In the 2008 election, I will donate directly to and vote in the primaries for the few actually progressive candidates for the various Democratic nominations. I do not expect any of them to win. In the general election, I'll be faced with Lantos (Representative), Feinstein (Senator) and Clinton, Obama or Edwards (President).
All of these candidates support the continuing occupation of Iraq, the outright theft of its oil, and a war of aggression against Iran. These are all profoundly evil and immoral positions, held by profoundly evil and immoral people and I cannot endorse them, nor can I endorse the party itself for presenting these evil people as candidates.
The counter-argument is: If many Democrats felt this way, one or more Republicans might win; as bad as the Democrats are, the Republicans are definitely worse. This argument is sound, and the fact that I'm writing about this issue with the intention of persuading other progressive Democrats to withhold their votes and money from the party and leading candidates makes the antecedent relevant.
The argument is sound by itself, but it ignores a more fundamental premise. It is not my job to do what is better for the country; it is my job to do what is best for myself.
The notion that I have a duty to vote for what is best for the country is incoherent: If everyone adopted this objectivist view, there would be no individual subjective decisions in the first place to determine what was actually "better" for the country: A country is not a person, it does not have any preferences of its own; thus there are only statistical measures of the preferences of the individual citizens. On this basis, the duty to do what is best for the country is being advocated by those who are by definition not doing what's best for the country: They are doing what is best for themselves. The duty itself is therefore hypocritical and incoherent.
Neither outcome, an evil Democrat or a very evil Republican, is at all good for myself. For almost thirty years, I've been asked to vote for the lesser of two evils. And look where it's gotten me: A situation where the Democratic candidates all support the occupation and exploitation of a sovereign nation. A situation where two of the three as sitting Senators failed to even try to stop the destruction of habeas corpus. The party cannot impeach a President with a lower approval rating than Nixon, manifestly guilty not only of violating federal law, the Constitution, but who has also committed crimes against humanity.
I'm not being asked anymore to choose between bad and less-than-perfect. I'm now being asked to choose between utterly evil and almost utterly evil.
The madness stops now.
Do you personally want to occupy Iraq, steal their oil, kill hundreds of thousands of Iranians, live in a police state, and maintain absolute corporate control of the lying propaganda which passes for the commercial media in this country? If that's what you really want, vote for the mainstream Democratic candidates.
If that's not what you want, if the utter moral monstrousness of our turgid, phallic military occupation offends your conscience, if you're tired of being lied to, exploited and harassed by the corporate plutocracy, then stop voting for the lesser of two evils and start voting for the good. You may fail, but better to try and fail than not try at all.
Even if such action means that the Republicans win, more unified in their naked evil, then so be it: That's who we are. Better naked evil than evil cloaked in lies and bullshit.