I deliberately do not endorse any candidates on this blog because I don't want to add to the phony political mania. Plus, I realize that making a Hobson's choice in a battleground state must be nearly as stressful as living in a hurricane state. But let me tell you how I voted anyway. Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala of the Green Party, for prez and vp, as you may have guessed.
I voted against my Democratic senator, Kirsten Gillibrand. Although her general voting record is relatively "liberal", she also happens to be the Number 1 senatorial recipient of Wall Street money. Grounds for immediate dismissal right there.
As a direct result of those bribes, she was silent while the NYPD pepper-sprayed, tased, illegally detained, billyclubbed, jackbooted, trashed the camps of, or otherwise inconvenienced Occupy Wall Street protesters last year. She was silent during the SOPA and PIPA protests (Hollywood and Silicon Valley Money) too. And most loathesomely of all, she sided with President Obama and voted with 85 of her cohorts for the National Defense Authorization Act, allowing for the detention without trial of American citizens. As Gail Collins pointed out in a recent column, Gillibrand reportedly does have a Republican challenger, whose name nobody seems to know. So-- I checked off the Green Party candidate once again. Her name is Colia Clarke, a former assistant to Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers; she is one of only six Greens on the ballot in Senate races nationwide.
I did vote for the unknown Democratic contender for retiring Rep. Maurice Hinchey's seat, a guy by the name of Julian Schreibman, on the alternate Working Families Party line. Julian is a former CIA agent, so I held my nose with fingers crossed, just to keep the sole close contender, from the Tea Party, at bay. See? I can be a pragmatist too, at times. Plus, there are no third party candidates running in my district.
I voted for New York State Senator Blank, because the long-time GOP incumbent, John Bonacic, is again running unopposed. Four years ago, Senator Blank actually beat him. Even so, no living human being could come up with the money or the chutzpah to challenge J.B. this cycle.
Finally, I cast my ballot for incumbent Democratic Assemblyman Kevin Cahill. This guy has actually personally helped me out on a couple of matters. So when they tell you to put all your energy into local politics, believe it. Bottom-up change is pretty much all we have to cling to anymore.
If you're feeling that what little is left of the Left is crumpling up into a pitiful ball, urging us to hold our noses and vote for Barry, you are not alone. Such erstwhile stalwarts as Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore and Daniel Ellsberg are among the recent sellouts, or semi-sellouts. But don't despair. Not everyone has fallen abjectly into the Nose-Holders for Obama League.
Chris Hedges calls it The S&M Election, and he is all too painfully correct. Echoing the famous George Orwell essay, Such, Such Were the Joys, he compares this horrid presidential campaign to his own torture at the hands of boarding school bullies. A choice excerpt:
Obama tells us that we better lick his boots or we will face the brute down the hall, Mitt Romney. After all, we wouldn’t want the bad people to get their hands on these newly minted mechanisms of repression. We will, if we do not behave, end up with a more advanced security and surveillance state, the completion of the XL Keystone pipeline, unchecked pillage from Wall Street, environmental catastrophe and even worse health care. Yet we know on some level that once the election is over, Obama will, if he is re-elected, again betray us. This is part of the game. We dutifully assume our position. We cry out in holy terror. We promise to obey. And we are mocked as we watch promises crumble into dust.He truly gets it. Personally, I don't think I've ever been subject to so much animosity from the tribalists of the Pseudo-left for even mildly criticizing Dear Leader in the comments threads of the New York Times. Thank God for Chris Hedges. He soothes even as he inflames the victims of attempted gaslighting by hordes of well-meaning Obamabot concern trolls.
Speaking of the 'bot attacks, Matt Stoller got a real earful when he painstakingly laid out the The Progressive Case Against Barack Obama for Salon. He blows away the choking kool-aid propaganda powder that would have us believe the president is a proto-feminist, or that the much-vaunted Supreme Court nominations are a reason to give him another term, or that the so-called pragmatic progressives (translation: right wing enablers) have a leg to stand on:
As a candidate, Obama promised a whole slew of civil liberties protections, lying the whole time. Obama has successfully organized the left part of the Democratic Party into a force that had rhetorically opposed war and civil liberties violations, but now cheerleads a weakened America too frightened to put Osama bin Laden on trial. We must fight this thuggish political culture Bush popularized, and Obama solidified in place.
(snip)Read the whole thing, as well as this follow-up addressing the torrent of criticism. Stoller is a profile in journalistic courage.
At some point soon, we will face yet another moment where the elites say, “Do what we want or there will be a meltdown.” Do we have enough people on our side willing to collectively say “do what we want or there will be a global meldown”? This election is a good mechanism to train people in the willingness to say that and mean it. That is, the reason to advocate for a third-party candidate is to build the civic muscles willing to say no to the establishment in a crisis moment we all know is coming. Right now, the liberal establishment is teaching its people that letting malevolent political elites do what they want is not only the right path, it is the only path. Anything other than that is dubbed an affront to common decency. Just telling the truth is considered beyond rude.
Elsewhere in the blogosphere, CounterPunch can always be counted on to deliver many a dead-aim left hook/knockout punch. The blackly humorous Good Voter Larry by Riley Waggaman provides a grim Election Eve chuckle. Seeing how MoveOn has been more than usually annoying lately, I especially enjoyed the parody of the MoveOn member who gets mistakenly arrested while handing out Obama propaganda. MoveOn has been inundating me with emails informing me if I don't send them money right now, and if Romney is elected, I will be unable to live with myself for the rest of my brutish life. Real subtle persuasion tactics.
Toledo voter Michael Leonardi talks about going to the polls in a decimated area of Swing State Ohio,"land of the serfs and wage slaves". And while I wrote a couple of posts ago about the epidemic addiction to the Obamaopiate class of designer drugs, Randy Shields informs us that Obama can also be smoked. "For American capitalism, that Obama is some good shit," he writes. "Using Obama makes some people prone to wild mood swings and abrupt changes in personality."
And sometimes, short, sweet and succinct just says it best. The hilarious Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy has an excellent rejoinder to Obama voters who think they will able to hold Barry's feet to the progressive fire once he is safely re-esconced as the Temporary Emperor (temp emp.) --
If Obama wins, and you didn't push for a Democratic primary challenge or a left third-party vote or a non-vote... when you post your smarmy "now the real work begins" thing on Wednesday, I respectfully suggest that the real work for you is to go fuck yourself.