FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Shut Up and Vote Obama

by MICHAEL DONNELLY

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

 

More articles by:

MICHAEL DONNELLY has been an environmental activist since before that first Earth Day. He was in the thick of the Pacific Northwest Ancient Forest Campaign; garnering some collective victories and lamenting numerous defeats. He can be reached at pahtoo@aol.com

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

June 26, 2017
William Hawes – Jason Holland
Lies That Capitalists Tell Us
Chairman Brandon Sazue
Out of the Shadow of Custer: Zinke Proves He’s No “Champion” of Indian Country With his Grizzly Lies
Patrick Cockburn
Grenfell Tower: the Tragic Price of the Rolled-Back Stat
Joseph Mangano
Tritium: Toxic Tip of the Nuclear Iceberg
Ray McGovern
Hersh’s Big Scoop: Bad Intel Behind Trump’s Syria Attack
Roy Eidelson
Heart of Darkness: Observations on a Torture Notebook
Geoff Beckman
Why Democrats Lose: the Case of Jon Ossoff
Matthew Stevenson
Travels Around Trump’s America
David Macaray
Law Enforcement’s Dirty Little Secret
Colin Todhunter
Future Shock: Imagining India
Yoav Litvin
Animals at the Roger Waters Concert
Binoy Kampmark
Pride in San Francisco
Stansfield Smith
North Koreans in South Korea Face Imprisonment for Wanting to Return Home
Hamid Yazdan Panah
Remembering Native American Civil Rights Pioneer, Lehman Brightman
James Porteous
Seventeen-Year-Old Nabra Hassanen Was Murdered
Weekend Edition
June 23, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Democrats in the Dead Zone
Gary Leupp
Trump, Qatar and the Danger of Total Confusion
Andrew Levine
The “Democracies” We Deserve
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
The FBI’s “Operation Backfire” and the Case of Briana Waters
Rob Urie
Cannibal Corpse
Joseph G. Ramsey
Savage Calculations: On the Exoneration of Philando Castile’s Killer
John Wight
Trump’s Attack on Cuba
Dave Lindorff
We Need a Mass Movement to Demand Radical Progressive Change
Brian Cloughley
Moving Closer to Doom
David Rosen
The Sex Offender: the 21st Century Witch
John Feffer
All Signs Point to Trump’s Coming War With Iran
Jennifer L. Lieberman
What’s Really New About the Gig Economy?
Pete Dolack
Analyzing the Failures of Syriza
Vijay Prashad
The Russian Nexus
Mike Whitney
Putin Tries to Avoid a Wider War With the US
Gregory Barrett
“Realpolitik” in Berlin: Merkel Fawns Over Kissinger
Louis Yako
The Road to Understanding Syria Goes Through Iraq
Graham Peebles
Grenfell Tower: A Disaster Waiting to Happen
Ezra Rosser
The Poverty State of Mind and the State’s Obligations to the Poor
Ron Jacobs
Andrew Jackson and the American Psyche
Pepe Escobar
Fear and Loathing on the Afghan Silk Road
Andre Vltchek
Why I Reject Western Courts and Justice
Lawrence Davidson
On Hidden Cultural Corruptors
Christopher Brauchli
The Routinization of Mass Shootings in America
Missy Comley Beattie
The Poor Need Not Apply
Martin Billheimer
White Man’s Country and the Iron Room
Joseph Natoli
What to Wonder Now
Tom Clifford
Hong Kong: the Chinese Meant Business
Thomas Knapp
The Castile Doctrine: Cops Without Consequences
Nyla Ali Khan
Borders Versus Memory
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail