Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Hopelessness of Lesser Evilism

“I'd rather vote for something I want and not get it than vote for something I don't want, and get it.” ~ Eugene V. Debs

Eugene Debs said it all in the statement above. Election cycle after election cycle we are faced with a choice of bad or worse. Obamamania aside, what real “change” does his “Change we can believe in” offer? That certainly is not to suggest that John S. McCain would offer any more or any better change either. So, what are we left with? “Your execution is tomorrow morning. Would you rather be shot or hanged?” Quel choix!

One of the worst facets of our present predicament is that all the major sectors of our society; the political, the for profit media, the blogosphere and social norms, all push for the inevitability of the current duopoly. We are constantly told, “There is no other choice! You either back the Democrats or the Republicans; any other choice is a waste of your vote!” This is the device used, time and again, to neuter and emasculate any true populist movement, any progressive movement, any movement which is considered to be “outside the box”. “Well, I'm often told, “if the Democrats don't win (especially the Presidency) what will be of the Supreme Court! Just imagine what the Republican candidate would do to the Supreme Court!” True enough, but...what wonderful justices has the last Democratic president, William Jefferson Clinton, left us? Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer? Both are jurists whose outlook and opinions are quite corporate friendly. In Kelo v. City of New London, both Ginsburg and Breyer concurred in the extension of eminent domain in favor of corporations and to the detriment of private citizens or small stakeholders. My, isn't that just so 'progressive'?

“But, I'm told, “if we have McCain as president, then Roe v. Wade is history! What of a woman's right to choose?” Well, for those that haven't noticed, the several states, in the main, have been nibbling (sometimes gobbling) away at Roe v. Wade so there truly is little to lose at this point. What will happen if Roe goes the way of the dodo, is that we'll go back to the status ante, i.e., in more progressive states women with means will be able to get abortions; those without won't. That really isn't much of a change of the status quo, truth be told. Will there be states where a woman won't be able to get a legal abortion? Certainly. However, that is more or less the situation today. In many places in the United States as of this writing, women have to travel hundreds of miles, sometimes across state borders to get a legal abortion.

Also I hear, “But with the current make up of the court we at least have had some minor victories! After all, the present court reinstated habeas corpus!” True enough and, certainly, were more conservative jurists to be placed on the Supreme Court even these minor 'victories' might well be lost. However, it must be remembered, starting from the Reagan presidency, through Bush the Elder, Clinton and, especially Bush the Lesser, the lower courts have been seriously skewed to the right. There are now so many 'conservative' jurists serving that it is extraordinarily difficult to even get a case before the Supreme Court. Certainly, there are laudable exceptions, even among the reich wing coterie now infesting the benchs at the Circuit and Appellate levels. This is cold comfort though for the many that are turned away from the courthouse and the Democratic Congress has only made the situation much worse with their ill begotten FISA 'reform' legislation, granting retroactive (read: ex post facto) immunity to telecommunications companies who blatantly and with full foreknowledge, violated the existing FISA laws. And here I thought that “I was only following the orders of my superiors!” had been discredited at Nuremberg! Silly me.

We are all constantly told, “But, those that voted for Nader in Florida in 2000 gave Bush the presidency!” Oddly enough, many of these are the same people who, rightly IMHO, argue that, if all the votes had been counted in Florida in 2000, Gore would have won. To those “Democrats” (yes, I'm looking at you Eric Alterman, among others) who go into apoplectic fits when attacking the very concept of Ralph Nader, all I have to say is, “Pick ONE!” Either Gore actually would have won the election (had the Reich wing of the court not given the chosen one the election) OR the fraction of the voters that voted for Nader rather than Gore cost Gore the election (an extremely doubtful proposition). It is EITHER one or the other; you can't have both! The fact that Gore ran a rather bland and centrist campaign, with the misbegotten Lieberman as his running mate, doesn't seem to enter the equation.

Then there is the stolen election of 2004. Again, we had a rather bland campaign, run ineptly, with ABB (Anybody But Bush) as the mantra. The Democratic Party spent enormous time and money specifically to exclude Ralph Nader from as many states as possible BECAUSE the election was ABB. Well, they managed to narrow the choices, as John F. Kerry's campaign managed to narrow the differences between Republican and Democrat. In the end, even though AT THE TIME OF THE VOTE COUNT it was rather obvious that there had been egregious shenanigans executed, this time in Ohio as opposed to Florida. And we had the embarrassing spectacle of the very early capitulation, without any opposition on the part of Kerry (though even his running mate, Edwards, was livid at the campaign not challenging the obviously stolen election).

These are the fruits of 'lesser evilism'. We are constantly forced, by the rigged and managed primary and electoral process, to weed out any truly progressive voice from the campaign (the Democrats went so far as to field a primary challenger for Dennis Kucinich's House seat as well as numerous and various chicanery to exclude him early on from the primary race). After Kucinich was eliminated from the primaries, the attention of the Democratic machine turned on John Edwards, the next most progressive and possibly 'outside the box' candidate. What we, the populace, were left with were “a woman and a black” as candidates. Neither of the two remaining candidates was in any wise progressive (both are almost equally in thrall to the same corporate and financial task masters). In reality, there was very little difference between the 2 of them, in any substantive way. In the final analysis, we have a greater choice when in a Chinese restaurant and choosing “One from column 'A' or one from column 'B'!

Byzantine Blog