As I have reported in previous issues of Clockwise Cat, in 2008 I sold out my vote to Barack Obama. In the Democratic primaries I had voted for hardcore liberal Rep. Dennis Kucinich, and up until the last minute of the actual presidential race, I strongly advocated for Green Partier Ralph Nader. I invest belief in TRUE progressivism, you see, not the brand of watery/fakey/puny/pseudo-progressivism proffered forth by the left wing of that Corporate Brothel on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Dennis Kucinich and Ralph Nader, proud social democrats, not only have testes and spines, but they actually EMPLOY those assets toward the common good! Unlike those faux-liberals also known as Democrats, whose spines jellified the moment they took oath, and whose testes shriveled when they were dunked into the cold waters of corporate lobbying. (Of course, I am using patriarchal language since the majority in Congress are men. This is not in any way to negate the Democratic women in office who mostly wield the same toxic spear of corruption. These women have shrunken ovaries and crooked backbones, clearly.)
But I sold out my vote to "Mr. Yes We Can - Be Bush-Lite, Inc." because I inhabit one of those dreaded Red States, and I feared the plague of a McCain presidency. Granted, I KNEW that Obama was a slick deceiver; I saw straight through his polished oratory and carefully constructed facade. But because our system is crassly commandeered by the corporate duopoly of Republicrats, with no room to maneuver for lesser-funded but often more well-meaning third partiers, I knew that Nader votes could swing the race toward McCain. So I pinched my nose and ballot-punched Obama. At the very least we'd be getting a someone who came across as more "presidential" than that psycho-toddler George Bush - in surface ways, anyway, Obama is the antithesis of Bush, with his handsome looks and calm, articulate demeanor. And dammit, it was about freaking time a non-white took office.
But I did not in any way celebrate my sell-out; but neither was I embarrassed because I was doing exactly what I felt needed to be done to dissuade a McCain victory, even though I heartily disdain the system that necessitated my soul-sale. And to any Obama fan who happily congratulated me on my vote switch, I brutally explained my real reasons for doing so, quelling their grating giddiness and engendering a bit of chagrin in the process. Of course, some Obama-suck-ups might still secretly "thank" me for my vote, but I repudiate such misguided gratitude. I did what I felt our pitiful system "forced" me to do.
It turns out, of course, that I would have been right to adhere to my conscience and write in Nader instead - but naturally I already knew that. But Obama has perhaps been worse than even I, the perpetual pessimist, could have anticipated. In fact, we would have been a more progressive country with McCain at the helm. But before you spew your beverage at the screen over that (seemingly) reckless and puzzling pronouncement, let's take cursory look at Obama's record (with help from Alternet):
Ordered Afghanistan troop surge
Participated in extrajudicial assassination
Participated in the destabalization of a nuclearized Pakistan
Participated in furthering Israel's agenda against Palestine
Expanded whistle-blower prosecution
Failed to close Guantanamo
Failed to act on climate change
Advocated nuclear energy
Advocated further domestic oil drilling
Advocated Wall Street bailout and hence further economic decline for everyone else
Advocated Bush tax cuts for the rich
Failed to lower the jobless rate
Each one of these scenarios is precisely upholding Bush's authoritarian agenda, and indeed, are issues that McCain, too, would have pursued, just as relentlessly.
So why do I say that we would have been a more liberalized country if McCain had been president? Because, it turns out, progressives can be just as fact-eschewing as right-wingers. Their beloved Obama can do no wrong, evidence to the contrary be damned!
But I'm here to tell you that just because he's a black Democrat doesn't mean he's not still part of the capitalist totalitarian establishment that is the American Government. In fact, his race and political party are likely what got him elected - he makes imperalistic politics more palatable for the empty-heads otherwise known as Democratic voters.
But a McCain presidency would have meant that these issues would actually be fiercely contested by progressive voters, just as they were with the Bush Administration. Bush, with his ruthless redneck ways, managed to liberalize even the staunchest of conservatives, and further liberalize those who already considered themselves liberals. But Obama's tactics are far more "polite" - he articulates fascist policies quite eloquently - and his progressive campaign demeanor, though patently a sham, still resonates strongly.
And of course, he has espoused some policies that are progressive in nature. I won't go into them here, but there is a website that can be consulted in order to bolster the evidence that he can be, at times, semi-differentiated from Bush:
What the Heck Has Obama Done So Far?
(Of course, just to take one of his "better" initiative: While increasing healthcare access to more Americans is a wonderful thing, ObamaCare still falls way short of what it COULD have been had Obama not licked the asses of the healthcare industry. In essence, it's a further corporate giveaway, even though it has some benevolent provisions. But it's still far from being the utopian socialist healthcare plan it's accused of being.)
Besides, what good is any of it when 14 million Americans have no jobs, hapless Afghan survivors exist amidst rubble, and the entire Middle East wants to suicide-bomb the US?
A few token progressive deeds are not enough to redeem Obama's overwhelmingly right-wing record. You could say he's spineless and capitulates too much to the Republicans, or tries too hard to seek "bipartisan solutions," but I say he knows exactly what he's doing. He intuitively understands that presidential power in the US means not only sucking up to corporations, but basically ceding the reins to them.
Because corporate interests are what fuel American politics - from militarism in the Middle East to tax cuts for the wealthy to the Wall Street bailout to domestic oil drilling to nuclear energy to the Israeli alliance...it's all governed by corporate profiteering, and it's all part of the pernicious political scheme known as American politics.
I have no love for Obama, and no love for American government...and the more I read books like The Shock Doctrine, the more cognizant I become of just how feudalistic our system truly is, and how we are anything but free. Of course, true freedom cannot be constricted by corporate control - true freedom is a psychic phenomenon, and it's up to us to unleash our jubilant potential, and smash the state. And the only way to do that is to vote Republican, because that is what will TRULY compel us toward real revolution.
If you cannot bring yourself to do that - and I cannot - then at the very least, defy the Democrats and their illusory liberalism and WRITE SOMEONE IN.