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Enough of this Obamination


Obama long ago lost the support of those of us who voted for hope and change.  He has lost those who are anti-war, wanted single payer healthcare, wanted the wealthy to pay more taxes; he’s lost environmentalists, progressives, Occupiers, citizens concerned about constitutional liberties and international law.  Because Romney is unfit to be president, some are inclined to vote for Obama out of fear.  Anyone who believes that voting for Obama is voting for the lesser of two evils needs to read an earlier piece here in CounterPunch: Jill Stein and the 99%: Getting Beyond Red Herring Politics.  Obama has no excuses for what has unfolded under his administration.  He never fought for the 99%.  Obama is so bad that measuring who’s a greater or lesser evil is a little like arguing over deck chairs as the Titanic sinks.  I too am afraid—not just of a Romney administration, but also of another Obama administration and of the complete loss of a government for anyone other than the 1%.


Voting for Romney would be irresponsible.  But let me explain why voting for Obama is equally reckless.  Obama has advanced the interests of the 1% ever since he got into office.  Beginning with early betrayals on his cabinet choices, not releasing any Guantanamo prisoners, keeping the tax cuts for the rich, and escalating the war in Afghanistan, he is now outdoing Bush in almost every possible category of public policy horror and duplicity.  We have an ongoing war in Afghanistan that should have been ended three years ago; an administration currently fighting for the right to put US citizens into indefinite detainment without a trial; a presidential who approves of drones over the US as if we were an enemy people; no job stimulus program; a clamp down on whistleblowers; presidential assassinations of US citizens.  Obama is a president more imperial than even Dick Cheney would have had the chutzpah to imagine in his wildest wet dreams.  Obama pretends to be for jobs while he secretly negotiates another free trade agreement that he even keeps from the Congress but shares with corporate lobbyists.  He fails to deal with the serious threat of climate change.  Obama personally chooses some who will die thousands of miles away by a drone attack as he supports more and more drones that state-terrorize Afghans, Pakistanis, Yemenis with death suddenly flaming down from the sky. Voting for Obama  is voting for death, as Linh Dinh persuasively wrote in more recent CounterPunch article, and so is immoral whatever your religion or code of ethics.


We have an Obama on Maximum Strength Steroids who is destroying our democracy, taking away our Constitutional rights, grinding the poor and lower middle class into the mud, creating enemies by killing innocents in Afghanistan and Yemen and Pakistan, defending government officials who violated the Nuremberg Treaty, and is pleased to have imposed a Corporate Health Care plan on every American—a plan that provides little care for plenty of bucks that millions can’t afford and so have to pay a tax penalty.  We have gone from Obama’s betrayals to Obama’s Obaminations.


There is an alternative.  There are two Third Party candidates who have a following: the Libertarian Candidate Gary Johnson and the Green Candidate Jill Stein.  Both agree on the generalities of foreign policy: stop foreign military intervention; withdraw from Afghanistan immediately; significantly reduce military spending. Both agree on domestic social policy: insure women having control of their own bodies; legalize all gender relationships; legalize marijuana.


On domestic economic policy, Jill Stein offers a job stimulus program in the footsteps of FDR: she would put 25 million Americans to work.  She wants to move toward a more progressive tax structure when American was a significantly stronger economic power. She insists on raising the taxes on capital gains, a key source of wealth for the 1%.  She also wants a tiny Tobin-style ½% per cent tax on each market transaction which would raise $350 billion dollars for our nation and diminish speculation in currencies, commodities, and stocks (six EU nations already favor a tax on transactions).  Stein insists on comprehensive campaign finance reform.  She is adamant that there be a publicly available healthcare plan like Medicare for everyone.  She is very specific and insistent on the importance of women’s issues.  She is committed to stopping such environmentally catastrophic practices as mountaintop removal for cheap coal and fracking for cheap natural gas.


While Gary Johnson agrees with Jill Stein on the generalities of foreign policy and domestic social policy, he veers far to the extreme right on domestic economic policy and embraces a radical form of “trickle down economics.”  Johnson opposes all stimulus programs, even for jobs; he opposes any move toward progressive taxes; he wants removal of all corporate taxes (including no new cigarette taxes); he wants removal of all taxes of capital gains; he wants no limit on campaign contributions.  He would clearly smooth the progress of the huge income disparity between the 1% and the rest of us and thereby insure policies of domestic immorality—“give me your tired, your poor, and let them starve.”  That’s not what most of us really want however much we might be attracted to the philosophy of libertarianism in its theoretical form.


Jill Stein will make a great president and she can win.  Many Obama supporters have to dig deep in their mental toolbox of rationalizations to pull out an excuse for voting for more of the same: usually its fear of a Romney victory.  Many Romney supporters cannot stand Obama.  Jill Stein offers both of these disenfranchised groups a serious alternative for a nation that will create jobs, stop our foreign military interventions, and insure that every American has health care.  With the election still a full month away, and tweets and emails mobilizing us at full blast, we the people have plenty of time to decide to vote the basic values of our nation and restore a democracy of, by, and for the people.

Bart Gruzalski a professor emeritus of philosophy from Northeastern University.  He co-edited Value Conflicts in Health Care Delivery and published On The Buddha, as well as On Gandhi.


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