Kellia’s World – Recommended Reading

Challenging the assumptions we live by — Because I want to.

Posts Tagged ‘Third Party’

It is not THEY who are the real problem.

Posted by kelliasworld on November 7, 2008

On Nov. 2, 2008, Matt Gonzalez, Ralph Nader’s running mate in an independent bid for the White House, published an article on FogCityJournal.com asking What do they have to do to to lose your vote? The Trail of Broken Promises. In it, Gonzalez detailed Barack Obama’s poor record on some vital issues, including his voting for reauthorization of the Patriot Act, voting for amendments to FISA that the ACLU called a domestic spying bill, and selecting Joe Biden as a running mate. Gonzalez also mentioned House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s promise to end the war, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s filibuster rule that allows Republicans literally to “phone in” their filibuster, and President Bill Clinton’s signing of bills that began the deregulation process that has given us the current financial crisis. The article makes for very informative reading.

But as to Gonzalez’ question: What do they have to do to lose your vote? By the time they do it, there won’t be elections to vote in. The problem here is not the politicians, it’s the people. As long as voters feel they have to vote for a candidate who can win the Presidency now, progressives will always vote for Democrats, conservatives will always vote for Republicans, and the parties (with a few exceptions we need not name here) and Presidential nominees will always attend to the needs of their masters: the corporations and corporate leaders who provide the money and perks for the both parties’ politicians’ careers and lifestyles.

Progressives have yet to learn that the Democrats are the Republicans in slow motion, or if they know it, they are conveniently getting amnesia come voting time. They are sending us down the same bi-partisan path to the total destruction of peace, freedom and prosperity as the Republicans. They and the Republicans play a cynical good cop-bad cop game that only the corporatists win. Occasionally, one of the “cops” comes off like a fool, such as John McCain this time, but, hey, don’t worry about him. At a time when foreclosures are high, he has so many homes he can’t remember how many.

“The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” — Frederick Douglass

The problem lies with people like a friend of mine who read the four-part series on Barack Obama that I wrote in the days leading up to the election. (It is filed on this blog under November 3rd or under the tag “Obama”). She thought the series was good. She agreed with it. She also hoped I would nonetheless vote for Obama. (I voted for Cynthia McKinney). My friend is a highly educated and thoughtful woman. But when she looks at Obama, she sees FDR. I look at Obama and see Bill Clinton.

Misplaced hope is one factor. Fear is perhaps the greater factor. People are reluctant to vote third party because of fear of splitting the vote, and electing the greater of two evils. As long as voters are in the grip of this fear, the Democrats will always know that the overwhelming majority of progressives will vote their way. And knowing that, they will never have incentive to move left. They will claim to “govern from the center”, as Sen. Dianne Feinstein recently said of Obama, while never acknowledging that the center keeps moving to the right, at least as calculated by the media pundits who are also players of the same game.

Progressives must be willing vote issues not identity politics. While it is a point of pride for black people to see one of their own elected, it remains to be seen how much the Obama Administration will help minorities. Obama did not “pal around” with terrorists, but he certainly pals around with Wall Street. His supported the bailout. And his new chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is the top House recipient of Wall Street largesse, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Progressives must be concerned with process–how money works in a campaign, how the debates are controlled, how publicity is controlled, how votes are counted…or not, etc. And they must work for the long haul just as the right-wing has worked to gain ascendancy in the Republican Party since the days of Johnson’s landslide over Goldwater. That means forsaking both the fear of the immediate consequences of not picking today’s winner, and the empty dreaming that “another world is possible”. That other world will never be realized as long as we vote our current fears.

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Posted in Obama, Third Party | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Jerry D. Rose: Off on the wrong track?

Posted by kelliasworld on October 26, 2008

[This Op-Ed, which originally appeared in The Sun, a newspaper published in Gainesville, FL, is reprinted here by permission of the author. You will see other articles by Mr. Rose in Kelliasworld from time to time. You are invited to visit his sites: The Sunshine State Activist, which contains many articles of interest to people outside of Florida, and his blog Principled Progressive].

Published: Saturday, October 25, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, October 24, 2008 at 3:04 p.m.

Public opinion polls are showing that only about 10 percent of people are saying that the U.S. is going in the “right direction,” most saying we are on the “wrong track.”

Cagle Cartoons

This mood of pessimism about the country’s future is widely cited as a reason that Barack Obama has forged his way to a seemingly commanding lead in the presidential preference polls.

The thinking is that people usually vote for an opposition party when they are dissatisfied with conditions under the incumbent one.

Such analysis no doubt contains a grain of truth that should be acknowledged.

But when I cast my ballot for president on the November ballot in Florida, I am faced with a choice of not two but (count them) 13 choices.

Each of the 11 alternates represents a more or less different “track” if I don’t care for the one furnished by either of the two major parties’ nominees.

How will I and other Florida voters choose a “track” when faced with a full set of options? Will we accept the box placed around our choices by our media and our peers, making a choice between the two tracks represented by the Republican and Democratic candidates?

Perhaps we will, but suppose we find nothing in the track records of either the McCain or Obama tickets that would impel us to get on either of their trains?

What if we feel that, no matter which track is taken, the destination will be the same: a cliff just outside town that the train will go over whenever we reach the point of an international conflagration or (in case we miss this cliff) an abyss of economic collapse on a train with engineers in the payroll of the Wall Street combine that drives the engine of our national economy?

Suppose we want something different; like progressive taxation, a fair tax, a reduction in government size, a socialist rather than a capitalist society, a world at peace rather than in incessant war, etc.

We will find congenial “tracks” in our list of 11 or whatever alternatives to our two corporacratic parties and some of us will choose one of those tracks, feeling that while that track may not get us to our preferred destination, it at least will not run us over one of those aforementioned cliffs toward which the D Train and the R Train are headed.

If our peers, parties, pundits and presidential debate organizers have their ways and get us all back on the Obama track, we’ll all be duly making our “lesser of evil” choices. The Obama lead in the polls might then hold up when the only poll that counts is conducted in November.

If too many of us stray off the track, we might indeed “spoil” the election for a Democratic Party that has in fact spoiled itself through its failure to select candidates who are genuine alternatives to the Republican ones.

If that happens, we track-strayers will of course face the full wrath of those who will blame us for the train wreck of the country in the coming McCain administration.

But maybe, just maybe, the Democrats will come to the realization that, if they want the unquestioning support of the American people, they need to put the party back on a track that represents the values of their paying (voting) customers, not those of their corporate paymasters

Jerry D. Rose is a retired sociology professor living in Gainesville. He operates The Sun State Activist and Principled Progressive, Web sites which present news and views from a progressive point of view.

Posted in Election '08, Jerry D. Rose, Third Party | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »