TCBH! Election Issue, Part II: Why I'm Voting For Barack Obama
For an ordinary American these days, there isn’t much one can do to affect the direction of the federal government of the United States. Much of what our leaders do with that government -- especially the more and more secret military and surveillance activities symbolized by the Pentagon -- exists beyond the realm of real change.
One very small power a citizen retains in his or her public life is the vote. The problem, of course, is that critical issues are not discussed in the mainstream media where the national political dialogue occurs. For instance, you can’t use the term “class,” you can’t use the phrase “global warming” and you certainly can’t use the term “imperialism.” They are embargoed terms. And anything you cannot talk about and discuss in an effective manner is difficult or impossible to change.
As one soon learns in the journalism business, a national issue has to become a Democratic-Republican “pissing contest” before the mainstream will even touch it. Then it becomes a circus of who’s up and who’s down. So our imperial military-industrial complex -- absurdly lumped under the euphemism “defense” -- is discussed only by out-of-the-mainstream publications like This Can’t Be Happening and by third party candidates.
My more revolutionary friends, thus, see voting for President Obama as tantamount to selling out to the beast. I understand how they feel. While I’m as much a red-blooded American citizen as anyone and while I feel many Americans are good people, I’m thoroughly disgusted with the leadership in this country and the steady rightward drift over the past 30 plus years.
This feeling began for me when I came home from doing my service as part of the international war crime called the Vietnam War. I went to college and then started a career in journalism. Along came Ronald Reagan and his Shining City On a Hill. He preached the line that there was no “malaise” in America, and too many Americans ate it up like a herd of hungry cattle.
The joke going around these days is that Richard Nixon would be to the left of Barack Obama. It’s really not a joke; it's true. The joke is on the American people and what could have been. Nixon’s Watergate era was ironically a much more liberal and constitutional climate than the fear-based, post-9/11 militarized culture we live in now. As one looks back, each Republican administration from Nixon on has gone farther to the right than the last. As the current incredibly dishonest campaign makes clear, a Romney-Ryan administration would continue that slippage and would mean a return to 19th Century Social Darwinism as a national reality.
Certainly Barack Obama has been a disappointment, especially in the area of ratcheting back the post-9/11 Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld excesses of a highly malleable and rubberized Constitution. And it’s virtually a certainty four more years of Obama will not produce the progressive change we left-leaning citizens would like to see.