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“Neither candidate will tell the American people the truth: The next administration, whether headed by a Democrat or a Republican, will launch attacks on the living standards, social benefits and democratic rights of the American people on a scale never before seen. This will be combined with stepped-up military aggression overseas, from the Middle East to the Pacific.”
— Patrick Martin, US presidential campaign comes to an end” World Socialist Web Site
Liberalism in the U.S. has devolved into a cultish, pseudo-religion whose adherents believe that their fate and the future of the country rests on the ability of their rockstar candidate to hold on to the presidency for another four years. Obama backers no longer bother themselves with incidentals like habeas corpus, indefinite detention, military commissions, “kill lists” or Guantanamo. What matters to them is making sure that Darth Romney, the pestiferous private equity pirate from Bain, never sets foot in the Oval Office. Everything else is secondary.
Ask any of these Obamanites if they feel they’re compromising their values by voting for a man who breezily repealed large parts of the Bill of Rights and you’ll get the same answer, “Obama has been a disappointment, but he’s better than Mitt.”
No argument there. Romney’s flatearth economic policies alone would thrust the country back into recession or worse, let alone his pugnacious foreign policy which would inevitably lead to dust-ups with China, Russia, Venezuela and, the mother of all calamities, war with Iran. But aren’t we missing the point here, I mean, aren’t there times when the lesser of two evils is not an acceptable way of choosing a president?
If, for example, you were asked to choose between candidate Hitler or candidate Mussolini, then what? Then the right choice would be to abstain entirely expressing your view that the balloting was nothing but a wretched farce. Isn’t that what we should be doing now, denouncing the process by refusing to participate in these faux elections?
Sure, Obama is not Hitler and Romney is not Mussolini, but doesn’t one’s vote imply support for the candidate’s policies and programs? It does, which is why Obama backers should at least consider his horrendous record on civil liberties. Here’s an excerpt from an article by Anthony Gregory who sums it up perfectly:
“Obama has for the most part solidified Bush’s extremist detention policies and in some respects gone further… The ad hoc Bush policy of indefinite detention became formalized by Obama in May 2009 when he unveiled his new doctrine of “prolonged detention,” and was codified, even for American citizens, in the NDAA he signed this last New Year’s eve….
Obama never closed Guantánamo, of course, and he is lying when he says he tried his best….. What’s more, Obama rounded up thousands…and put them in the prison facility at Bagram, where due process rights were even worse than at Guantánamo under Bush….
Then of course there is Obama’s “kill list”—a Bush-like legal theory that the Obama administration has frighteningly and explicitly articulated: the presumption that the president, on his say-so alone, can order the death of any person, even an American citizen…
Left-liberals who have decided that innocent people locked in Obama’s dungeons don’t count as much as beating the Republicans deserve some of the blame….(They) would rather defend Obama’s presumably great domestic economic policies than criticize him for his kill list, kangaroo courts, and dungeons.” (“Obama and Civil Liberties: The Prospect of Four More Years”, Anthony Gregory, The Independent Institute)
Well put. A vote for Obama means that one tacitly accepts that personal freedom and human rights can be arbitrarily suspended by the executive and that the state can grab you, throw your ass in prison, torture or even kill you without due process, without charging you with a crime, without a jury of your peers, without probable cause, and without the presumption of innocence. Obama swept all of those things aside when he signed the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act), a bill which he enthusiastically endorsed. A vote for Obama means that one accepts that radical dismembering of the law, that destruction of everything that Americans claim to hold dear.
If liberalism is to have any meaning at all, it must stand for core values, those bedrock principals that protect the individual from the violence of the State. That’s why I’m not voting for Obama, because he’s made himself an enemy of freedom.
MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.