Obama apologists have been coming out of the woodwork insisting that we should abandon all our humanistic principles, and pull the lever for lesser evilism. Turley counters:
... there’s a great desire of many people to relieve themselves of the obligation to vote on principle. It’s a classic rationalization that liberals have been known to use recently, but not just liberals. The Republican and Democratic parties have accomplished an amazing feat with the red state/blue state paradigm. They’ve convinced everyone that regardless of how bad they are, the other guy is worse. So even with 11 percent of the public supporting Congress most incumbents will be returned to Congress. They have so structured and defined the question that people no longer look at the actual principles and instead vote on this false dichotomy.
Now, belief in human rights law and civil liberties leads one to the uncomfortable conclusion that President Obama has violated his oath to uphold the Constitution. But that’s not the primary question for voters. It is less about him than it is them. They have an obligation to cast their vote in a principled fashion. It is, in my opinion, no excuse to vote for someone who has violated core constitutional rights and civil liberties simply because you believe the other side is no better. You cannot pretend that your vote does not constitute at least a tacit approval of the policies of the candidate.
This is nothing new, of course for civil libertarians who have always been left behind at the altar in elections. We’ve always been the bridesmaid, never the bride. We’re used to politicians lying to us. And President Obama lied to us. There’s no way around that. He promised various things and promptly abandoned those principles.
So the argument that Romney is no better or worse does not excuse the obligation of a voter. With President Obama they have a president who went to the CIA soon after he was elected and promised CIA employees that they would not be investigated or prosecuted for torture, even though he admitted that waterboarding was torture.So how does the Obama Administration get away with it? It all boils down to the charm offensive. The president simply presents us with a likeable brand. We can't accept that a man so personable, so obviously devoted to his family, could be a cold-blooded sociopath. The frightening part is how skillful and manipulative the current occupant of the White House and his operatives are. We accept that he can kill anyone, anywhere, just on his monarchal whim because he has also "evolved" on gay rights and bailed out the auto industry and protects abortion rights and has given us corporate, profit-driven access to at least some health care, and best of all, might appoint slightly less right-winger justices to the Supreme Court. We have elevated the art of compartmentalization to stratospheric heights. The Orwellian cognitive dissonance is palpable.
And, says Turley, the silence of the lambs has been deafening:
Liberals and civil libertarians have lost their own credibility, their own moral standing, with the support of President Obama. For many civil libertarians it is impossible to vote for someone who has blocked the prosecution of war crimes. That’s where you cross the Rubicon for most civil libertarians. That was a turning point for many who simply cannot to vote for someone who is accused of that type of violation.
Under international law, shielding people from war-crime prosecutions is itself a form of war crime. They’re both violations of international law. Notably, when the Spanish moved to investigate our torture program, we now know that the Obama administration threatened the Spanish courts and the Spanish government that they better not enforce the treaty against the U.S. This was a real threat to the Administration because these treaties allow other nations to step forward when another nation refuses to uphold the treaty. If a government does not investigate and prosecute its own accused war criminals, then other countries have the right to do so. That rule was, again, of our own creation. With other leading national we have long asserted the right to prosecute people in other countries who are shielded or protected by their own countries.Rather than feeling forced into the contrived Red vs Blue team sport extravaganza, Turley advises, we would be better off concentrating on local elections and protest movements. Yielding to the false dichotomy of the corporate political establishment only cements their grip on power, their control over every aspect of our lives. If you thought the eternal presidential campaign of 2012 was torture, you wouldn't be exaggerating all that much. It's really a sort of mass hypnosis, an unrelenting psy-ops offensive taken to unprecedented levels. We're trapped in a labyrinthine series of echo chambers, with the media conglomerate as our guide to one wedge issue, one episode of manufactured outrage, after another. We can escape only if we can find our own moral compasses again.