Go, Obama, Go!
While you wait . . .
USA 27 August 2012. It's important that we remind ourselves why we're here, and what we're cheering for!
President Obama keeps a list of "nominees" for murder and holds meetings on Tuesdays to pick the winners. We can ask him who got the nod yesterday. The list includes adults and children, men and women, boys and girls, Americans and non-Americans. See: New York Times, May 29, 2012.
President Obama has enlarged the U.S. military three years in a row, deployed it to more nations, engaged it in more secret wars, and invented a new form of warfare using drones. The drone wars are killing large numbers of people and creating vastly greater numbers of refugees. Their illegality is not a concern, following Obama's war in Libya conducted despite the opposition of Congress, and the current U.S. role in a civil war in Syria unilaterally announced by the White House. These are on top of a war in Afghanistan that Obama tripled in size and intends to continue for two-and-a-half more years before continuing at an unspecified smaller scale for 10 more years after that, despite 70 percent public opposition now.
In fact, legality has been removed from all discussion, as President Obama has publicly instructed the Attorney General of the United States not to prosecute any members of the Central Intelligence Agency for torture. President Obama, together with Congress, has "legalized" imprisonment without trial for Americans or non-Americans (something Obama's Justice Department is currently struggling to uphold in court), as well as rendition, and torture (now a policy choice rather than a crime).
The Obama administration has engaged in an unprecedented assault on whistleblowers, charging more than all previous administrations combined under the Espionage Act, creating a climate of secrecy and fear, torturing Bradley Manning, and maneuvering in an extensive effort to gain custody of Julian Assange and try or at least punish him for journalism.
This unprecedented militarism was the inevitable result of our failure to hold Bush and Cheney responsible for their crimes. It carries with it the inevitable trade-off on the domestic side. Over half of federal discretionary spending (and rising) now goes to war preparation. Obama's major complaint with the U.S. media is that, "He particularly believes that Democrats do not receive enough credit for their willingness to accept cuts in Medicare and Social Security" (New York Times, Aug. 7, 2012). The concentration of wealth in the hands of the few has advanced faster under Obama than under Bush. Corporate trade agreements have been created at a faster pace. The destruction of the earth's atmosphere has continued at a faster pace.
The Horrible Romney Alternative
OF COURSE you should not vote for Romney. But civil rights were not gained by avoiding the responsibilities of citizenship in order to pretend that every day is election day. Today is not election day. Today is an opportunity to communicate a message to the holder of an office that has been given unprecedented power (again, by allowing Bush to walk free). Women did not vote themselves the right to vote. The labor movement was not built by the current strategy of funding a corporate political party with working people's hard-earned pay. In that moment of voting, vote as you see fit. But censoring your criticism of your government, cheering as a spectator for one half of a corrupt government, treating government of the people as a spectator sport is working against what has always done the good you are intending to do here. We don't need well-meaning props in electoral commercials so much as we need activists, organizers, mobilizers, educators. If we reject any cuts to our Social Security and Medicare, if we insist on an end to all the killing, we will move the culture of the country and with it all the politicians. That's what's worked for centuries. Avoiding ugly facts has never gotten us anywhere.