The past two decades have been disappointing ones for principled progressives:
The Democrat Party has retreated from hallmark progressive ambitions like ending all executions, genuinely pursuing cessation of international militarism, promoting equal civil rights (including gay marriage and not the separate-but-equal ‘civil unions’), protecting citizens from governmental spying, and punishing corporate crime.
Disappointing decades, yes. But also educational and instructive ones.
In November, it will be up to genuine progressive voters to heed the lessons taught by wasting votes on major-party charlatans, and to put their votes where their mouths are.
Only by casting an honest vote, one which truly reflects their opinions and character, can citizens imprint and shape political culture. ‘Tactical’ votes are insincere ones, and help only to encourage and bolster that that we do not truly wish be successful.
In 2004, I served as Iowa Coordinator for independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader. (Just as I am now Waterloo, Iowa Coordinator for Nader/Gonzales.) I’d already known the conservative Republican Party was no avenue for progress and social justice; I’d learned the Democrats didn’t want to be one, either.
I decided that I would never again support a candidate from either major party, having come to understand the problem was systemic and not merely of disagreements over isolated policies.
Only two parties could not adequately reflect the diversity of legitimate political opinion in the US. Neither represented mine.
I watched as those major parties kneecapped third parties and independents, seeking to cripple upstart democratic efforts with anti-democratic legislative and legal dirty tricks.
The major parties’s ignoring of citizen opinion has had dramatic, anti-public interest consequence: The US occupation of Iraq continues (despite polls showing most Americans supporting withdrawal).
And the $700 billion bailout bill, which rewarded the greedy, scheming, and powerful (and contained no new regulation or punishment provisions), while ignoring millions of financially suffering tax payers, enjoyed overwhelming bi-partisan Congressional support.
Its backers included “opponents” John McCain and Barack Obama.
Many elected Democrats, including Obama, have joined Republicans like McCain in voting repeatedly to fund (with trillions of yours and my tax dollars) US militarism in Iraq. This puts the lie to the notion that Obama is at all ‘anti-war.’
After all, if someone hired a hit man, then claimed to be against homicide, would anyone take them seriously?
Not to be overlooked are three other massive issues that reveal the Democrat nominee to be more ‘two-party team player’ than ‘change agent.’ He opted for unlimited private campaign funding over the regulated public funding rule established in the aftermath of the Republican Watergate scandal — future Democrat and Republican candidates alike will surely follow Obama’s shameful lead.
And, as Senator, Obama supported both extending the odious and anti-citizen/pro-authoritarian state -clampdown Patriot Act, and giving immunity to telecommunications corporations like AT&T and Verizon that may prove to have been complicitous in unconstitutional governmental spying on U.S. citizens.
Obama’s 2008 pretending at principle echoes that of the 2004 John Kerry campaign. Counterfeit progressives were that summer abundant across the country’s landscape, including here in Iowa. Their gaudy “No Blood For Oil” placards attracted news cameras.
But as the 2004 campaign season intensified and though the Iraq War continued, most protests ceased. Anti-war rallies were rare and sparsely attended. Many fair-weather protesters lined up behind avowedly pro-war Democrat Kerry — who had with his congressional vote helped launch the Iraq war — just as they now rally to the aid of
reliable war-funder Obama.
And when such protesters as there were outside the national Democrat convention were arrested — as were others at the Republican one — papier mache progressives were not deterred from their inconsistent
Criss-crossing the state with the ultimately successful ballot petition effort, I encountered thousands of what Nader would term, “timid liberals.”
I recall still their personal viciousness and loud hostility at Nader campaign representatives. And in a way, I understood it: the Nader campaign’s honest progressive message served to reveal their own falseness.
I remember, too, the profanities screamed my way, the snarls shoved into my face, and the Democrat Party -organized, anti-democratic attempts to disrupt the 2004 Nader campaign in Iowa and many other states.
Surely, at least some of the pro-Democrat “anti-war” perpetrators clung self-righteously to the standard-issue gear of the counterfeit progressive: the MoveOn.org membership, the Michael Moore volume, the Air America broadcast.
And most probably assured themselves that they were ‘the good guys’ and were open-minded supporters of free democracy.
But I wasn’t fooled. Their deceits and abuses had helped make a Nader’s Raider of me.
And in November, I’ll vote my conscience.
DC LARSON, of Iowa, is CD Review Editor for Rockabilly Magazine. Among his freelance credits are Goldmine, Blue Suede News, No Depression and Rock & Rap Confidential. This piece originally ran on his blog, http://www.dclarson.blogspot.com. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org