to ask, “Can you imagine how far the Civil Rights Movement would have gotten, had it been run entirely by complainers for whom nothing was ever good enough?”

Aside from the fact that no movement is “run entirely by” anything close to that (though they’d likely yield better results if they were), one doesn’t have to imagine how far the “non-complainers” have gotten:  black incarceration up; black unemployment up; black poverty up; black education stagnant; black health down; voting rights restricted…but, no worries, “integrating the Montgomery transit system” was what mattered, the ultimate prize the non-complainers did get, according to Solnit’s calculus.

Solnit’s drivel couldn’t be any more loaded with Projections, including this monumental one: “This kind of response often has an air of punishing those who are less radical and it is exactly the opposite of movement building – or alliance building.” Substitute the one word “more” for “less” and you have a perfect description of what she is performing here.

She follows up with: “Dismissiveness is a way of disengaging from both the facts on the ground and the obligation those facts bring to bear on your life,” as she clearly does just that.

Of course, anyone who thinks that 350.org is anything but a Democrat/Industry/Big Green deflection and that Occupy is our savior has analytical skills inferior to the typical Tea Partier – as if the time for wishy-washy liberal reform hasn’t long passed, if it ever even had any relevance in the first place.

So, What’s a Grousing Leftist to Do?

Vote for the candidate who best matches up with your views, as one should always do.

There are other choices: I recently had a short interaction with Jill Stein, presidential candidate for the Green Party.  While I found her to be a bit of the uptight middle-aged white person, her positions and those of her – which has never recovered from the undemocratic Cobb/Bobier/Glick putsch of 2004 – party are far superior to those of the two Corporate/Imperial candidates. If the anti-Empire/pro-individual rights Libertarian Party could just figure out that The Commons have immeasurable value, they could also have some relevance.

Of course, Romney is atrocious. But, let’s get real here. The Lesser of Two Evils is far from a cliché – it’s the standard operating system of the Empire.

While, unlike Solnit, I sure don’t see it as some noble, practical compromise; I have no problem with people admitting Obama’s the Lesser Evil, holding their noses and voting for him.  Just spare me the smug outrage at some phantom far left.   Eastwood’s chair has more substance than Solnit’s canard-filled claptrap.

MICHAEL DONNELLY lives in Salem, OR. He can be reached at pahtoo@aol.com


Weekend Edition
November 27-29, 2015
Andrew Levine
The Real Trouble With Bernie
Gary Leupp
Ben Carson, Joseph in Egypt, and the Attack on Rational Thought
John Whitbeck
Who’s Afraid of ISIS?
Michael Brenner
Europe’s Crisis: Terror, Refugees and Impotence
Ramzy Baroud
Forget ISIS: Humanity is at Stake
Pepe Escobar
Will Chess, Not Battleship, Be the Game of the Future in Eurasia?
Vijay Prashad
Showdown on the Syrian Border
Dave Lindorff
Gen. John Campbell, Commander in Afghanistan and Serial Liar
Colin Todhunter
Class, War and David Cameron
Jean Bricmont
The Ideology of Humanitarian Imperialism
Dan Glazebrook
Deadliest Terror in the World: the West’s Latest Gift to Africa
Mark Hand
Escape From New York: the Emancipation of Activist Cecily McMillan
Karl Grossman
Our Solar Bonanza!
Mats Svensson
Madness in Hebron: Hashem Had No Enemies, Yet Hashem Was Hated
Walter Brasch
Terrorism on American Soil
Louisa Willcox
Grizzly Bears, Dreaming and the Frontier of Wonder
Michael Welton
Yahweh is Not Exactly Politically Correct
Joseph Natoli
A Politics of Stupid and How to Leave It Behind
John Cox
You Should Fear Racism and Xenophobia, Not Syrian Refugees or Muslims
Barrie Gilbert
Sacrificing the Grizzlies of Katmai: the Plan to Turn Brooks Camp Into a Theme
Rev. William Alberts
The Church of “Something Else” in “an Ecclesiastical Desert”
Andrew Gavin Marshall
Bank Crimes Pay
Elliot Murphy
Cameron’s Syrian Strategy
Thomas S. Harrington
Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe and the Death of Ezra Schwartz
Gareth Porter
How Terror in Paris Calls for Revising US Syria Policy
Michael Perino
The Arc of Instability
Yves Engler
Justin Trudeau and Canada’s Mining Industry
Tom H. Hastings
ISIS and Changing the Game
Lars Jørgensen
Vive la Résistance
John Halle
A Yale Education as a Tool of Power and Privilege
Norman Pollack
Syrian “Civil War”?: No, A Proxy War of Global Confrontation
Sheldon Richman
Let the Refugees In
James Anderson
Reframing Black Friday: an Imperative for Déclassé Intellectuals
Simon Bowring
UN Climate Talks 2009: a Merger of Interest and Indifference
Ron Jacobs
Rosa Luxemburg–From Street Organizer to Street Name
Aidan O'Brien
Same-Sex Sellout in Ireland
David Stocker
Report from the Frontline of Resistance in America
Patrick Bond
China Sucked Deeper Into World Financial Vortex and Vice Versa, as BRICS Sink Fast
Majd Isreb
America’s Spirit, Syrian Connection
James A Haught
The Values of Jesus
Binoy Kampmark
British Austerity: Cutting One’s Own Backyard
Ed Rampell
45 Years: A Rumination on Aging
Charles R. Larson
Chronicle of Sex Reassignment Surgery: Juliet Jacques’s “Trans: a Memoir”
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
CounterPunch’s Favorite Films
November 26, 2015
Ashley Nicole McCray – Lawrence Ware
Decolonizing the History of Thanksgiving