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Vice Presidents, Candidates and History

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The United States’ race for the presidential nominations becomes ever more “curiouser and curiouser”. Not unlike Alice, it does seem as if we have all tumbled down a rabbit hole, and found ourselves in a bizarre world.

The most recent manifestation of this is the pronouncement by Texas Senator Ted Cruz that he has selected his running mate. Now, since it is mathematically impossible for him to win enough delegates to enter the Republican convention with the nomination his, this move might be considered just a tad premature. Additionally, since the GOP front-runner, Donald Trump, he of the odd coiffure and racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic and misogynist attitudes, seems likely to cross the convention finish line with the required votes, Mr. Cruz’s latest maneuver is puzzling indeed.

But let us consider for a moment his possible motives. It is, of course, not beyond the realm of possibility that he is so delusional as to think he will be the nominee. This is the man who shut down the U.S. government, and then denied that he had done so. However, let us give him the benefit of the doubt and assume for a moment that he still retains most of his marbles, and is not suffering from illusions of grandeur. Perhaps he simply believes that by selecting a woman in his hour of desperation, he may regain control of this particular political narrative. After all, look at the waves 2008 Republican presidential candidate John McCain made when he selected a woman, then Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, as his running mate. Of course, that didn’t turn out all the well for Mr. McCain, although it was a financial godsend for Mrs. Palin.

And who did Mr. Cruz select? None other than Carly Fiorina! As the former CEO of Hewlett Packard, the illustrious Ms. Fiorina laid off at least 30,000 employees, but even that didn’t accomplish for her board of directors what they wanted. They eventually fired her. However, before one thinks the poor woman then stood for hours in the unemployment line, and somehow made due with unemployment insurance, please remember that her ‘golden parachute’ included $21 million in cash, and about $19 million in stocks and pension benefits. Not a bad haul for ruining lives and running a company into the ground.

Ms.  Fiorina, who ran unsuccessfully for a senate seat in California in 2010, and was one of the too-many-to-name people seeking the GOP nod for president during the early primary season, is, like Mr. Trump, and Hillary Clinton, a charter member of the 1%. After her disastrous 2010 run, during which she lent the campaign about $1.2 million dollars, she quickly paid herself back. However, by doing so, monies owed to her staff, none of whom ever got a $40 million severance package, were delayed as much as four years.

But one can see her selection as only what might be expected of Mr. Cruz: rich, conservative, and out of touch with most Americans. But her nomination is not a first, since two other women ran for vice-president before her, Ms. Palin in 2008 and Geraldine Ferraro for the Democrats in 1984.

There is in the making another vice-presidential first, however. The Libertarian party is poised to nominate Will Coley as their candidate for the second highest office in the land, and Mr. Coley is a Muslim. The Libertarian party, although dwarfed in size by the Republocrats, is the third largest political party in the U.S.

One can often learn much about a person by what his or her friends say about them, but what their enemies say is often more telling. In 2013, it was said of Mr. Coley that he “decries American exceptionalism, accuses the United States of war crimes, and espouses ostensibly anti-Israel ideology”.  Now, these accusations against Mr. Coley piqued the interest of this writer, since he, too, could be so accused, and, if so, would plead guilty. He had the opportunity to ask Mr. Coley about this, when guest-co-hosting the peculiarly named but interesting nonetheless radio program, ‘A Muslim and a Catholic Wake up in ‘Merica’. Mr Coley said that the U.S. believes it is ‘exceptional’ in that it isn’t required to follow the rules it insists much of the rest of the world follows. War crimes include torture at Guantanamo and various rendition sites, to name just one category of many, and his ‘anti-Israel’ stance is based on his belief that the U.S. should not send foreign aid to any nation. A bit tepid for this writer, but there it is.

Mr. Coley is the head of an organization called ‘Muslims4Liberty’. This, to the casual U.S. citizen who gets his or her news from Fox News, must certainly disqualify him from any elected office. After all, see what radical, anti-American ideals that organization supports: it is “committed to advancing the cause of liberty from an Islamic perspective. M4L combines activism, advocacy, community outreach, charity, voluntaryism and any other avenue that can be used to promote the message of Islam and liberty. M4L also supports the Liberty & Occupy Movements, and those who advocate for peace and justice”. Talk of charity, peace and justice will not be tolerated in U.S. political and governmental circles.

Now one waits to see if Mr. Trump will attempt to counter Mr. Cruz’s less-than-brilliant move with a less-than-brilliant one of his own. He has tapped into the basest instincts of an ignorant, prejudiced population to get, amazingly, where he is today. Will he announce a vice-presidential candidate, or at least ‘leak’ the names on his short list? Mr. Trump likes ‘yes-men’, whether male or female, so a Trump clone is probably in the offing.

Abraham Lincoln is revered by many as a great president. One of the things he did was to appoint some of his political opponents to positions in his administration. He did this, he said, to be assured of a variety of opinions differing from his own. Can anyone, in their wildest daydreams, imagine any current politician doing such a thing? Mr. Trump encourages the violent ejection from his rallies of anyone expressing disagreement with him. Mr. Cruz once walked off a stage when his audience didn’t fall into line with the Israel-worshipping narrative he was speaking. Democrat Hillary Clinton is never far from adoring crowds and interviewers, avoiding the unpleasantness that being asked questions of substance would cause her.

It is time for thinking people to stop voting for ‘the lesser of two evils’; that choice isn’t even available this year. It is high time that third parties were given careful examination. While the Libertarian Party has been mentioned herein, this writer encourages votes for any third party; there are dozens of them running presidential candidates this year. Whatever your taste, there is one that will please you. The only chance of breaking the deadly stranglehold that the current two-party systems has on the U.S., is to stop voting for it. The alternatives are there; it is time to pull the lever beside one of them.

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Robert Fantina’s latest book is Empire, Racism and Genocide: a History of US Foreign Policy (Red Pill Press).

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