Saturday, September 01, 2012


Dilemma: A situation that requires a choice between options that are or seem equally unfavorable.
There are still more than two months to go before citizens of the USA will have to decide how to vote in the presidential election on 6 November. For me, and from what I read online for many others, it won't be an easy decision. Oh, for those who have Democrat or Republican engraved on their hearts it won't be difficult. For those who prefer to engage head over heart, in this important instance, it will be a choice between evil, lesser evil, or in some fortunate states an alternative with no chance of winning. The alternative vote has an advantage - of proclaiming that the voter has had it up to here with lesser evilism, and with mainstream media blocking all mention and discussion of alternatives. Alternative voting, some of us think, would be a tiny first step out of the mire into which this country has been led.

As of yesterday, in Oklahoma, on the ballot for for president there'll be a choice between only the "two evils", no alternative, no write-in facility. All hope of Libertarian Gary Johnson being placed on the ballot was dashed by underhand dealings of local authorities, to ensure that Gov. Johnson would not be included under either Libertarian or Americans Elect headings. The Green Party allegedly didn't meet the (strictest in the country) requirements for ballot access here. My only choices will be to vote for one of the two evils or to leave the Prez space blank and vote as liberally as possible (actually, not very liberal at all) down ticket. Result for Oklahoma is a foregone conclusion anyway in this reddest of red states - Republicans need have no fear of losing here.

I'm a comparative newcomer, probably thought by some to have no right to voice opinions on US politics, even though I'm now a US citizen. But, but...I brought all my worldly wealth to this country - admittedly not a fortune - but a reasonable sum, harvest of my own working life and the working lives of my parents. I invested it in a home here, combined with my husband's input. I consider myself to have equal rights with native-born voters to voice an opinion. I'm first to admit, however, that others have a far better grip on the US political situation, due to years of having watched it develop. With that in mind, I saved some points made in recent articles and comments at The Smirking Chimp website. These were chosen to present a brief assessment from both sides of the "how to vote 2012" debate, for those who sport no R or D engraving on their hearts.

Clips from a piece by Brent Budowsky ...Last Stand for Liberals:

Today Republicans have an enthusiasm advantage, a turnout advantage, a money advantage, a voter suppression advantage and a media advantage, which is why I warn Democrats so severely........

Given my disappointments in the Obama presidency, why do I believe that a vote for Obama and Democrats in Congress is the most urgently needed vote in my lifetime, and, I suggest, in many lifetimes? Because for those of us who stand truly in the tradition of Jack and Bobby, Martin Luther King and Cesar Chavez, the suffragettes and muckraking journalists who battled Gilded Age corruption, defenders of the earth and opponents of those who put poisoned food into the bellies of little babies, 2012 can be described as our last stand..........

If Obama is reelected with sufficient Democrats in Congress, we can continue the modest but real advances since 2009 and the preservation of 120 years of steady progress that created the great national consensus that lifted many of the poor out of poverty, built the great middle class that remains threatened by descendants of forces that hated both Roosevelts, and built what was correctly called the American Century, which is the true American exceptionalism..............This election is the last stand for liberals and Democrats. Our champion Obama is not fully our champion. Our party in Washington sounds an uncertain trumpet. But make no mistake. If Republicans win they will turn back the clock to 1890 and destroy a long legacy of progress.

On the other side of the debate:

Comment from AntiSpin beneath a piece by David Swanson titled Obamobedience

.....The Democrats will never give up their growing allegiance to the One Percent until and unless they have reason to fear that they will lose an election unless they do so, and the only way they will learn that lesson is actually to lose one.

But more important, there will never be a less dangerous time for the people to teach the Democrats that lesson. Things are not going to get better by themselves. Unless we take action, it’s going to get worse every four years, forever. The Republicans will continue their rightward march into fascism, and the Democrats will continue right on their heels. As each successive election rolls by, the threat of a victory for Republicans will become more and more dangerous than it is now.

We have no choice. We are in the position of a cancer victim who wants to go on with life as usual, living on to a comfortable old age without having to get the necessary treatment, because “the alternative is worse,” – uncomfortable surgery, painful chemotherapy, dangerous radiation treatment. But we all know that his life will not go on as usual – he will die – and in the interim his condition will keep on getting worse and worse for as long as he puts off those painful treatments.

We are fools if we think that we can avoid the fearful consequences of rejecting the reelection of a Democratic president. And those consequences will become more and more brutal the longer we wait. Every time we reelect a Democratic president “because the alternative is worse” we will get a more Republican “Democratic” presidency, and the Republicans themselves will go on becoming more and more Republican (read “fascist”) as well.

The sooner we get on with the treatment, no matter how painful it will be, the better, because it’s going to be a hell of a lot more painful four years from now, and ever more painful eight years, twelve years, sixteen years from now. Or we can put our fingers in our ears, shut our eyes and go on humming “nah na nah na nah, nah!” until our very civilization is flushed down the drain forever.

AND A comment from HC Jack Shaftoe a comment beneath piece by "mewkitty" titled If you're not voting for Obama
Okay, so "when" will it be time to start moving off the dime we are stuck on?

Any argument rooted purely in "fear" and speculation of "avoiding a potentially worse" situation is irrational and little more than avoidance behavior. At some point the masses who continue to "vote for the lesser of evils" instead of starting the slow and painful process of shifting support to "alternatives" will come face to face with a traumatic national situation, scrambling around trying to figure out, "How could we have let things go so far without having made any attempt to initiate change"?

Shifting facing the music ever forward into the future, frozen in the headlights, avoiding the only possible rational alternative (shifting power to alternative coalitions), is deadly and assures no possibility for any kind of change whatsoever.

It is perfectly rational to acknowledge that given two choices one is less desirable than another but irrational, irresponsible, and delusional to believe that this is the only alternative. Such rationalizing based on fear of short term impacts guarantees that over the long term continued decay and a fixed path with absolutely no possibility for a change in path.

Locked into "lesser of two evils" is nothing more than fear and capitulation or more simply put, cowardice.


"Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do."
~~ Wendell Berry.


♥ Sonny ♥ said...

I'd like to preface my comment by saying I am a reasonably positive person and I truly believe in 1 persons ability to change their personal universe and manifest their world. so with that said...

Many of us sit and shake our heads in amazement and our fists in frustration, while not acknowledging
or accepting that WE -all of us- thru all time-since the birth of this country, have TAUGHT these folks how to act, who they must be-and what they must do , in order to be elected.
We say we dislike the lies and yet, if Truth is spoken, they have no chance to get on the ballot,much less get any votes.
We have the 2 Evils, because lies, manipulation, misrepresentation and personal agendas are what has won in the past. We've taught them by our actions, how to treat us and what we really want,so saying we want truth is our greatest Lie and they know it.
Jimmy Carter was an Honest, straight talking person who told us we MUST cease our overconsumption of natural resourses ,we need to conserve and yes maybe even SUFFER a tiny bit- like be willing to wear a sweater in the house. We must be willing to pay for american made products in order to keep our factories//industries thriving and folks employed.. None of these things did we wish to do. We are SPOILED ROTTEN on every level and our need for Immediate and Total satisfaction has cost us more dearly than we will ever know.
So Out with honest Jimmy and In with the Greatest Liar ever elected. A decent actor-nice looking fellow- always a smile and Positive Promises, he knew were untrue and we were THRILLED.
To this day people WILL NOT accept the truth of that Prestindency. In fact, their memory tells them he was Mr. Wonderful.. The actor, the liar, the great manipulator- Ronald Reagan..
He told us what we wanted to hear and the folks elected since him have watched where that will get them and they follow suit.
If we want Honest People in office it is US who must teach them to be so.
thanks for allowing me to comment.

James Higham said...

All hope of Libertarian Gary Johnson being placed on the ballot was dashed by underhand dealings of local authorities, to ensure that Gov. Johnson would not be included under either Libertarian or Americans Elect headings.

They know - they're perfectly well aware how people would go, given a free vote. You guys have the best system in the world ... except for the party politics

Twilight said...

Sonny ~~ Hi! Thanks for your input - I enjoyed reading it.
What you say resonates with me, though I have no direct experience beyond G.W.Bush's 2nd term.

I do see certain generations of USA-ans as being "spoiled rotten" as you put it. :-)

I was surprised at the lower cost of living here (as against in the UK) when I first arrived - eg. eating out, property prices (in non-premium locations anyway).

I've come to realise that there's a reason and a downside: catering staff are paid slave wages and have to depend on tips; taxes are not high enough to establish a proper publicly run health service - even Medicare for senior citizens isn't "free" it has to be supplemented by private insurance in order to be fully covered - that wouldn't be so if workers' contributions were higher to begin with.

Taxes need to be higher on everybody, and there should be no loopholes for the wealthy - sorry but that's the truth. It'd still take time for effects to filter through, and discomfort and sacrifice would be involved.
Of course, not many would accept that unless forced by circumstance.

The luxury people in the USA came to expect came at a price which is now becoming clear.

Yes, the people have taught the powers that be how much they will take, and to what what they'll best respond. Now the reins have been taken by corporations, bankers and vested interests. It has been allowed to happen, the people allowed it. I can see that. The media are a lot to blame.... they could have steered things differently, but they also have been bought.

I don't know the answer, or if there is one outside of revolution, which isn't likely at least in the near future. We can act in small ways, and hope it registers.... somewhere.

Twilight said...

James Higham ~~ In theory it may be good, or it may have been good when it was dreamed up more than 200 years ago. In practice, in 2012, in my opinion it stinks, James.

Yes, they know exactly what would happen if the people were to be given back proper democracy.

Rossa said...

"...given back proper democracy."

Maybe that's the mindset that undermines us all. They will not give anything back as it hasn't been taken. The people have given up our democracies (UK and US) by doing nothing to stop Them, for a quiet and easy life, which has turned out to be anything but. So we have to take it back one way or another. Question is which way?

Democracy means "rule of the people". Problem is it has been taken by Them to mean to "rule (over) the people" not that the people will rule Them. Which is why our respective governments don't consider themselves answerable or responsible to the people they were meant to serve. Therefore we don't live in a democractic system anymore. I'm sure we all have our own opinions about what it is we have now.

The debate then is where we go from here and how? However, debate is futile if the mindset stays the same and somehow we expect Them to 'give' up.

Rossa said...

PS. Both David Cameron and George Osborne, our PM and Chancellor, were booed by the people at the Paralympic Games when it was announced that they were presenting medals. Osborne faced it in the main arena holding 80,000 people, Cameron was in the Aquacentre for the swimming.

Twilight said...

Rossa ~~
I think democracy HAS been taken (at least in the US) Rossa - taken very, very gradually over a long period. Allowed to be taken - yes, agreed. Caught and nipped in the bud decades ago things could have changed for the better, but people were lulled and almost hypnotised by the thought of "The American Dream" . Whether it all happened deliberately, or almost accidentally, is hard to say.

I think you have a far better chance of changing things in the UK than we have here. Partly due to the relative size of the country, partly to the (as I remember it) sturdily independent and determined attitude of Brits, when they are sufficiently aroused and annoyed. Different breed.

Here, only a national emergency of huge proportions would bring about change of any size, even then it might be the wrong kind of change. Or revolution, of course and it's not time for that yet, things would need to be much worse for more people.

The size of this country and the sharp divide in attitudes is a major stumbling block. Getting corporate money out of elections and politics in general would be a big step here towards making things more reasonable - but it's not going to happen. Those who would need to put such a change into law are the same ones who would benefit most from NOT doing so. Kind of Catch 22?