I supported and voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and again this year; but sadly, there were major, negative changes in my thoughts and feelings this time around. Along with legions of liberals, I had come to have so many misgivings about the president that I would have much preferred a viable progressive candidate. But there weren’t any of those on any horizon I could see; and living in a swing state essentially meant that voting my conscience for a third-party candidate was tantamount to aiding Romney and his thugs, a prospect too odious to contemplate.
The Proprietor of Perry Street Palace has argued persuasively against the lesser-of-evils stance that I and most liberals, e.g., Daniel Ellsberg, have used to justify our support for Obama. So please do take time to read her six-part (!) critique of “lesser-of-evilism”, or at least start with the final installment, Part 6, which may well persuade you that supporting most Democrats, even in swing states, is the surest way to perpetuate the relentless and shameful rightward drift in American politics.
Here is just one of her arguments:
There are — or ought to be — clear lines drawn, on both principle and practical grounds, that Democratic candidates cannot cross and expect the support of liberals. We can of course differ on precisely where those lines should be drawn. (illegal and counterproductive wars? presidential kill lists? for-profit health care? Social Security “reform”?) But if there really are no lines that cannot be crossed, then it means exactly nothing to be a liberal.
In the course of our email exchanges, Iris sent me a link to a blog post with the ominous title, Dead Enough: The Reality of the “Lesser Evil”, by Chris Floyd, who asked, in reference to Obama’s (i.e., our) drone war, “Is this child dead enough for you?”
Floyd graphically describes the brutal reality we become complicit in when we vote for any major candidate, including Obama. And he asks how, in good conscience, can we continue to enable a “lesser evil” that is so starkly evil? To those who celebrate Obama’s victory, he asks, “. . . what are you celebrating? This dead child, and a hundred like him? A thousand like him? Five hundred thousand like him? How far will you go? What won’t you celebrate?”
Floyd provides a link to this article from Wired.com containing several photos documenting the collateral death and destruction wrought by Obama’s / our drones. And as you probably know, it’s not only drones: Here is a recent, fact-filled article comparing the positions taken by candidate Obama in 2007-2008 with what he has done since he took office. It is far from reassuring, either in retrospect or prospect: the lawlessness of the Bush administration continues and has even been expanded in ways that have chilling implications for the future of constitutional democracy in this country.
Returning to Obama’s / our drones, it is inescapably clear that the injuries and killings are not limited to “bad guys,” as the president’s top aides have falsely testified.
And the little boy’s name was Naeemullah.
When I voted for Obama, it was with the hope that his reelection would give us liberals/progressives at least a fighting chance. So now that Obama has won, how do we begin to force his hand on this and other issues where he has betrayed our trust? Celebrity Obama supporters Michael Moore and Bill Maher have already demanded that he change course in ways almost all of us can agree with. Now their demands must be amplified by the words and actions of millions in a massive, concerted protest movement. Nothing less has a chance . . . and this could be our last chance.