Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Why I didn't vote for Barack Obama part 730 - Lame Duck Edition

So if you've never read my blog before, the first thing you need to know is that this commentary is NOT a pro-Sarah Palin, pro-Tea Party treatise on the Obama Administration's evil plans to turn the United States into a socialist state. The second thing you should know is that I explained why I wasn't planning on voting for Obama here and here.  I also wrote why I didn't vote for him here and here.

Consider this my Lame Duck 2010 re-affirmation of why I didn't vote for Obama. 

So, I hate to say I told you so, but...

I told you so. I told you so. I told you so.  I told you so. I told you so. I told you so.

Wow that was fun.  I think I'll do it again...

I told you so. I told you so. I told you so. I told you so. I told you so. I told you so.

Ok.  I think I got that out of my system.  What exactly did I tell you?  I told you that we would still be mired in these awful wars in the middle east.  I told you that Corporations were more powerful than political leaders (If you don't agree go see Inside Job) and I told you that we were on a never-ending seesaw.  Do you disagree?

The country is still at War.  One of the important reasons to vote for Obama was the suggestion that we needed to cast this vote for peace.  Not all of his supporters subscribed to this idea but there was certainly a vocal mass of  people in the peace community claiming that a vote for Obama was a vote for peace.  The idea was that the Bush Administration, took us down this ugly road and that we desperately needed a "progressive" voice to get us out of these wars.  The idea was that, there are children dying because of the wars in the Middle East and regardless of political leanings, it was our duty to vote for Obama because he would save the lives of thousands of civilians by bringing the wars to an end.  The problem with that philosophy was that it was dead wrong.

Obama was opposed to the War in Iraq but never said he wouldn't complete the mission over there.  Yes the combat operations have officially been concluded  but the war was moving in this direction at the end of the Bush Presidency.  Iraq is still unstable.  For nearly eight months the country went without a coalition government.  The possibility of a civil war in Iraq still exists.

And of course there is Afghanistan.  The conflict was escalated under the Obama Administration. The U.S. government just deployed tanks to the conflict for the first time.  My definition of peace does not involve sending tanks to a 9 year old conflict that's never seen them before.  The craziest part of all of this is that Obama said all along that he would do this and some people just ignored that.  So I was right about the wars in Middle East.  One point for me!

And how about those corporations?

Remember when I said corporations have more power than politicians.  If you remember in January, the Supreme Court ruled that Corporations should not be regulated for their political spending.  Corporations are still limited in direct contributions but can spend whatever they want on indirect costs.  So if you see a commercial that says paid for by Citizens That Think Barack Obama is a Socialist (CTTBOS -Not a real organization as far as I know.) make sure you note that Exxon Mobil or Morgan Stanely can contribute whatever they want to CTTBOS. In case you were wondering, this past election, 83.7 million dollars was spent by these groups.  Some of you might be thinking... "How can you blame Obama for that? He blasted the Supreme Court for this decision".  My response to you is to quote the Old Jewish Man played by Eddie Murphy in Coming to America: "AHAH!"  MY point exactly.  It is not Obamas fault that the Supreme Court made this election altering decision but it does highlight my point that corporations are more powerful than presidents.

If for some insane reason you still believe that the President is more powerful that the CEO's of the wealthiest corporations than do as I said earlier and watch the movie Inside Job.  You will be introduced to many slimy financial wizards like Larry Summers.  Who's he?  The former president of Harvard, the former Secretary of the Treasury under Bill Clinton, and Obama's chief economic adviser.  He also, once confused a spoken word album by Cornell West as a "rap" album and called it an "embarrassment" to Harvard.  He also once hypothesized that the reason women are underrepresented in high end science and engineering jobs because they naturally have a "lower aptitude".  If that wasn't enough, he also received a vote of no-confidence from the faculty of Harvard but I digress (See Wikipedia).  I'm not an economist but if you do watch the movie Inside Job, you will see the case be made that people like Summers were directly responsible for the financial collapse of 2008.  Please tell me, where is the change?  I want to know.  What is so damn different?  Obama's financial team, are some of the same players that got us into this economic mess.  Watch the movie and tell me that Corporations aren't the ones running this country.  Two points for me!

Lastly and ultimately, we are on a never-ending seesaw.  The democrats are in power, the republicans are in power.  Over and over.  If you get super excited because the Dems win, just remember that the Repubs will be back.  The system works well that way.  We are made to believe that we have a choice.  That we are empowered and have say in the power structure.  The primary problem with this is the premise that the Republicans and Democrats are so different.  I do not, accept the idea that because they differ in certain ways that this stands as proof that they are vastly different.  If I own a Black Range Rover and you own a Pink Lexus we might believe that our cars are completely different.  But they are both motor vehicles and they both cost over 40 G's brand new.  The vast majority of people can't afford either.  There is a world of political ideas and I don't believe in the entire spectrum of political thought, that Dems and Repubs represent the exact opposite sides.  I believe they are in a partnership that runs the country together and never challenges the power of the wealthy.  If you can buy my idea that the two parties are in partnership, you might see my point that we will never really make change by voting for either of them.  This is why I don't vote for either party.
Never Ending Seesaw, three points for me!

I'm not judging people who vote, I'm critiquing people that believe we will be able to achieve a radical transformation in our society by electing any candidate.  I believe that fundamental change has only happened in this country when people demanded it, not through the ballot box but in spite of it.  The Civil Rights struggle has nothing to do with LBJ.  Civil Rights is the result of the blood sweat and tears of millions of people demanding a different nation.  The political system, fought this change tooth and nail and eventually caved because it had no choice.  Women's right to vote, the ending of slavery, and the organizing of labor, only came to pass because of the committed individuals that insisted and never accepted less.  The system eventually acquiesced not because of votes, because of unbeatable human energy that made resistance futile.  (Yes I just quoted The Borg from Star Trek)  I do not believe that Queer rights today are a result of any legislation.  In fact I believe that LGBTQ people have struggled against the political system for decades and now find opportunistic politicians willing to capitalize on "Gay Marriage" or "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in hopes of maintaining power.  Any political vote or signed bill that promotes any progressive  ideal exist only as a formality when people are unwilling to accept less.  At this point, the votes are almost irrelevant.

So in closing, most of you are scared to death of Sarah Palin, I am too.  And just the thought of a Sarah Palin Presidency is enough to get you do dust off those "Hope" signs.  I don't blame you.  All I'm saying is there will eventually be a conservative republican that scares you, back in the Oval Office.  The partnership the Dems have with the Repubs demands it.  I'm not saying that you shouldn't go out and cast a vote for the lesser of two evils, I'm saying that the BILLION DOLLARS (I Still feel like Dr. Evil when I say that) and MILLIONS OF HOURS that it takes to elect the lesser evil, could be better spent working on a grassroots level to insist on the changes we want to see.


  1. For the best critique's of Obama (and a lot of other important matters) I always look to US death row political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal's writings. Here are a few really great pieces that throw a few more points for Victorio's team:

    Obama Post Imperial?
    Obama: Clinton With A Tan
    Is Obama’s Victory Ours?

  2. And if you don't feel like clicking on those links here's my favorite quote by Mumia on this issue:

    Politics is the art of making people believe that they are in power when in fact, they have none. It is a measure of how dire is the hour that they’ve passed the keys to the kingdom to a Black man. As in many American cities, Black Mayors were let in when the treasuries were almost barren, and tax bases were almost at rock-bottom. With the nation’s manufacturing base also a thing of history, amidst the socioeconomic wreckage of globalization, with foreign affairs in shambles, the rulers reach for a pretty, brown face to front for the Empire. ‘Real change that you could believe in’ would be an end to Empire, and an end to wars for corporate greed, not just a change of the shade of the political managers. That change, I’m afraid, is still to come.