Chomsky and Ellsberg, Hedges and Ray McGovern are, in the end, apologists for the system, so entwined in the process that they cannot disengage.Vote without illusion? What’s that mean? Vote for evil, albeit the lessor of two evils- but know you are doing so? Accept that your choices are limited to the continuation of illegal war, murder by drone, loss of civil liberty and austerity for the weakest among us, but choose carefully between the speed and implementation with which the program is to be carried out.
What is to be gained by that? What’s gained is that the system itself is removed from the argument, and the debate is reduced to bipartisan bickering about the candidates. It is cyclic and inevitable for as long as we accept that our choices are the ones offered us by the powers that be.
Which is exactly what the powers that be want it to be. Layers behind layers, division behind division, distraction behind distraction.The argument is that Chomsky and Ellsberg are wiser, more discerning, and are electing to be realists. This is the playbook for those still of the belief that the vote is in some way sacred- “We must be realists.”
A Realist? Realists have defended the Inquisition, slavery, monarchy, child labor, debtor’s prison and war. It is the purpose and the function of a realist to defend the status quo. I’ve said it before, I will say it again: The politics of today have become nothing more than a mutually shared faith based paradigm. It is, albeit unwittingly, the religion of America. As such it is removed from having to be held to the notion of cause and effect or empirical knowledge. Applying the notion of cause and effect one ought to be able to discern that the act of voting has created change.
Empirical knowledge ought to reveal that the act of voting can alter the course of society. It has, in fact, only allowed for more of the same, with minor improvements being hailed as history making- while the military/industrial complex continues to rake in profit, to assume an ever more powerful sway in policy and legislation.
And now these two believers, among others, use the tenets of this faith to justify it’s continued existence. I have admired them, I have emulated them, and followed in their footsteps. Their path has brought me here, but now I must no longer follow. In this regard they are unwittingly lending their stamp of approval to a systematic faith based paradigm, each so invested in opposing the system that they see no alternative but to continue to oppose the system from within.
Arguing about the choices is safe. Arguing about the system and it’s inherent evil, death and destruction, abandonment of justice, debt slavery- that’s too dangerous. Sad that these two aging lions have succumbed to the biggest illusion of all- that a corrupt system can be used to repair itself.
They have been revealed to be vocal and effective opponents of the policies and excesses of Empire, but supporters and defendants of Empire itself. It’s not a subtle distinction.
Here’s my position, my logic, behind being an advocate of voter boycotting.
1) There is ample evidence that the electoral process is corrupt.
2) If that is true, then attempting to use a corrupt system in order to get rid of corruption is pointless.
3) If that is true, then voting is meaningless in terms of creating valid change.
4) If that is true, then it is time to abandon the vote as a tool for creating change.
I ask anyone to refute, on a point by point basis, my logic. Please educate me as to the flaws.
To say that voting third party is “stepping outside the system” is utter tomfoolery. It is a vote that literally accomplishes nothing other than to assure that business as usual will continue unabated. To accept that the battle is about being allowed to keep what crumbs we have is to accept that the very most we can win … is crumbs.
This is neither liberal nor progressive. It is in fact the mindset of a slave.
The open secret- never mentioned- is that if hell freezes over and a third party candidate were to win the popular vote- they would not be installed in office. By law. Popular vote in no way ensures a win. The Electoral College would award the office to whomever had the most number of delegates.
That’s the tip of the iceberg.
The rest of the iceberg, lying below the surface, is that it will require either an act of Congress or a Supreme Court ruling to overturn the electoral college. Someone, anyone at all, step up and tell me how we’re going to accomplish that.
If there is scam operating, it is the idea that casting a vote for a third party candidate is in any way a protest. Bull pucky! It is acknowledging that the corrupt system is the only alternative we have. It is lending support to a system that we all agree is corrupt. It is magical thinking to suggest that active participation in a corrupt system, and hoping that a corrupt system can be used to repair itself is any kind of solution at all.
The common mantra, call it the party line, now being broadcast by the likes of the eleventh hour ‘coverts’ like Ellsberg, Chomsky, Hedges, and Ray McGovern, is that not voting is giving up.
I disagree. Consciously refusing to participate is not giving up, it is acknowledging that doing the same thing over and over again isn’t working.
Not voting is the least of what my actions are, so please don’t jump on the “so you’re doing nothing” mantra of the unenlightened.
The reasoning- for both major parties and all third parties, seems to boil down to the idea that ‘abandoning’ the vote gives away the crumbs we’ve been given, that we’ll lose ground somehow. If the battle is allowed to be defined as a fight to keep what little we’ve been given, then it follows that victory will gives us … crumbs.
It brings to mind images of of someone throwing scraps to a pack of hungry dogs, and watching in amusement as they fight over the offering. If this is not the epitome of giving up, then I don’t know what would qualify.
To not vote- as part of a more radical ‘package’ of resistance and civil disobedience- is arguably the only course available to those of us who have come to recognize that the entire electoral process is corrupt.
The argument is not about parties or platforms, the argument is about the system that serves only one purpose: to maintain the status quo.
I submit that not voting, conscientiously choosing not to participate, withholding your consent to be governed, is a valid nonviolent revolutionary act.