I am inarguably not the most important intellectual alive. No, I am no Noam Chomsky, but neither am I a monosyllabic, mouth-breathing moron.
I have every confidence in my own personal powers of reasoning, and since the seventh grade (1979-80) have regularly utilized critical thinking skills. So it is that I have the audacity even to give “critical” consideration in regard to the urgent advice being offered by esteemed comrades. The result, unfortunately, is no small amount of confusion.
For months now, from Z Magazine to The Nation, from CommonDreams.org to WorkingforChange.org, I’ve been subjected to diatribes and pleas, to personal opinions and thoughtful analyses predicated on false arguments and supported by gross assumptions never questioned. Disingenuous, dishonest, and above all else blatantly contemptuous of one Ralph Nader, the left has sunk low!
The current trend amongst the celebrity (read elite) left is a convoluted, hyper-intellectualized muddle of profundity that essentially articulates a familiar credo: namely, the end justifies the means. It is a rationale I’ve never appreciated when employed by the right, and it is particularly disturbing when subliminally trumpeted by progressives.
I believe if certain things are worth fighting for, then surely they are worth voting for.
But I am supposed to believe that given current circumstances this is simply a foolish and impractical principle.
I believe we should, at the very least, be willing to preserve the integrity, the original intent, of the franchise — the vote is and should remain an affirmation of personal values and principles. If this is a creed whose time has passed, a foolish and impractical principle, then let us admit the entire shebang is little more than a grotesque sham, completely corrupt.
I could vote for the lesser evil, against my personal ethic, but I would have to admit — to a certain degree — my own collusion with that same said corruption, my accommodation of a systemic defect, my perpetuation of malfunction.
I could vote my conscience, uphold the original intent of the franchise, but I would have to endure — already have — the charge that I help to elect the most evil. (Examine that abstract construct for a few moments: if I vote for a losing candidate, I’ve actually voted for the winner — provided the winner is the worst possible candidate.???)
No, let us go ahead and admit that the entire shebang is little more than a grotesque sham, completely corrupt. In such a case, would it matter one-goddamn-rat’s-ass what I do or how I vote? So then why can’t Norman Solomon, Michael Albert, Stephen Shalom, Paul Rogat Loeb, Naomi Klein,…and all those anti-Nader Nader 2000 leaders get off my back? I am perfectly capable of making my own decision and am perfectly offended by the presumption that I can be cowed by a “Who’s Who of America’s progressive community”(gushes TheUnityCampaign.org) into voting against my own better judgement.
Throughout this election cycle progressives resolutely determined to affirm their values and principles with their vote have been called out and attacked by left luminaries: we don’t care for poor, working people, we fail to understand the dangers of Bush, we’ve fallen prey to infantile hero-worship. Our intellects have been impugned, and we are accused of being too rigid, absolutist, purist. Hmmm.
And I always thought the left stood for something (as opposed to rolled over for something else).
The left elite continues to earnestly plead/intellectually bully for the sacrifice of just some, wee, little, tiny, bit of our integrity. And for what purpose? A Kerry presidency?
Where did all this evangelical faith in the Senator from Massachusetts come from? It came from a Democratic campaign strategy that raised a banner for an ignorant and apathetic segment of the electorate — a segment with seemingly no idea what or who it wants. Progressive leaders can rationalize this Anybody-But-Bush sentiment from now until doomsday, but that doesn’t, can’t, and will never make it a progressive strategy.
Regardless of this election’s outcome, there will be much in the way of healing to do. Bush has not only divided the nation; he has — with the surreal assistance of Noam Chomsky et al — divided the left.
Strange times indeed!
CHRISTOPHER C. CONWAY is currently engaged in a battle against anger, frustration, disillusionment, alienation and the corrupt, corporate duopoly of American politics. A resident of Houston, Texas, he categorically rejects the “safe state/swing state” paradigm. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org