If you vote for Obama or Romney, do so proudly!

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October 24, 2012 by J. Madson

Since the days of LBJ, leftists have in large part tried to change the Democratic Party from within to no avail. The truth is that if you’re a Lefty, the Democrats are not your friends. As explained here:

The American political system, since at least 1968, has been operating

like a ratchet, and both parties — Republicans and Democrats — play crucial, mutually reinforcing roles in its operation. The electoral ratchet permits movement only in the rightward direction. The Republican role is fairly clear; the Republicans apply the torque that rotates the thing rightward. The Democrats’ role is a little less obvious

. The Democrats are the pawl. They don’t resist the rightward movement — they let it happen — but whenever the rightward force slackens

momentarily, for whatever reason, the Democrats click into place and keep the machine from rotating back to the left.

What this amounts to is Democrats demanding your vote in the name of pragmatism and realism in order to keep out the latest “right-wing madmen” while Democrats move to the “center” which is the same as a rightward direction of movement and thus it goes every election more to the right.

The Democrats’ rightward shift not only enables the Republicans to move farther right themselves; it actually compels them to do so….The ratchet clicks: Nixon. The pawl holds: Carter. Click again: Reagan. And again: Bush Senior (and Iraq War I). The pawl holds: Clinton. Click: Bush Junior and Iraq War II; then another click, and it’s Bush Junior triumphant, and God knows what to come.

It is in light of this that I would like you to consider the various news items below. First we have John Kiriakou the only “person to be criminally prosecuted, and now likely jailed, as a result of the Bush-era torture regime… who refused to participate in torture, helped expose the program, and said on national television that torture was wrong.” Covering up torture and war crimes and prosecuting those who tell us about them much like the prosecution of Bradley Manning.

Next, we have a former right-wing Congressman and current host Joe Scarborough on MSNBC acting as the voice of reason in critiquing President Obama’s killing of innocents by drones while Obama cheerleader and Time magazine contributor Joe Klein advocates the murder of 4 year old children
(See video here)

SCARBOROUGH: “What we’re doing with drones is remarkable: the fact that over the past eight years during the Bush years – when a lot of people brought up some legitimate questions about international law – my God, those lines have been completely eradicated by a drone policy that says: if you’re between 17 and 30, and within a half-mile of a suspect, we can blow you up, and that’s exactly what’s happening . . . . They are focused on killing the bad guys, but it is indiscriminate as to other people who are around them at the same time . . . . it is something that will cause us problems in the coming years” . . . .

KLEIN: “I completely disagree with you. . . . It has been remarkably successful” –

SCARBOROUGH: “at killing people” –

KLEIN: “At decimating bad people, taking out a lot of bad people – and saving Americans lives as well, because our troops don’t have to do this . . . You don’t need pilots any more because you do it with a joystick in California.”

SCARBOROUGH: “This is offensive to me, though. Because you do it with a joystick in California – and it seems so antiseptic – it seems so clean – and yet you have 4-year-old girls being blown to bits because we have a policy that now says: ‘you know what? Instead of trying to go in and take the risk and get the terrorists out of hiding in a Karachi suburb, we’re just going to blow up everyone around them.’

“This is what bothers me. . . . We don’t detain people any more: we kill them, and we kill everyone around them. . . . I hate to sound like a Code Pink guy here. I’m telling you this quote ‘collateral damage’ – it seems so clean with a joystick from California – this is going to cause the US problems in the future.”

KLEIN: “If it is misused, and there is a really major possibility of abuse if you have the wrong people running the government. But: the bottom line in the end is – whose 4-year-old get killed? What we’re doing is limiting the possibility that 4-year-olds here will get killed by indiscriminate acts of terror.”

Here Joe Klein is revealing the terrorist nature of our drone program which an earlier report on the effects of drones on Pakistan civilians documents. Is this any different than the rationale given by Al-Qaeda? As Glenn Greenwald points out “Almost every single person arrested and prosecuted over the last decade on terrorism charges, when asked why they were willing to kill innocent Americans including children, offered some version of Joe Klein’s mindset.”

Our next item of business is the DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz claiming ignorance of the Obama kill list which was reported on the front page of the NY Times in May and has been discussed in length by various other media outlets.

Robert Gibbs, a senior campaign adviser for US President Barack Obama, defends the assassination of a innocent 16 year old by stating that kids of terrorists should have more responsible fathers.

And lets end this with the Washington Post story from this morning where we learn that this type of drone warfare and murder of innocent civilians will continue for a decade to come. Names will continue to be added to the kill list. Those people will be killed without due process which the administration has given the Orwellian name “disposition matrix.” It is reported that this will include “plans for the “disposition” of suspects beyond the reach of American drones.” A senior administration official states “We can’t possibly kill everyone who wants to harm us,” but apparently that does not mean they won’t try.

So here we are in 2012 with targeted killings of US and non US citizens absent any due process becoming a permanent feature of the United States foreign policy. If targeted killings were actually effective one would assume they would decrease with time but like most violent actions these killings seem to only increase the number of people we now need to kill. Leftists are told they must vote for Obama because Romney is clearly worse and click the pawl ensures we keep moving to the right. Those on the right who are bothered by these civil liberty violations and war mongering are told they must hold their noses and vote for Romney because Obama is a radical socialist Muslim Kenyan leftist; a very strange leftist indeed whose foreign policies are closer to George Bush and domestic policies resemble what was considered conservative policy only a short time ago. This is of course part of the right wing ratchet effect ensuring we are always moving to the right.

So as we draw closer to the presidential election, let us remember that if you vote for either of the two parties regardless of how reasonable and pragmatic you view your choice, you will be voting for the continuation of a system that ensures the murder of innocent human beings. You are voting for the continuation of a system that now claims the right to murder anyone, anywhere in the world without any debate and any due process.

The same is true for Romney who claims the same right to kill anyone, anywhere, and has expressed a willingness to do the same. From the Republican primary debate on November 12, 2011:

Scott Pelley: And that is time. Thank you, sir. Governor Romney. Governor Romney, recently President Obama ordered the death of an American citizen who was suspected of terrorist activity overseas. Is it appropriate for the American president on the president’s say-so alone to order the death of an American citizen suspected of terrorism?

Mitt Romney: Absolutely.

So if you vote consider the words of Arthur Silber who writes

If you vote for Obama or Romney, do so proudly. I want you to say: “I vote for Obama/Romney proudly. I am proud to be a knowing accomplice to their murders, including the murders of innocent human beings.”

As I stated at the forefront, leftists have in large part tried to change the Democratic Party from within to no avail. Libertarians on the right have tried to do the same with the Republican party to no avail. Remember, these parties are not your friends. We are not going to create a better world or nation by supporting evil with the hopes of some ancillary good.  We must stop supporting evil. Cheney was rightly criticized for stating “We also have to work, though, sort of the dark side, if you will.” Take note, when one states you must be a realist, a pragmatist, and vote for the lesser evil this is in fact what they are saying: that you must choose evil. We must vote even for evil in the chance that some good end will come from those means.

Let us remember the words of a German engineer who despite saving many lives by surviving and taking the “oath of fidelity” understood it represented a “certain and immediate” evil. The same must be true of support for a person who claims the right to unrestricted, unbounded murder. As the engineer said: “I had to commit a positive evil, there and then, in the hope of a possible good later on. The good outweighed the evil; but the good was only a hope, the evil was a fact.”

If you do not refuse to participate now, if you do not refuse to condone this system now, when will you?

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29 thoughts on “If you vote for Obama or Romney, do so proudly!

  1. gomw says:

    Wow! For years, I have been accused of being an ideologue by my conservative friends. Now, I find out I am actually a pragmatist. Frankly, I have always considered myself to be a pragmatist-albeit a left wing bleeding heart pragmatist!! Does that make sense?

    I love your ratchet metaphor but I think your application is rather one-dimensional. Warfare, law enforcement, anti-terrorism is not the only areas where liberal and conservative comparisons are to be made. In social positions, one can make the case that the opposite direction is on the ratchet. For example, when I was in the service, ask don’t tell would have been extreme – extremely liberal. Gay marriage would only have been a punch line for a joke 20 years ago. Now more people approve of gay marriage than oppose it and gays are serving openly in the military.

    I was in the 82nd Airborne in 1952 when it was integrated. I can’t tell you how incredibly offended white paratroopers were at having to sleep in the same barracks and use the same showers as “coloreds.” When I was in high school and even after, it was socially unacceptable for unmarried couples to live together, now it is common and totally accepted. I can name many other areas where we have moved inexorably without the need for a pawl to the left.

    As for the kill list, I find it utterly repugnant. I also find war utterly repugnant – especially being an ex-paratrooper where we were trained very well in the art of killing. I am also an ex-cop where I have seen the dead victims of heinous crimes but still question the death sentence. While I am philosophically against the use of drones as law enforcers. As a pragmatist, if I had to make the choice between a drone attack to kill known terrorist, knowing the possibility that some innocent people would be killed; and choosing to bomb Baghdad, for example, to enforce the law, knowing that thousands of innocent people would be killed, nearly all innocent. I would have to follow the path of least resistance. And I think the political flavor of the time would be irrelevant.

    I remember the only two times the atom bomb was used. The political climate then was probably as liberal as it has ever been – before or since. The decision not to drop them would, according to military experts, have meant more innocent deaths and more American deaths. Yes, in 1945, American life was more valuable – to us – than Japanese life. That was pragmatism,

    In the meantime, we are all dead in the long run. In the short run, we have to deal with poverty, people dying from lack of health care, and an economy that is about to collapse.

    As a Mormon, I am ashamed of a Bishop who calls himself a Pastor because “admitting” that he was a Bishop might cost some votes. I am embarrassed by a Mormon who shows the lack of integrity, the lack of core values, that Romney has shown. I am frustrated by the support Mormons give a man who has made a fortune by reducing workers pay and benefits and promotes the very things that King Benjamin said would be deny our salvation. Pragmatically, I am worried about several grandchildren losing the umbrella of their parents health insurance and a daughter being denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition.

    As an amateur economist (educated in economics but never having practiced), I know that Keynesian economics is the answer to the slow economy and taxing higher incomes to address the deficit at the same time we lower the taxes on more consumers would stimulate the economy and elevate revenue. I could not vote for Romney regardless of his religion – which, to me, seems to be mammon.

    I will vote for Obama, if not proudly, certainly without shame.

  2. J. Madson says:

    gomw, there is alot in your comment that I would agree with and I agree that we have progressed as a society in many ways although I attribute most of it to the people and not the state. Take healthcare as an example of a non war issue that has ratcheted to the right or immigration. I simply cannot participate in electing either of these men in good conscience. I dont think you are bad for voting for Obama. You are being a pragmatist. I have been a pragmatist in times past. Im just not up for it anymore. Pragmatism does have the cost of supporting someone who will do some very bad things. I guess Im hoping for the day when enough of us say enough to partisan politics and demand real change.

  3. leftofmormon says:

    We must never forget that the lesser of two evils is still evil. I look forward to the day I can vote for a President and really feel good about it. I voted for Obama in 2008 because he seemed to have some good ideas. It just seems he has tossed them out the window. A German friend of mine commented the week after Obama won the election, “But, don’t forget he’s still a politician.” Apparently, he is.

  4. james stewart says:

    I agree with much of your argument. There is certainly one party, masquerading as two, that prioritizes wall street and abominable war. However, I think Americans have used Presidents as scapegoats for many of the evils that are committed by our society. While the executive branch certainly is a significant force, and enjoys substantial power, I still do not believe they are more powerful than a movement of the people. I’m sure you are not suggesting it, but to think that voting once in four years is playing your part in governance is a serious fallacy. Our society’s decadence, selfishness, and ignorance is much to blame for the evils that you speak of. We are shirking our responsibility to work for justice and basic human rights for all people. If there was a massive movement against drone strikes, I wonder if a President would still so cavalierly spill blood. American’s are too busy lost in the world of ESPN, money markets, materialism, trying to achieve the destructive “American dream,” rather than holding our government responsible for their actions in what in theory is our behalf.

  5. Joseph says:

    gomw, just jumping over from the Facebook version of the Mormon Worker to let you know that I voted early, and voted for Obama without shame as well. I think with all the racist reaction to an African American President, the stakes are very high in this election as opposed to others.

  6. Mark Schulthies says:

    If your voting for the lesser of two evils, you’re still voting for evil. I get it and I think everyone above age 18 that’s allowed to vote understands this. However, what are you willing to do that’s evil or tolerate on the ‘idea’ that something good ‘might’ come out of it? I can’t vote for Romney because he’s went on the record as abolishing my job and taking my pension. That’s it for me, not having a job and losing what I’ve put into my pension for over 32 years – on the idea that Obama will continue to support my subsidized / quasi-government job and protect my pension guaranteed by the government. Should I cut my nose off to spite my face? No, I’ll concern myself with those other priorities when I keep my job and have a secure pension. Does this make me evil too? Under the ideal, that it’s either right or wrong / evil or good – even a little evil is evil. However, this ain’t an all or everything proposition…just how dark of a shade of grey you are willing to live with. I love my job and I will fight to keep what I’ve earned.

    As disciples of Christ it should mean that we oppose murder and live the ideal life that Jesus taught. Clearly, the scriptures (Bible & Book of Mormon) are full of contridictions and occurances when (it seems) murder is allowed and even required by God. The history of our church is full of contridictions (like the Law of Concentration vs. Corporate Mormonism). And, when it seemed like the cost was too great to practise polygamy, blacks in the priesthood, etc. – the Prophet was inspired by Heavenly Father that the time was then to chose the lesser of the two evils (depending if you were male or female / black or white – to conform to the expediant and necessary conditions of the world and the church. Have we given up the basic tentents of our faith? No, but we’ve had to survive in the practical instead of the ideal. So, does that make our church untrue? No, we have recognize that Father in Heaven isn’t making choices for us and that’s what free agency brings (even in the church). With it’s imperfections, I love my church and the ideals of Christ.

    I love the ideal of the United States of America. I love the ideal of right and wrong that we stand for but don’t practice as brought very powerfully out by this article. Am I opposed to killing innocent life? Yes, it violates the ideal which this country was founded upon. I love my country even with it’s faults and won’t apoligize for my participation by voting. Here is the truth:

    1.) American politics are NOT fair. (and never were.)
    2.) The Church is NOT fair. (decrees of righteousness/wickedness)
    3.) God is NOT fair (practically speaking by allowing bad stuff like this)

    Yes, do as much good as you can and oppose evil but let’s be realistic in a terestial world. Due process is an ideal that is only possible if everyone plays fair or is compelled to play. The rachet analogy is apt, but doesn’t change or improve the problem it describes.

  7. LDSDPer says:

    Will I be laughed off this board if I express my opinion that the entire system is rigged–
    I don’t believe the electoral system even works anymore; there have been too many inconsistencies–
    There is too much manipulation.
    I don’t believe that people who don’t invest a lot of time in trying to find out what is really happening behind all the scenes–
    can learn the truth from the mainstream media.
    I believe the current campaigns/debates are all entertainment and a distraction.
    Am I cynical.
    I will either not vote or will write in someone who probably isn’t even running for president. I plan to vote for someone on the state level (a person I have met who seems reasonable and shares my values)

    I have been told by some that I am a bad person, because I don’t want to vote. But I can’t vote for either Obama or Romney.

    In the meantime I refuse to buy any food item that is made using GMOs, even if it’s expensive. Both Obama and Romney have received support from Monsanto.
    And I will continue to oppose war.

  8. LDSDPer says:

    P.S.–

    I haven’t read this book, so I am not recommending it. I only want to make others aware of the ‘outside the box’ possibilities of the present political situation–

  9. tariq says:

    I’m not a fan of the TV show South Park, but there are a few episodes that I like. There is one episode in which there is an election; the choices are a turd sandwich or a giant douche. One kid didn’t want to vote because both choices sucked and the whole thing was stupid. Then everyone in town treated him like a horrible person because he didn’t want to vote and they exiled him from the community. Good episode that hits the nail on the head as far as our elections and our society are concerned.

    http://www.myspace.com/video/blake/south-park-turd-sandwich-vs-giant-douche/4284258

  10. Forest Simmons says:

    I cannot blame anybody for voting for one of the corporate candidates if they really believe there is a significant difference. Even Chomsky advocated the lesser evil approach in the 2004 election.

    But I voted for Nader anyway, because I was thinking of the day when God might ask me, “Why did you vote for one of the evil candidates when there was a perfectly wonderful choice?”

    I thought, “Suppose Jesus were running and (because of his scruples) he didn’t have a chance against Obama or Romney, would I vote against Jesus so as not to “waste” my vote?”

    I don’t vote with the illusion that my vote will change the world or even change the outcome of the election. I vote because it is a chance to show God where my loyalties are.

    King Benjamin said that if we wanted to retain a remission of our sins, we should always remember our own nothingness and trust in the Lord. My vote cannot change the outcome except in the event of being pivotal in a swing state, an event with the chance of the proverbial snowflake.

    My friends object, “What if everybody thought like that?”

    My reply; “If everybody thought like I do, then nobody would be voting for a lesser evil candidate. Somebody good would be elected.”

  11. Forest Simmons says:

    My rationale above falls in the category of idealism, which for me is identical to long range pragmatism. What most people call pragmatism is what I would call short range pragmatism.

    To see the contrast in the two forms of pragmatism read or listen to this edition of Democracy Now:

    http://www.democracynow.org/2012/9/7/effective_evil_or_progressives_best_hope

    It is a debate between two African Americans intellectuals. Here’s an excerpt in which the two kinds of pragmatism can be detected, although only Dyson gets credit for “pragmatism:”

    ***

    MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: You know, what’s interesting is that, look, despite the poetry of my dear friend Glen Ford, the reality is, is that the American left will never be able to participate not simply in the pageantry of American politics and the light and airy stuff that conventions engage in. Of course, the fluff and the desiderata may be absolutely true, as Mr. Ford has indicated. But the reality is, is that Obama is as progressive a figure who has the chance of being elected in America. Friedrich Engels is not going to be the secretary of labor, and Marx will not be the secretary of treasury, bottom line.

    Now, having said that, all of the stuff that Glen Ford has talked about is absolutely right in an ideal world where the politics of erosion can be stemmed by progressive forces that have an upsurgence, that have the possibility of getting elected. But if you ain’t in the game—Miami Heat is playing the—talking about sports—is playing the Oklahoma Thunder. It’s not “I’d prefer it be the Los Angeles Lakers.” This is the game we’re talking about. And if the American left can’t be involved in the actual practice of government to offer the critical and salient insights that are available—take—take 2000, when siding with Nader, then Al Gore, who should have been president, who would have prevented some of the stuff that we see now happening, didn’t occur. The left won’t take responsibility for the fact that, with the extraordinary intelligence of a Glen Ford and many other leftists notwithstanding, the reality is that he’s the most progressive president, as Gary Dorrien, an American leftist who teaches at Union Theological Seminary argues, since FDR. Those are the stakes on the ground. We’re talking about what he’s done with earned income tax credit, when we talk about bailing out the American automobile industry, when we speak about the fact that Affordable Healthcare Act is put forth, you talk about pre-existing conditions. When you speak about, across the board, what Obama has been able to do despite the intransigence of the Republican Party, then you talk about on-the-ground practices of actually achievable political goals. I think, Glen, we have to take that in consideration.

    AMY GOODMAN: Glen Ford?

    GLEN FORD: Well, what Obama has done is actually move the entire debate to the right. He claims that he’s the one standing between the Republicans and Social Security and Medicare and the entitlements, but it was Obama, two weeks before he even took the oath of office, who said that entitlements would all be on the table. This was at a period in which the Republicans were in disarray, couldn’t mount a challenge to anything. Obama followed through and created this model for austerity with his deficit reduction commission, which came up with the figure of $4 trillion in cuts, which he now includes among his solemn promises to the American people. Those cuts would savage, in fact, Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security.

    We say that he is the more effective evil because he is able, being a Democrat, to accomplish more of that right-wing agenda than the Republicans ever could. Remember, George Bush tried to privatize Social Security. He got his worst domestic defeat of his term in so doing, and the Republicans were reeling from that even in 2009. It took Barack Obama to introduce the model for austerity. And it is a—and it certainly is a twist on history—I think it’s a lie—to claim that he is the bulwark of defense. Now, we need to tell the truth. That is our first obligation, not just get in the game as the rules of the game have been laid down by one—by either of those corporate political parties.

    ***

    The entire debate is well worth reading or listening to.

  12. Forest Simmons says:

    A few more thoughts that might make us re-consider our ability to outsmart the devil (which is our conceit when we start choosing “lesser evils”):

    My wife says that the Republicans have more integrity: they promise that they are going to pursue a pro-corporate agenda, and they keep their promise. The Democrats say that they are going to side with main street instead of wall street, but their actions are uniformly pro-corporate. They are great at lip service. It’s the “good cop, bad cop” game.

    The late Alex Cockburn considered it a toss up as to whether a Democrat or Republican president would be worse for the world. He was fond of pointing out that one of the best things for the world might be the end of the American empire, and that a Republican president was at least as likely to precipitate this end as a Democrat president.

    Historically empires have come to an end through what is called “Imperial Over-reach,” including trying to fight too many wars to maintain imperial control. For example, in the case of the SSSR it may have been Afghanistan that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

    Between Obama and Romney it’s a toss up which candidate would exercise the most imperial over-reach. Obama holds the record so far.

  13. tariq says:

    To those who are voting for Obama, I don’t criticize you. He is less bad than Romney. I am very sympathetic to Noam Chomsky’s attitude that if you live in a swing state, vote for Obama, and if you are not in a swing state, vote your conscience. But if you are voting for Obama, do it with your eyes open. Don’t think you are voting for a progressive, because Obama is not a progressive. He is a just as much of a capitalist war-monger as any republican. If he wins, don’t act surprised when, rather than instituting progressive policies, he continues on with business-as-usual, because that is all he is going to do. So many of my associates who voted for Obama last time around felt really disappointed after about two years of Obama, and I said to them, “what did you expect?!” So go ahead and vote for the lesser-evil Obama, but don’t expect anything more than business-as-usual after he wins.

    And for my Obama supporting friends, believe me, I would love nothing more than to be proven wrong. I would love it if after he wins the election, Obama starts acting like an actual progressive, but I seriously doubt that will happen.

    One of the things I find most annoying about election races is all the B.S. talk about the middle class. What about the working class? Where is the concern for the poor? All these politicians, republican and democrat alike, are a bunch of scumbags who cater to the rich in the name of the middle class at the expense of the poor. Hooray for the democratic process.

    • Joseph says:

      I’m glad to know Chomsky said that. I also feel that, if a person didn’t vote for Obama the first time, Obama obviously hasn’t given much reason to vote for him this election. My problem is with those who voted for him in 2008, and are somehow surprised he hasn’t saved the world, so now they don’t want to vote. I voted for Obama in 2008. It was a pragmatic decision. I knew he was a moderate. He said he was willing to go into Pakistan to get Al Qaeda. His platform was moderate. Again, my problem with those who voted for Obama in 2008 and now want to bail is that in 2008 they helped elect our first African American President. If they bail now and Romney wins, the racists on the right are going to be able to say: “Look, you gave that black guy a chance, and he failed miserably. Never let anyone but a white male win primaries for the two major parties.” The right-wing racists will be even more empowered than they already are. This is somewhat personal for me. I really am hoping that my racist ex-in-laws are given another four years to be in fear and anger over having a non-Caucasian in the White House!

  14. Jeremy Jensen says:

    One party believes climate change is a hoax. The other believes in taking real action. One party believes health care should be available to all. The other believes, more or less, in social darwinism. One party believes that the wealthy have a responsibility to the rest of us. The other believes that we owe all the wealthy our undying devotion and deference because they are the “job creators.” You people are missing the forest for the trees.

    You call voting for President Obama supporting the “lesser of two evils.” That makes no sense. The only rational way to approach any decision is this: “Will my action (in this case voting) improve people’s lives are degrade them?” The only rational decision, if you believe in the ideals of the left, is that President Obama’s re-election represents an improvement over the only other alternative. Therefore, if you refuse to take the only action that you can take in the voting booth that will result in averting great harm to this country, YOU are committing the *greatest* evil. If you must vote third party in a safe states, feel free to take the action that will allow you to keep your hands nice and clean, (as well as allowing you to feel completely detached from the outcome). If, however, you are in a swing state, and Romney is elected because you voted for Jill Stein or Rocky Anderson, YOU will have blood on your hands when Romney invades Iran or ends the closest thing we’ve ever had to universal healthcare.

    • tariq says:

      Jeremy,
      I will not have blood on my hands. I am responsible for my own sins, not for Romney or Obama’s transgressions. What you are doing is trying to scare and bully people into voting the way you want them to. When it comes to war and healthcare, both parties are about the same. They are both servants of the military industrial-complex and they are both servants of the health insurance and big pharma industries. Obama’s healthcare reform was more or less the same thing Romney did in Massachusetts. Both Romney and Obama are anti-Palestine and their stances concerning Iran, while rhetorically different, are the same in practice.

      Yes, there are some differences between the two parties, but those differences are mostly in style, not substance. What if the Jill Stein or Rocky Anderson people said that you and all the progressives who vote democrat are the ones with blood on your hands because you keep supporting a party that doesn’t do anything progressive and you create a situation in which the Democratic Party is able to get your vote without having to earn it? They get your vote not by being progressive, but by simply by being slightly less belicose than the other guy. What incentive does the democratic party have to move more toward progressive policies if it can get the support of progressives simply by being slightly less right-wing than the republicans? How does that feel? It makes just about as much sense as your accusing third party supporters of having blood on their hands because they want to vote for people who actually represent their ideals, rather than simply voting out of fear.

      I am sympathetic to “lesser-evil” voters and I am sympathetic to third party voters, as well as to people who think the whole thing is a ridiculous sham and stay out of electoral politics completely, instead focusing on grass roots and direct action style activism. What I don’t do is try to scare or bully any of those groups of people into voting a certain way, and I don’t accuse any of them of having blood on their hands because they didn’t vote for the sleazy politician I wanted them to vote for.

    • Forest Simmons says:

      Short run pragmatism only preserves the status quo.

    • Forest Simmons says:

      Jeremy,

      The ideals that you have enumerated are indeed the ideals of most Democrats, and even a few of the elected ones, like Dennis Kucinich. But most of the Democrats in D.C. only give lip service to those ideals, enough to get the votes of the Democrats that actually hold them dear.

  15. Forest Simmons says:

    I look forward to the day in the hereafter when we have time to commune leisurely with our brothers and sisters. In that day, I will thank Rocky Anderson for his candidacy, and tell him that I supported him with my vote.

    It is not easy to imagine that I would have the same pleasure telling the same to Obama or any other lesser evil candidate.

  16. Forest Simmons says:

    I’ve been thinking about Shiz and Coriantumr in conjunction with Obama and Romney. The Jaredites were so equally divided between them in strength that it finally came down to these two evil leaders, both utterly exhausted, but one with enough strength after resting a while o finish off the other.

    Ether seems to sympathize more (slightly) with coriantumr, but he doesn’t lend any support to either of the evil men.

    I wonder how each Jaredite decided which man to support, and if now in the spirit world they still think that their support was important.
    \
    Perhaps some of them thought they could outwit the devil. But somehow the devil was able to play them off against each other in a perfect balance that could not have happened by chance alone.

    I wonder what their wedge issues were.

  17. Forest Simmons says:

    The results are almost completely counted, and it looks like the popular vote percentages were 50.1 and 48.4 for Obama and Romney, respectively. That’s a total of 98.5% for one evil or another.

    It reminds me of Helaman 5:2

    “For as their laws and their governments were established by the voice of the people, and they who chose evil were more numerous than they who chose good, therefore they were ripening for destruction, for the laws had become corrupted. “

  18. Joseph says:

    Noam Chomsky on Democracy Now:

    Chomsky also comments on President Obama’s re-election, saying: “There are two good things about it. One is, the worst didn’t happen, and it might have. The second is, it’s over. So we can put it behind us and get back to work.”

  19. When I was a student at the University of Toronto in the 1960s, I came upon Lionel Giles’ translation of the Tao Te Ching.

    One of the book’s many paradoxes doubles as my “blog slogan” – “The profoundest truths are paradoxical.”

    Several years ago, I discovered paradox of a paradoxical analysis by Trappist monk, Thomas Merton, which goes to the heart of “the lesser evil” conundrum.

    “The terrible thing about our time is precisely the ease with which theories can be put into practice. The more perfect, the more idealistic the theories, the more dreadful is their realization. We are at last beginning to rediscover what perhaps men knew better in very ancient times, in primitive times before utopias were thought of: that liberty is bound up with imperfection, and that limitations, imperfections, errors are not only unavoidable but also salutary. The best is not the ideal. Where what is theoretically best is imposed on everyone as the norm, then there is no longer any room even to be good. The best, imposed as a norm, becomes evil.” “Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander,” by Thomas Merton

    http://paxonbothhouses.blogspot.com/2012/04/merton-best-imposed-as-norm-becomes.html

    “Perfection” – in any sense that conjures “precision” or “categorical separation of good and evil” (rather than “completeness” and “wholeness”) — lends itself to an obsession with “Righteousness” that often morphs into self-righteousness.

    Lamentably, the self-righteous are zealous to impose the best on everyone.

    And so uncompromising insistence on Too Pure Principles becomes, paradoxically, evil.

    “There is no longer any room even to be good.”

    Paradoxically, the “lesser evil” can be “the greater good.”

    • james stewart says:

      while i sympathize with this argument and often find myself guilty of self-righteousness among many other things, i can’t help but think of the quote by king, “this is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.” i believe radical action by idealistic movements brings about real change. its not the only avenue to change, but its an effective one. like an acidic or basic solution, if you dilute it enough, it’s effective action is diminished. jesus used a similar analogy, “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”

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