What was that Einstein quote again?…”Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Another blogger, the Conflicted Doomer, posted a write-up of why she was voting for Obama this November:
…I’ve thought about voting for one of the third party candidates – either the Peace and Justice Party or the Green Party – but, quite honestly, neither has a chance in hell of winning and by the time either gained enough strength to have a viable chance, the party will likely be over (though that wouldn’t preclude me from voting for them for Congress or at the local level). If there is any chance of enough change coming to at least hold a nation together while the Empire goes down, it will have to come from the Empire’s rulers because they think it will save the Empire. It won’t, of course, but it might save the nation.
You may see that as compromising my principles. I see it as pragmatic. I’m not telling you how to vote here, only why I am voting for the person I will vote for in November. You have already, I hope, done your own wrestling and come to your own conclusions as I write this.
I’ve often said here, there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the two parties when it comes to running the country, because neither party can let go of the illusion that the Empire is the nation. For the most part, I believe that, although I do think that if you stand that dime on its edge, you might find such a difference. And in the end, it’s that slim, dime’s edge of a difference I see that finally decided which way I’ll cast my vote…
While I understand her logic, I don’t agree with her conclusion. Casting your vote with one of the two parties is what the establishment wants the populace to do. It keeps the oligarchic powers in place and preserves the ongoing corruption. Thinking that change will have to come from the figureheads of status quo is a naive and dangerous belief, and it’s this foolish mindset that has gotten us the “elections” we have today – a corporate-funded reality TV series that runs every four years with the same results…
Voting pragmatically is what keeps the indistinguishable and corrupt two-party system in place. Wedge issues are simply red meat for the populace to fight over and keep voting for “the lesser of two evils.” Core issues like U.S. militarism, the security and surveillance state, wealth inequality and the destruction of the middle class, monied interests controlling government, climate change and a fossil fuel-based economy, as well as other environmental issues, etc. will stay the same between the two parties.
M. G. Piety explains why voting within the confines of a morally bankrupt system only leads to further entrenchment of corporate rule and a deeper grave for the long-dead liberal class.
…There’s been a lot of angry posturing from Americans who think of themselves as progressive about how the purported political center in this country has been moving inexorably to the right, yet it’s these very people who are directly responsible for the shift. If you vote for a candidate whose farther right than you would prefer, well, then you’re shifting the political “center” to the right. Republicans aren’t responsible for the increasingly conservative face of the democratic party. Democrats are responsible for it. Democrats keep racing to the polls like lemmings being chased by the boogeyman.
“This is not the election to vote for real change” runs the democratic refrain. We’re in a crisis! We must do whatever it takes to ensure that the republicans don’t get in office even if that means voting for a democrat whose policies we don’t really like and which are only marginally distinguishable from those of the republican candidate. That “margin” is important, we’re reminded again and again. That little difference is going to make all the difference.
Even if that were true, which it ought to be clear by now it is not (see Bart Gruzalski’s “Jill Stein and the 99 Percent”), it would still offer a very poor justification for voting for a candidate one doesn’t really like. Why? Because it is an expression of short-term thinking. Thomas Hobbes argued that privileging short-term over long-term goals was irrational, and yet that’s what we’ve been doing in this country for as long as I can remember. Americans are notoriously short-term oriented. As Luc Sante noted in a piece in the New York Review of Books, America is “the country of the perpetual present tense.” Perhaps that’s part of the anti-intellectualism that Richard Hofstadter wrote about. “Just keep the republicans out of office for this election!” we’re always commanded. “We can worry about real change later!”
Of course anyone who stopped to think about it ought to realize that that mythical “later” is never going to come. Our choices are getting worse not better, and if we keep invoking the “lesser of the two evils” to justify them, we are in effect, digging our own graves…
Voting with your conscience is the right thing to do despite the belief that a third party has no chance. Registering your disgust with the system is the best action you can take in our faux election process that amounts to nothing more than a corporate auction.
Some other thoughts on the subject…
“The lesser-of-two-evils argument is morally obtuse, and dangerous, the first, because it means complicity with policies ultimately destructive, the second, because it induces an undeserved self-righteousness which next time around would yield further compromise. If the people are gulled and lulled into the acceptance of mock-democracy, courtesy of Goldman Sachs and waterboarding apologist Brennan, with Obama presiding over the bread-and-circuses routine, heaven help us.”
~ Norman Pollack
“The only people who will benefit from the election of either Romney or Obama are those associated with the private oligarchies that rule America.”
~ Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
“As the Republicans get more right-wing, the Democrats follow them, staying just one step behind. That will continue as long as right-wing Democrats can get elected by saying that the Republicans are worse.”
~ Richard Stallman
For those who continue to fall back on the comforting excuse of “voting for the lesser of two evils” in the morally ambiguous and desperate hope of receiving some social bread crumbs, you are complicit in supporting America’s inverted totalitarianism and the strengthening of a Corporate Fascist State.
You are a cog in the machine.