When Ralph Nader ran for president in 2000 a number of progressives voted for him because they didn’t like the system politicians work within and the way the country/world is run. Understood; but what we got by losing those third party votes was eight years of George Bush, a phony elective war waged for the lure of profit (privatization and oil) and a squandering of the surplus and the balanced budget left by Clinton.
The result of people voting for Ralph Nader meant that the election was close enough for Republicans to wrangle their way in and Al Gore did not become president. If he had I believe we would be the better for it today. Instead the rich have gotten richer, the poor have gotten poorer and corporations having been given more power to sell our collective soul to the devil.
My vote for Obama is a vote for more progressives being appointed to the Supreme Court. It’s a vote for a better chance for alternative energy and environmental protections to go forward, for women’s rights, civil rights, labor rights and the possibility of restraints on big corporations and big banking.
My vote for Obama is a vote against a party that professes smaller government but then wants to pass legislation that is intrusive to my most private decisions as a woman. It’s a vote against a party that doesn’t respect the separation of church and state that protects the religious freedom and the right to not practice religion for all. It’s a vote against a party that doesn’t believe in climate change and brags about wanting to drill in national nature preserves and building a giant pipeline that would deliver dirty oil at high costs and undermine our country’s clean energy future. It’s a vote against a party that supports the extremes of the big lobby NRA that thinks its business as usual for anyone to have access to military assault weapons; a party that wants to gut programs that help the poor and provide safety nets for the working class; a party that won’t support equal pay for women; that thinks we’re above working with the U.N.; that professes to be pro-life but then invades a country that did not threaten us, causing uncountable numbers of innocents to be killed.
My vote for Obama is a vote against a party that uses fear tactics and single wedge issues to convince people to vote against their own interests; a party that calls earned benefits “entitlements” and would like to deny you them; a party that calls repealing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 1% of Americans “raising taxes;” a party that would have us go back to policies that caused a near Great Depression; a party that would keep our health care system one of the lowest ranked in the modern world; a party that pushes out its best, congressional moderates who dare to work with Democrats to get something done.
I have no illusions about the Democratic Party, but they are simply not as bad as Republicans and I don’t think four years is enough for Obama to turn things around in a major way, considering the wars and the unpaid bills he inherited from Bush.
Here’s what Daniel Ellsberg, long time anti-war activist of Pentagon Papers fame, says about third party and protest votes that have the potential to get Romney in the White House:
To punish Obama in this particular way, on Election Day — by depriving him of votes in swing states and hence of office in favor of Romney and Ryan — would punish most of all the poor and marginal in society, and workers and middle class as well: not only in the U.S. but worldwide in terms of the economy (I believe the Republicans could still convert this recession to a Great Depression), the environment and climate change. It could well lead to war with Iran (which Obama has been creditably resisting, against pressure from within his own party). And it would spell, via Supreme Court appointments, the end of Roe v. Wade and of the occasional five to four decisions in favor of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The reelection of Barack Obama, in itself, is not going to bring serious progressive change, end militarism and empire, or restore the Constitution and the rule of law. That’s for us and the rest of the people to bring about after this election and in the rest of our lives — through organizing, building movements and agitating. (More HERE.)
Noam Chomsky puts it like this: The Republican organization today is extremely dangerous, not just to this country, but to the world. It’s worth expending some effort to prevent their rise to power, without sowing illusions about the Democratic alternatives.
I am more of a realist than a purist, one that is happy to vote for Obama.