Several years ago I decided I would not, could not vote for Obama again.
Not because I believe Obama is a Kenyan-born Muslim Socialist who was
once The Most Liberal Senator Ever; there are boatloads of facts refuting each of these
claims and I wish people would either do the research or shut the hell up.
Really, it’s disheartening to share citizenship with so many people who
grasp at faux issues rather than recognize that our two-party system is offering us
two candidates who operate right-of-center and are both bent on creating an oligarchy.
The differences between Obama and Romney** are mostly a matter of degrees (see the Foreign Policy debate for their Israel love-fest, Iran hate-fest, and who-would-use-more-predator-drones-to-kill-more-Muslims-fest).
Here’s a partial, reality-based list of reasons for my anger at Obama:
climate change inaction
predator drone murders
assassination of US citizens without due process
the Tuesday morning kill list
war on whistleblowers
“Grand Bargain” to destroy Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security
Wall Street profits
blocked investigation/prosecution of torture
record number of immigrant deportations
Not to mention, the oft-cited truth that while Republicans fear their base,
Democrats hate their base.
There are many other reasons, some less quantifiable than others.
For instance, Obama’s betrayal of young people’s hope and involvement
after he rode in on an overwhelming mandate and then squandered the
opportunity for positive action, thereby creating mass disillusionment.
Also, the fawning Democratic establishment that thinks as long as it’s
a so-called Democrat in the White House, all actions are justifiable (even
those actions that caused outrage when committed by a Republican president).
And a related item: as a result of that Democratic denial, a lack of an opposition party
which means Obama reacts to extremists and continues to move the discussion/policies
to the right with few in power willing to call him out on this, much less put up roadblocks.
After living through what is essentially Bush’s third term, my thinking was I’d be a hypocrite
if I voted for Obama after raging against the Bush administration’s policies for eight years.
I would definitely vote for either Justice Party candidate Rocky Anderson or Green Party
candidate Jill Stein.
Then I read Daniel Ellsberg’s piece on why angry progressives in swing states should vote
against Romney/Ryan by voting for Obama. I have huge respect for Ellsberg
as a whistleblower and an anti-war activist, and his words carry tremendous weight
with me. If this nation’s most famous whistleblower believed it was in the country’s
best interest to reelect the president who has prosecuted more whistleblowers
than all previous presidents combined, I needed to think hard about my vote.
After much thought, I decided I’d vote “for” Obama.
(Coco doesn’t care about the election, but I thought she’d provide a fun break in the text.)
That decision only lasted several days. Because then I read Matt Stoller’s piece
making the progressive case against Obama, and I remembered all over why
I didn’t want to cast a vote in Obama’s favor. I would vote Anderson or Stein.
But then I read Dan Froomkin’s article about the betrayal of progressive activists working on a multitude of issues. These are people who devote their lives to activism and who were shut down by the Obama administration, yet some of them believe it’s still best to reelect Obama rather than Romney. If they could swallow their disappointment and keep fighting Obama on those issues, maybe I could, too. After all, the LGBT community put the pressure on him and he finally came out in support of gay marriage (a HUGE step and one for which I give Obama absolute credit.)
Tomorrow is election day and I still don’t know how I’ll vote.
I have never been more conflicted about a presidential vote in my entire life.
I have always been disappointed in the candidates and have always voted the
“lesser of two evils,” but I don’t know if I can do that again.
But no matter what, I will cast a vote for president.
(And I can only hope if Obama loses Colorado by one vote,
Zebu doesn’t keep his promise to throw a rock at my head).
**While it’s true Romney/Ryan are bat-shit crazy regarding women’s reproductive rights,
the Democrats are always willing to use women’s health issues as a bargaining chip
so I’m not convinced it’s a big enough reason to vote against my conscience on every other issue when the Dems happily enable the erosion of women’s reproductive rights.