This don’t feel like a party
I voted for Ralph Nader in each of the last three election cycles, and I’m unrepentant.
I am opposed to a two-party system that stages elaborate moral and ideological pantomimes while, offstage, corporations play/pay both sides and lobby themselves into positions of primacy above, and to the detriment of, the actual citizens of the United States. The political system we endure in this country is institutionally dishonest, morally bankrupt and we are drifting further and further away from they type of transparency, accountability and democratic ideals that could restore faith in government. If you think Barack Obama’s campaign has declined the benefits of the sickening Citizens United decision, codified into law by the Supreme Court, you’re wrong.
In the commonwealth of Kentucky, I have been able to cast my vote opposed to two-party politics with impunity. This state hasn’t selected a Democrat for president anytime since I’ve been an eligible voter and, to be very blunt, certainly isn’t going to elect a half-Kenyan Democrat whose name is Barack Hussein Obama.
I didn’t vote for Obama in 2008 because I suspected him to be just another player whose decidedly impressive and often moving rhetorical flourishes would be unmatched by his completely moderate governance in practice. He didn’t seem very revolutionary then, and in the past four years, I have not been disabused of my suspicions. All that said, 2008 seems like a long, long time ago, and this election cycle, still revolting by any metric, carries with it a whole new set of considerations.
As I’ve gotten older and watched a few successive presidential elections as an adult, I have, unfortunately, come to expect a nationwide case of amnesia to occur every four years in which everyone seems pleased as punch to be convinced that the incumbent president is, alternately, totally responsible for all of the terrible things that have occurred in the world or totally responsible for anything that’s gone well depending on who’s talking. It’s as if an election cycle triggers a black spot to appear in our collective historical short-term memory.
Barack Obama walked into a disaster area, he did not create one all by himself. One is reminded of The Onion’s bleak and apt headline in November 2008: “Black Man Given Nation’s Worst Job.” Four years later, I would argue that Obama’s recently canonized sound bite, “You didn’t build that,” is equally appropriate.
While I’ve been less-than-enthusiastic-to-disappointed with much of his first term, to his credit, the president showed up in Washington with the intention of working with lawmakers to implement some important and admirable reforms, the health-care bill not the least of which. He was immediately met with total and nearly oppressive opposition from the right, largely under the direction of Mitch McConnell, who is just about the most horrifying creature ever to materialize fully formed from the Darkness. The opposition hasn’t abated even for a second, and the ideological furor has been ratcheted up to a level where it feels like this country is on the verge of a total psychic breakdown.
In spite of my own best intentions of rational, ethically motivated citizenship, I find myself motivated instead by reactions against ideological momentum on the right more than a clear-headed notion of what I support. Full assaults on human dignity being waged by religious zealots, capitalist thugs and their unholy spawn are what will motivate me to vote for Obama next week.
The word that most accurately describes my emotions regarding a Romney/Ryan administration is: frightened. I’m very scared. Barack Obama recently assured the public that his opponent is a good man. I beg to differ; Mitt Romney has turned into the Grade-A goon he aspired to be as a young man, and odds are about 50/50 that he’ll be the next president of the United States.
It’s disappointing that what appears to be about half of America is so easily manipulated by their own prejudices and the well-funded agendas of the GOP that, next week, they’ll willfully ignore their own best interests in order to oppose the president and vote for a man who has said, out loud, that he doesn’t give a shit about them.
Someday I hope to cast a vote for a candidate I can stand behind with gladness in my heart. Until then, votes in opposition will continue to be the order of the day.