Thursday, May 08, 2008

I am not a Democrat

Since I was 18 years old, the top criteria I've used to decide my vote has been abortion rights and by extension feminism, and racial civil rights. If a candidate or party does not unequivocally support both they do not get my vote. Period. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I've voted for the Democratic party candidate in every general election. I added sexual orientation civil rights to this deal-breaker list in the 90's. (Yeah, I was late to the game on this one. Sue me.)

I don't know that I can vote Democratic any more.

As I've said before, I'm no fan of Clinton. I don't know how I would have voted if the Democratic primaries had been run just on the issues: I really can't tell the difference between Obama's political bullshit and Clinton's. I think both of them would have made fine Republican candidates in 1964. [a grudging tip of the hat to fatuous idiot Andrew Sullivan].

Some of my important values have never been shared by any candidate, Democratic or Republican: socialism (which is just the idea that we have an active obligation to see to the basic health and well-being of all our citizens, not just the ones we like), civil-rights libertarianism, anti-imperialism and anti-exceptionalism. The Democratic candidates have typically been less bad (I'm happy I didn't have to choose between Johnson and Goldwater), but less bad is still, you know, bad.

But today in 2008, the overt, explicit and egregious misogyny [h/t to The Apostate] in the Democratic primary campaign and commentary burns my fucking shorts. It's not just one or two retards; most of the media, and a nontrivial part of the so-called liberal and progressive blogosphere has participated this misogyny. And Obama himself and his campaign are complicit, in just the same sense that he has been complicit in the Iraq war by not doing everything in his personal and official power to end it.

Normally, I would say that if I had supported either Clinton or Obama in the primaries, I would vote for whomever secured the nomination. (And I understand that party nomination is not exclusively a matter of popular vote.) But if I'd seen overt racism in the campaign, and seen Clinton's complicity by silence, I would not vote for her in the general election. Racism is a deal-breaker. Likewise, misogyny is a deal-breaker. So is support for the Iraq war. So is homophobia.

I've compromised on almost everything. The Democratic party has actively supported a devil-take-the-hindmost corporatist plutocracy. The Democratic party has actively supported the war in Iraq. The Democratic party has actively supported the erosion of our civil liberties. I've compromised so much so often that sometimes I feel like I'm just "rooting for the shirts."

And I can't even root for the shirts any more. The whole point of opposing political parties is for each party to exploit and punish the other's mistakes, excesses and incompetence. And the Democratic party has failed to do even that. If the Democratic party wins the presidency and/or a congressional majority, they will have done so in spite of failing to punish the Republican party for the egregious and monstrous excesses of the Bush administration, literally the worst presidential administration in the history of this country, and they will leave the batshit-crazy fucktards in the Republican party strong and well-placed to undermine and harass the Democratic party government. And I'm not sure the Democratic party will even win, with or without my support.

The only possible reason I can think of to vote for either Clinton or Obama would be that both are less crazy (or less in thrall to the nutjobs) than McCain. That's the best I can say about either of the Democratic candidates' politics.

But a deal-breaker is a deal-breaker. Clinton's support for the Iraq war is a deal-breaker. Obama's failure to actively oppose the Iraq war comes pretty damn close, but the misogyny he's exploited definitely does the job, as does his homophobia.

(I find the whole Wright controversy completely retarded. Wright's political opinions — his religion and the his opinion on origin of AIDS excepted, but I understand where he's coming from — are closer to my own than any of the candidates'. If I believed in God, then yes, "God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human." Condemning a public figure as "narcissistic" for speaking his own mind and his own opinions when he has an opportunity and invitation to do so is moronically hypocritical. And that's from the liberals. Everyone gets to speak; we then talk about the content, not the privilege to speak. Read your fucking J. S. Mill, people.)

If I (and others like me) don't actually vote for the Democratic nominee, McCain has a greater chance of winning. I understand that completely; magic fairies are not going to guarantee a good government. But there comes a time when you just can't patch the system any more, when you can't put out fires faster than they're starting. There comes a time when the best you can do is cowboy/cowgirl up, let the disaster run its course, and rebuild once the dust settles. I won't make my final decision until I step into the voting booth in November, but right now I think that's the best we can hope for.

I don't see that electing either Clinton or Obama will have any effect more than delaying the catastrophe by at best two to four years. If that were the only consideration, I might still vote for them: maybe we really can teach the horse how to fly.

But I don't know they can do even that.

Supreme Court nominations? Faced with a strong Republican minority, a Democratic president will deliver justices who will at best merely slow the increase in abortion restrictions. At best. We'll still get parental notification, mandatory waiting periods, spousal consent, remote providers, restrictive licensing and liability... all the features that make abortion a privilege of the rich and not the fundamental human right to control one's own body.

Civil liberties? Economic equality? Anti-imperialism? Energy independence? Global warming? Anti-corporatism? Give me a break. Neither Clinton nor Obama are going to do jack shit but give us platitudes and bullshit, if they do even that.

Senator Clinton, Senator Obama, I admire you both for overcoming the contemptible and egregious sexism and racism prevalent in American society to get to where you are today. That's taken intelligence, skill, dedication and hard work. But that's all I admire you for; I admire Margaret Thatcher equally for the same qualities. I don't like your politics or your policies. I'm not going to vote for genitalia or melanin. I'm not even going to vote for intelligence (although I will vote against stupidity). I'm going to vote for political, social and moral character, and on every substantive issue, I think you're both not just wrong but rotten to the core.

I have my conscience to consider, too; there are some things up with which I will not put. Racism. Misogyny. Homophobia. Warfare. I won't compromise on these principles, and damn the consequences.


  1. I have to admit, I have backed off my normal fervor of following politics in recent weeks due to the desire not to have a massive coronary before I'm 30. But I haven't seen much in the way of Misogyny on the part of Obama, nor have I seen any indication that he's "rotten to the core."

    I think that it's important to remember that politics is, of course, political and that compromises must be made in order to get things done. I want the same world you want, 100% -- but I know for a fact that these things aren't going to happen instantaneously. Policy, like life, has to evolve gradually. Both the opposition and the general public have to be eased into change, or they'll be scared off. That's why Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul had no real chance. They're too radical.

    Any political changes need to take baby steps. We just need to pick the person who will start walking in the right direction. To me, that's Obama. I may end up being wrong, but I'll take that chance over the alternative. I don't think it's a choice between the lesser of two evils, I think it's choosing between something you KNOW to be evil and something you don't really know about one way or the other.

    Do you cast a vote for certain evil, or a vote for 50/50 chance of good or evil? Me? I'll gamble.

  2. The scary thing is that we don't have a third party to stop this bipartisan march to self-destruction. Social issues are very important, my dealbreakers are directly opposed to yours, but "we'll all go down together" as Billy Joel sung about when chronic deficits, inflation, and the abandonment of the dollar in the currency markets comes home to roost. In lieu of a viable third party that is actually competent, having one party control both houses while the other takes the White House is the only thing that might hold off disaster.......might....
    I'm learning Mandarin by the way. Might come in handy. :-) Xiao gen.

  3. Great Caesar's ghost! I'm actually in agreement with you, Jim. We really are all well and truly fucked.

    Shawn, I hold Obama's politics are rotten to the core. He's corporatist, conservative, he has no health-care plan, no plan about the economy and he's weak on abortion. He wants to appoint Republicans to the cabinet. On Iraq he's been ineffectual in the Senate and wishy-washy in the campaign. The only thing he's got any credibility on is Black civil rights.

    I hold him complicit in misogyny by virtue of his silence. He knows he can let the media do his dirty work, and he's been happy to profit. I don't know what else he can do as a viable candidate, but that's not my problem as a voter.

    If you want to vote for a Democrat, more power to you; I wouldn't hold it against anyone the way I would hold a vote for McCain against them. I honestly and sincerely hope I'm wrong and everything works out.

    But I'm not holding my breath.

  4. See, I see him as not remotely corporatist, a bleeding-heart liberal, someone with a decent (though not perfect) healthcare plan, and..well, I know he HAS an economic plan, but I haven't really looked at its specifics.
    I find it humorous that you say he's weak on abortion (by which I assume you mean that he has pro-life leanings) because just today I read someone complaining that he supports late-term abortion. I have not had time to look into the matter, but I know that he states unequivocally in his book that he supports a woman's right to choose.

    On Iraq, he's been no more ineffectual that the other 50 democratic Senators or the more than 200 democratic House Reps.

    He wants to put Republicans on his Cabinet? Good! His ability to work with the other side is his greatest strength. It's why he's passed more legislation than Clinton (with less time in office to do so) and has more support behind his bills in general, whether they pass or not. It's the line in the sand between the GOP and the DEMS that hurts this country more than anything. Party-line voting has reached a ridiculous level, and getting the two sides to work together for the greater good is the best talent (or desire) that a president could possibly have right now.

    As for his compliance-by-silence? That's kind of selective reasoning. He hasn't gone negative in the way that Sen. Clinton has, and has spoken highly of her and publicly stated that she would be an excellent president. If he (or any candidate) were to take the time to condemn every disingenuous or bigoted statement made by the media, they'd never talk about actual issues; there'd be no time.

    Also, let's face it: It's not media Misogyny that's hurt Hillary: it's her own reprehensible tactics. THAT's what Obama's reaping the rewards of.

  5. Shawn, let me be blunt: I think you're a little naive. Or, perhaps, I'm way too cynical. Regardless, you're a young man (at least a younger man than me), and your idealism and confidence are refreshing. Please, vote for Obama — or anyone but McCain — in the general, with my blessing.

    Me? I've been burned too many times by too many assholes, scumbags and retards. Reid and Pelosi have destroyed my confidence in the party, and Obama has not restored it. Nor, frankly, has Clinton.

    Maybe I'm wrong. I hope I am. But I can't choke down the bile anymore and vote for what I see as just the lesser of two evils.

  6. It could be that I'm naive. Or it could be that I'm idealistic. Or it could be that after these last eight years, I'm hopelessly desperate for someone to believe in, even at the risk of disappointment.
    Because, let's face it, we could spring Manson and stick him in the White House with OJ Simpson as Vice President and we'd be better off than we have been.

  7. Because, let's face it, we could spring Manson and stick him in the White House with OJ Simpson as Vice President and we'd be better off than we have been.

    No argument there!

  8. Call me naive, too, though I'm mostly cynical. I have a small hope that with President Obama, things will get better. I think I have just enough hope versus cynicism to get me through this election cycle and maybe into 2010. After that, if it becomes apparent that the status quo contintues, then I'll be cynical enough to swear off the whole thing entirely (politics). Time will tell. Maybe I just don't want my hope entirely snuffed out just yet, before even reaching age 40. (Which I will pass by the time of the next presidential election).

  9. Much as you might want to bury your head in the sand, there is no escaping the fact that failing to vote for the Democratic nominee is an act of omission that increases the likelihood that McCain--a sick bastard cut from the same cloth as Bush, but even more untethered from reality--will become the next President. And the likelihood is extremely high that more soldiers and civilians will die in Middle Eastern wars with him as President, than with a Democratic President. You really want some of that blood on your hands?

  10. Much as you might want to bury your head in the sand, there is no escaping the fact that failing to vote for the Democratic nominee is an act of omission that increases the likelihood that McCain... will become the next President.

    I am not burying my head in the sand. I specifically mention this possibility in almost those exact words: If I (and others like me) don't actually vote for the Democratic nominee, McCain has a greater chance of winning. I understand that completely...

    I'm making a judgment on the totality of the facts. I can't think of one positive reason to vote for the Democratic candidate, not even to punish the Republicans.

    I've been voting the lesser of two evils my entire god damned life, I've come to the point where the gorge rising makes me seriously reconsider. My vote means more to me than some abstract game-theoretic choice; it's an expression of my values. Maybe if I'd voted my conscience instead of for conservative Democratic fucktards, the party would have, you know, grown a fucking spine by now.

    You're telling me I must vote for a pro-war, corporatist civil-liberty-destroying abortion-restricting Republican-enabling asshole just because he or she is slightly less of those things than the alternative?

    And my vote didn't even fucking count in the last two elections; why should I think it's going to count in this one?

    It's a very tough decision, and I have considerably sympathy for your position. I'll probably go back and forth until the moment I pull the lever.

    But don't give me this "blood on my hands" bullshit. I'm one fucking voter in a couple of hundred million. If I can't vote my conscience, if it's evil to vote my conscience, it's not a fucking vote.

  11. I can't think of one positive reason to vote for the Democratic candidate, not even to punish the Republicans.

    To clarify, I think punishing the Republicans would be a good positive reason to vote for a Democrat. I don't see the tiniest reason to believe that either Obama or Clinton would even inconvenience them. They would just get to warm the seat for four years so everyone can forget yet again how the Republicans have royally screwed this country every fucking time they gain power.

    The choice is not between McCain and Clinton/Obama in 2008. The choice is between McCain in 2008 and Stalin, Torquemada, Hitler or Giuliani in 2012.

  12. The choice is not between McCain and Clinton/Obama in 2008. The choice is between McCain in 2008 and Stalin, Torquemada, Hitler or Giuliani in 2012.

    I hear you, but I hope you are wrong. My thinking is that there is a non-zero chance that Obama will create a long-lasting Democratic power coalition that will provide some room for fulfillment of liberal goals. I could be wrong, but I am willing to give it a shot.

    And even if I am wrong, at least hope makes life a little more bearable.

  13. I hope I'm wrong too.

    But there's a non-zero chance too that space aliens will land on the lawn of the White House and use orbital mind-control lasers to make us all sensible, intelligent and rational.

    You'll pardon me, please, if I don't hold my breath. Clinging to unsubstantiated hope gave us religion, and look how well that's turned out for us.

    I won't yell at you by any means if you vote for the Democratic party. But if the Democratic party wants my vote, they'll actively endorse at least some of my positive values, and not rely on just being less bad than the Republicans.

  14. But there's a non-zero chance too that space aliens will land on the lawn of the White House and use orbital mind-control lasers to make us all sensible, intelligent and rational.

    Good point! I'll put that on my hope list, too!

    Seriously, we're truly well fucked, ain't we?

  15. Fortunately I live in California where I have the comfort of knowing my vote is entirely irrelevant.


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