First I have to admit that I’ve voted once in my life, and it was for me and two other community activists that were running for the school board. I was twenty-five years old at the time. That undertaking is a long story. I would say that although it was an interesting learning experience, it’s not something I would do again.
The reason I’ve made a conscious and informed decision not to vote is pretty basic, I don’t trust the political system. It’s that simple. But why?
Good question. Beats me I was just smoking weed one day and thought it sounded cool to say: “I don’t trust the system, man.” (I’m just kidding. I haven’t smoked weed this entire millennium. Seriously it’s true.) I don’t have time to go into detail about all of the reasons that I don’t trust the political system. After all the entire liberal world is waiting desperately to find out why I’m not voting for Barack. Well maybe not the entire liberal world, I’m sure one or two of them already know why I’m not voting for Mr. Obama. So amazingly I’ve written an entire paragraph without coming close to answering the question I just posed.
OK, I’ll give it a shot. Here goes. I will try and be concise:
…I believe that politicians represent a second tier of power, far less powerful than the first tier which is made up of gigantic corporations (Think Haliburton, Walmart, Microsoft, Exxon/Mobil) and the wealthy class of individuals that control them. Therefore, I believe we are given the illusion that we have a choice of selecting the people that control our fate. Basically I’m saying that rich people are more powerful than politicians and we don’t get to vote for them…
Now for the heck of it, assume what I just said is true.
Now that answers why I don’t trust the political system but it doesn’t really address why I’m not voting. After all why not vote anyway, I mean the system exists. Doesn’t it still help to get someone on the powerful second tier that more closely represents your own beliefs? Umm… NO, but I’ll answer that in a second.
Why am I not voting for Mr. Obama, specifically? Isn’t that like rooting against Jackie Robinson? (It just dawned on me that there actually might be some people who might not know who Jackie Robinson is. I want to say Google it but I’m not going to.) First of all Mr. Obama is more than a “Black Candidate”. He is against the war in Iraq and Afghanistan; he is against the death penalty, and wire tapping and he is in favor of reparations. Wait, actually only one of those is true. He is against the Iraq War. Lucky for him it just so happens to be a time when being against the Iraq War is politically convenient.
But all of that aside, let’s face it, the guy is pretty cool. I mean he’s kind of blown the whole Bill Clinton playing the sax on Jay Leno thing out of the water. He’s been on the cover of Rolling Stone twice. One of my favorite bands, TV on the Radio, had his picture on their MySpace site in place of their own. And the man can speak. I don’t mean that in the “he’s a very articulate black man” sort of way. More like in the historical gigantic figure sort of way. Hey truth be told, I’ve been caught mesmerized by his words once or twice. But after you analyze all those words and check out his positions as I noted earlier, he’s just not all that progressive. He’s pretty moderate. And that’s kind of why people like him. He doesn’t seem like some whacko lefty like Dennis Kucinich. This is what makes him electable.
And that brings me to why I’m not voting for him. He has to play the game to get elected. He needs to say things that don’t offend the top tier of power. I mean the man counts names like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase as major contributors. Those are not exactly grassroots organizations. It is a logical assumption that he will have to enact policies that support the wishes of some of these Mega Corporations.
Ultimately the reason that I am not supporting his candidacy is that we have to play the game to. To the tune of $500 million dollars (I can’t help but think of Dr. Evil when I say that). That is the probable number that Mr. Obama will raise for his election bid, when all is said and done. That’s five hundred million dollars that could be spent on grassroots organizing to address the root causes of oppression. The money could provide anti-racism trainings, Safehouses for GLBTQ youth, workshops on sustainable inner city living and a slew of other amazing possiblities. The truth is people working at the most grassroots level make wonderful things happen with pennies on the dollar and create more positive change than any president ever has. That’s my opinion.
To elect this man it will take a whole lot of money and also human energy. And all of this to appoint the “most powerful man in the world” that has no control over the “most powerful people in the world” and has no plan in anyway shape or form to attempt to alter this basic stratification. Which means ultimately no sustainable change can take place. That’s a whole lot of energy for no sustainable change. And a gigantic distraction from the important grassroots work that true progressives exercise everyday. So no it’s not worth it even if he appears to be closer to me on the political spectrum than say Strom Thurmond. Not at this price.
And I know what some peace activists are thinking, what about Iraq? Well it’s quite possible that our good buddy G.W. will negotiate troop withdrawal for 2011 before Obama even gets in. And you can’t say definitively that Mr. Obama will not invade Iran and you can say definitively that he will escalate the conflict in Afghanistan. That doesn’t seem like a significant assurance of peace to me.
I will say that I’m convinced that Barack Obama will be the 44th President of the United States. (Barring some Spitzer/Edwards like revelation) He’s just not gonna get there with my help. I’m sure he’s pissed…
Ironically this will be the first time that I will be voting in a presidential election and no, this doesn’t mean I’m voting for John McCain… But that is for another day.