What if you like peace, don’t approve of torture, don’t like debt, and don’t think corporations should be above the law?

Well, then you should vote for a 3rd party candidate, and NOT for McCain or Obama.

I know I am going out on a limb here given that, from what I can tell, the majority of the progressive/left blogosphere supports Obama. I also understand that the “spoiler myth” is pretty entrenched in US society and most voters feel voting 3rd party is equivalent to throwing your vote away. Yet, if we continue to buy into this MSM manufactured myth, we only make it so. Is voting for the less of two evils (i.e. either Republican or Democrat) really our best option? I think not.

I myself generally try not to wade too deep into electoral politics. This is ironic given that I am fascinated with the broader notion of politics – with the various systems of power, privilege, and oppression that shape our world – pretty much 24/7.

Want to pick apart white privilege and the insidious ways it infects every stratum of our society? I’m there. Want to talk about the vast and ingrained inequality that exists between the sexes/genders? I can go on for days.

But, want to discuss McCain verses Obama, Republican verses Democrat? Well, sorry, but my eyes glaze over a bit. I get a bit bored. I start to feel like I have ridden this merry-go-round before.

I am anxious for the endless campaign/elections season to be over. I am jaded by too many rigged elections, by ubiquitous propaganda, by a media that isn’t just asleep, but is in a zombie state. I am tired of false promises of change. I find it sad to admit, but it seems too much like yet another elephant verses donkey show, a circus to entertain the high fructose corn syrup munching masses.

I realize there is lots of hope surrounding Obama – and I think he is by FAR the better choice than McCain. I think his candidacy speaks to a profound and crucially symbolic shift, to, as his refrain echoes, a CHANGE. Yet, the change is not enough when it is a change still reverberating with war cries. The change is not enough when it is politics as usual, corporations first as usual, the same old one party animal parading as a two party system as usual. I am tempted to vote for him, even though his collusion with too many of the very scary things about our current system worries me a great deal. I am tempted because he and Biden are the “lesser evil” in comparison to McCain and Palin. The potential of those two nut-jobs in the White House give me the creeps in a big way. Yet, I don’t want to vote strategically. I want to vote for the candidate that best represents what I see as the way out of this miasma of war, greed, corruption, and unchecked power.

So, I have gotten here in a rather roundabout way, but, suffice it to say, I declare my independence from the one party system. And, while I do not agree with all the political stances of all the five third party candidates, I do agree with the 4 policies they jointly endorsed at a September 10th press conference in D.C.

In short, these 4 policies are as follows

1. The Iraq war must end ASAP. All war propaganda must end and our threats of nuclear first strikes must cease. (Or, in other words, let’s stop acting like an empire.)
2. Civil liberties must be protected, the Patriot Act should be repealed, and torture/spying in not acceptable. Executive power shouldn’t be absolute and signing statements need to recognized for what they are – unconstitutional.
3. Debt is not good. There should be no increase in the national debt. (This begs me to ask, why are we as citizens expected to pay our debts yet our government is allowed carte blanche to run sky high debts in the name of illegal wars and corporatist imperialism?)
4. The Federal Reserve and the corporatized, privatized banking system that controls our economy needs to change. Our economy should not be controlled by a privately owned bank ran by unnamed private shareholders.

For the longer version of these four policies, see here.

These principles seem so basic, yet they are not on the agendas of either major party ticket. Instead, we are distracted with trumped up fears and plays to religious fanaticism. Undoubtedly the issues that are being highlighted are crucial issues – for example, a right to control one’s reproductive capacity is integral to justice – but, the cynic in me knows that this issue is not being paraded about because it is considered important. Rather, it is one that can win votes – can get the anti-choicers in a “we must save the virgins” voting frenzy.

We are all, to a certain extent I think, being played. And, if one of those allowed to play the game wins (O’Bama or McCain) it will be the same old game with perhaps a few good tweaks to the rules of O wins, and many scary tweaks if M wins.

Ask yourself, why are independent candidates so zealously kept from press conferences, debates, and media coverage in general? (For more on the ‘invites only’ way our televised debates run, see here.) How many people know McKinney and Nader are candidates? How many realize each of them would have the possibility to win the presidency given the rules of the electoral system? Not many. Guess why… Because the MSM doesn’t cover them, they are not news, they are not a blip on the conscious of the majority of voters. Why? Well, because they really want to change things, that is why.

I do think – to be fair – that Obama wants to change things too. But, not enough things. Not on a global scale. Making change here (in parts) of the USA is not enough. I am sorry, no matter how much your achievements mean, no matter how great of a speaker you are, no matter how brilliant and likable you seem, I cannot throw away my vote on a person insisting escalating war is a good idea. If voting for peace (via voting for McKinney) is throwing my vote away, well, then call me trash.

13 thoughts on “What if you like peace, don’t approve of torture, don’t like debt, and don’t think corporations should be above the law?”

  1. Thanks for this very insightful post. You make a lot of great points, that I couldn’t agree with more. I’m registered Green myself, and I voted for McKinney in the primary,… but, sadly, I’ll be voting for Obama in November.

    It’s a shame that I’m a slave to the two-party system. I’m literally terrified of what McPalin could do to this country, so I’m voting for the lesser of two evils–Not that Obama is all that bad. I agree with a good portion of his agenda. But to me, a Democrat isn’t much different from a Republican. If I can just get my Green Party cohorts to lay off the pot for one friggin’ day, maybe we can one day mobilize and make a real difference.

    In case you’re curious, here’s my blog: culturepress.wordpress.com

  2. Thanks for reading and commenting!
    I can understand you are terrified of McPalin. Me too!
    Not all greenies are potheads, but I catch your drift!
    If only all the people who agreed with the four policies outlined at the 3rd party conference voted independent, Nader or McKinney would have a real chance. But, alas, only nerds like me who watch cspan seem to know about the independents. Many I talk too — many progressives even — don’t even realize Nader and McKinney are running!

  3. Hey,

    As a Brit, I new there must be other candidates, but had no idea who any of them were (actually that’s a tiny bit of a lie – I think I have read one other blog post on someone or other – clearly it stuck with me!).

    Obviously it works pretty differently in the UK, but I live in London and we recently had our mayoral elections. As we got to put first and second choices down, it would have been much harder to throw your vote away. I’m rambling a bit now, but the first elections for mayor of London, I think in 2000, were kind of interesting. I don’t know how well they will have been covered on your side of the Atlantic, but I’ll be brief regardless. The two options for Labour party candidate were Frank Dobson and Ken Livinstone; Dobson was selected, so Ken ran as an independent candidate and one (I feel like I should be able to say that more eloquently – my apologies). I know it’s not specifically relevant, because the systems are different, but it’s worth remembering, I think.

  4. Hello over across the pond and thanks for reading.
    I lived in England for 7 years and felt what I learned of UK elections/campaigning put our system to shame. There was no lengthy/big budget campaigns like here in the US where becoming elected has become a practice in celebrity/big money. I didn’t know about the first and second choice voting options, but this would be a great idea. However, with electronic voting being what it is, I don’t have much faith in our system in any case. Hard to trust machines that can be reprogrammed within 30 seconds by engineers to give a different vote count…
    I never got to vote in UK elections as an American living there, but your process seemed fairer, less prone to corruption, and altogether more sane. I miss things over there on your side of the pond.

  5. To get a deeper understanding of Obama’s position on foreign wars one needs to consider the forces bending his ear. Zbigniew Brzezinski was national security adviser under Carter, but was largely at odds with Carter. Zbig believed in expanding the cold war and funding guerrilla activites in Vietnam to provoke Chinese response. In 1997 he wrote the Grand Chessboard which is a hawkish view of imposing US imperialism over Russia though developing An Afghanistan resistance. So why do I mention Zbig? Because he is now foreign policy adviser to the Obama, a relative foreign policy novice. Obama is clearly a puppet to the masters. The fed reserve, corporate lobbyists and military industrial complex and AIPAC have easy pickings.

  6. Until recently I thought you were literally a two-party country since people do talk of voting for the lesser of two evils. How are there five third party candidates? Wouldn’t this make there be seven parties? I’m confused.

    Lately I’ve become particularly aware that as far as democracies go, Canada is not that democratic. However, lately I also have hope. I and about 9% of Canadians are Green Party supporters and very excited that she will be in the debate. (Did you know Canada is in an election right now? Voting is Oct 14th.) I really hope she (we also have a woman leading the Green Party) can bring some attention to the lack of decorum in Parliament and lack of democracy in politics.
    In my eyes, Obama could bring your country to where a lot of other countries are already–somewhere with universal healthcare, parental leave, better education…compared to now his vision sounds wonderful. However, when I look at your four points it seems his vision is also lacking. Reminds me of the liberals in Canada. I think they could improve Canada or at least put us back to where we were 10-15 years ago (which would be good). But the Greens? They seem to have real goals and steps to accomplish those goals for problems like AIDS, poverty, lack of public transport, unequal pay, high tuition, too much time working and not enough with families. They truly seem to understand and have solutions for problems faced by me, my community, my country and the world and so that is why I’ll vote Green.

  7. Canada has a parliamentary system and has multiple parties. Right now we have four main parties, PC, Liberals, NDP, PQ. The Green party is now starting to make some headway. Even with all of the choices that we have we still get the lesser of evil ideology every election. Our last one it was vote Liberal if you don’t want a PC majority which completely screwed the NDP (our labor party) THe idea that one throws a vote away is a tool used by major parties to keep them in government. Never in my life will a vote PC however fear of them will not stop me from voting my conscience and I think as voters we need to start taking this approach. We cannot have change if we continually flip between the same parties who repeat the same lies each election season. Our election was just announced and I think we go to the polls on OCT 15, but whatever the day, the name I pick will be the woman/man in my riding that I feel best represents my needs.

  8. I vote third party with some frequency.

    However, as a person obsessed with civil rights and the position of women and minorities in this country, I’d never risk “throwing away my vote” in this particular milestone election.

    I think we owe it to the oppressed classes to vote for any halfway decent minority or female, and Obama is much more than halfway decent imho.

  9. Xham,
    Thanks for pointing out that one of the puppet masters is Zbig. Another is Jason Furman, Obama’s econ adviser, who is a pro-WalMart, pro-corporation guru. Looks like the chessboard is not ripe for change, as O’s campaign claims. Rather, as you suggest, “The fed reserve, corporate lobbyists and military industrial complex and AIPAC have easy pickings.” Yet, these puppeteers have not been able to pull the strings of McKinney/Nader — is this perhaps at least partly why these two are written off as ‘spoilers’?

    Lyndsay,
    Thanks for your comment.
    The point you make about so-called liberals wanting to make some important changes yet not envisioning the mmore expansive changes called for by the Greens (and other independents) is crucial. This goes to those who say “well, but Obama is better than McCain.” Of course he is — but his vision, as you indicate, is not progressive enough. Plus, as Xham points out, he is being controlled via powerful (and very shady) forces — ie AIPAC, pro-imperialists, etc.

    Renee,
    Wonderfully put!!!

    “The idea that one throws a vote away is a tool used by major parties to keep them in government.” Yes! Exactly!

    As you note, “We cannot have change if we continually flip between the same parties who repeat the same lies each election season.” No, indeed we can’t, even though the word ‘change’ is being thrown around left and right here in the US.

    Shae,

    The notion that you are “throwing away your vote” is exactly what those in power (the Dems and Repubs) want you to believe, though.

    I, as a person also obsessed with social justice, will not vote for someone because s/he is the lesser of two evils or merely ‘halfway decent.’

    And, if you feel you “owe” your vote to someone of the “oppressed classes” (although I question this line of argument) why not vote for someone all the way decent who fits your oppressed criteria – Cynthia McKinney.

  10. “High fructose corn syrup munching masses”!!! Excellent. = )

    For me I’d have to see what the third parties are doing vis a vis health care–I wonder why that wasn’t one of the four points that they agreed on? Obviously I am as much in the dark on those other parties as many other people–a shame. Off to google. . . –CC

  11. Open the debates! First one is Friday!

    I’m not a blog-bot. I know you care about the democracy of our government, so we need to get this done. There are 6 Presidential candidates this year all of which are qualified and capable of winning, so why are there only 2 people on the debate! Bigotry, two party bias! Let’s flood the email inbox and the phone lines with: Open the Debates.

    It takes 5 mins. Please help me make a difference . Below is a script but please feel free to appropriately modify it to support your candidate .

    Step one:

    Call Barack Obama at 866-675-2008.
    Hit 6 to speak with a campaign volunteer.
    Once connected, politely deliver the following message:

    Hi, my name is …

    I was wondering if Senator Obama, being a believer in equal opportunity and equal rights, could insist that [Candidate Name: Bob Barr, Ralph Nader, Cynthia Mckinney, Chuck Baldwin] and other ballot qualified third party candidates be included in the upcoming Presidential debates?
    After all, [Candidate Name] is on [Nader and Barr 45, Mckinney and Baldwin more than 30] state ballots.
    And [he/she’s] polling well nationwide. And he could help Senator Obama challenge the corporate Republicans.
    True, [Candidate Name] would critique Senator Obama for his corporate ties also. But isn’t that what democracy is about? Could you please leave this message for the campaign manager? Thank you.

    Step two:

    E-mail Janet Brown jb@debates.org, the executive director of the Commission on Presidential Debates.

    Here’s a sample e-mail:

    Dear Janet Brown:

    Greetings. You must be busy. Preparing for the first Presidential debate this Friday. So, I won’t take much of your time. Just wanted to let you know that the American people were not born yesterday. We know the deal. Take that little private corporation that you run. Controlled by the two corporate parties. And funded by big business. For the purpose of excluding independent minded candidates. Friday, two Wall Street candidates are scheduled to be in the ring. Barack Obama and John McCain. The one candidate who represents the American people, Main Street, if you will, will be on the outside looking in. So, here’s a simple request. Drop your exclusionary restrictions. And let [Candidate Name] into the debates.
    It will be good for your conscience. Good for the American people. (I believe it was The League of Women Voters that called your corporatized debates “campaign-trail charades devoid of substance, spontaneity, and honest answers to tough questions.”) And good for democracy. Let the American people have a real debate for once. Main Street vs. Wall Street.

    Thank you.

    Signed
    your name.

  12. “And, if you feel you “owe” your vote to someone of the “oppressed classes” (although I question this line of argument) why not vote for someone all the way decent who fits your oppressed criteria – Cynthia McKinney.”

    Because Obama can get elected this year, while Cynthia McKinney will not. This is not republican/democrat propaganda, this is fact. If everyone in the US voted their conscience without worrying about “throwing away” a vote, there still wouldn’t be enough votes for McKinney.

    Voting for someone like McKinney during another election year, however, is something I often do.

    Also, I consider Obama all the way decent.

  13. Oh — and I sort of forgot to be as complete in the above comment as I meant to be. Getting elected is worth more than getting votes, because it will result in the minority person actually being allowed to exercise some of their ideas, rather than being given a symbolic gesture of approval. A bird in the hand, and all that.

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