“Of course there’s a difference between the two political parties. The Republicans bend over backwards for corporations and special interests. The Democrats are exactly the opposite. They bend over forward.”
— Swami Beyondananda
By Steve Bhaerman
Well, here we are in another election year, and once again we face another binary choice – “the lesser of two evils.” More and more people are seeing outside the “this-or-that” political matrix, and recognize that our choice is between two corporate candidates.
So, what do we do?
Do we withdraw energy and sit it out?
Do we look for a third party or fourth party candidate, and cast a “symbolic” vote?
Do we vote for Obama – or Romney?
While many are disappointed and even disgusted with Obama (see Swami’s Dictionary for definition of “hopium” – “the enticingly addictive belief that a white knight will come save you on a dark night”), I am saying that even though we may not like the choice we have, we DO indeed have a choice, and that our vote this year can help keep us on course for evolutionary change.
Let’s deal with the third party candidates first. While I respect Ron Paul for his courage and willingness to face up to corporatism, the Republican misleadership made sure he delivered his address from outside the Republican convention. As with Dennis Kucinich before him, Ron Paul and his supporters will likely fall in line behind their party’s ticket. And what if by some very long shot, Ron Paul chose to run as a third party candidate? While he represents the best of conservative and libertarian values, he is looking backward and not forward. He doesn’t have a progressive or evolutionary vision for the future. He will ultimately not be able to tap into the burgeoning planetary awareness that we’re all in it together – and as one person, will not be able to stop the military-industrial complex machine.
Then there’s Rocky Anderson, a man I admire for his great courage – he stood up to the Bush Administration years ago when other Democrats were shaking in their Rockports. However, once again … there isn’t the transpartisan independent movement to put him over the top either. I predict he will not be the President come January 2013.
Either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney will.
Our choice of the “lesser evil” is between unmitigated evil and … mitigated evil. Again, like the immortal baseball umpire Bill Klem, “I call ‘em as I see ‘em.” So this is my call, purely my personal opinion.
Republicans – the Party of Selfish-Righteousness
First of all, I want to present three telling scenes from recent Republican Party history. The first scene happened earlier this year. During the South Carolina Republican Party debates, Ron Paul was booed when he mentioned the Golden Rule. The second scene happened at the 2000 Republican convention when Theodore Roosevelt IV spoke in support of environmentalism. He was booed, jeered and made fun of by the Texas Republican contingent. The final scene was on election day evening, 2008. John McCain was giving his concession speech, with Sarah Palin in the background. I watched as some of John McCain’s old-wealth, patrician Republican cohorts were looking with obvious disgust at Sarah Palin, as if she were the Tonya Harding of politics.
So, what do these three scenes have in common?
They are all indicators of what the Republican Party has become. Now that the last of the “moderates” have thrown in the towel, the Republicans are the unabashed party of social Darwinism, of “dominate or be dominated.” It is the party of “selfish-righteousness,” where the selfish manipulate the self-righteous, the narrow-minded and the prejudiced through lies and fear. As in the above-mentioned example, the Republican elite holds their collective nose as they kowtow to the Sarah Palin / Michele Bachmann crowd, knowing they have to continue playing on fear and xenophobia in order to gather the votes they need to win. They must use dirty tricks like calling voters with misinformation, they must seek to disenfranchise “voters of color” and they must spend gazillions on negative campaign ads to pound away at their ridiculous lies until people figure “it must be true because I’ve heard it so many times.”
The Republican Party is the party of the over-masculinized toxic abuser.
The Democratic Party is the party of the over-feminized toxic enabler.
If the Republicans offer a toxic vision of a society where only the power of money counts, the Democrats offer no vision whatsoever. Consider that this spring, the Democrats “proudly” offered a new bumper sticker for those who donated. Ready? It reads, “Not A Republican.” (They’ve since withdrawn this offer, by the way.)
Now, THERE’S a bold statement.
While there is a lot to be said for not being a Republican, it says nothing about what it means to be a Democrat. On the other hand, maybe it says exactly what the Democrats have become. They have become the also-ran corporate party, who’ve carved out the questionable moral turf of, “We’re not as bad as they are.”
It should be obvious that neither the Democratic nor the Republican parties represent the vast majority of the American people.
However, behind these polarized ice caps are the healthy expressions of both progressivism and conservatism. Since the majority of folks reading this likely identify with the progressive camp, I think it’s important to point to the most valuable aspects of the conservative point of view. (We will deal with the progressive positives and negatives in a later post.)
There is a positive and functional conservative / libertarian impulse to limit the control the government has on our lives, to exercise “fiscal fitness,” to limit debt and maximize efficiency and functionality, and to insure that people benefit from their hard work. While the Tea Partiers have been conveniently dismissed as narrow-minded racists, the ones that I know are exasperated by the over-regulation of small enterprise, and are genuinely concerned about creeping police state powers disguised as “national security.” They are all-too-aware that the Federal Reserve is little more than a legally-sanctioned racket and that money issued as debt results in debt-slavery.
Yes, the Tea Partiers have been funded and manipulated by the Koch Brothers, who represent the unchecked, unbalanced, out-of-control power of money. But before we dismiss them as a bunch of misguided, willfully ignorant Koch-suckers, let’s give the conservative libertarians their props for recognizing the dangers of a nationalized police force and calling out Obama for taking up where Bush-Cheney left off in circumventing civil liberties and fighting imperialist wars. (You may be surprised to learn that there is a significant movement among “center right” conservatives to limit Pentagon spending. Here is an article written by Liberty Coalition co-founder Michael Ostrolenk for The American Conservative.)
As a matter of fact, there are some heartening signs of transpartisan coalitions developing around issues like preventing a war with Iran, labeling GMO foods, and legalization of marijuana and hemp. I will be covering those more extensively in a future post.
However, for the 2012 election there is no transpartisan candidate, let alone independent citizens movement. So again, what do “evolutionaries” who seek “heartland security” do?
Voting “Past” Obama for Our True Vision
To answer my own question, I hearken back to a quote from the second edition of Spontaneous Evolution that was written a year after the election of the not-quite-great, not-quite-white hope, Barack Obama:
The election of Barack Obama as President of the United States was an important evolutionary milestone that transcends anything Obama can or will do in office. Buckminster Fuller once said an audience applauds not so much in recognition of the individual onstage, but of recognition of one another. In this case, the support given Obama the man was in reality support for his well-articulated vision of hope, change and global communal cooperation. The election of Obama, as the voice of imaginal cells everywhere, is a sign that we have withdrawn our investment of time, energy, attention and intention from the caterpillar and are now casting our fate with the butterfly. As a world leader, Obama’s words echoed the conclusion in Chapter 13, The One Suggestion: “We’re all in this together.”
Here is the point: More than 65 million Americans cast their vote for Obama in 2008 because they felt more resonant with his progressive world view than with the regressive view of his opponents – who have, incidentally, done all in their power to thwart any forward motion over the past four years.
So … what would be the point of the electorate “rewarding” the devolutionary regressive Republicans with a victory?
If anything, the evolutionary perspective has gained even more adherents since the election – despite profound frustration with Obama. The reason why the Obama campaign is focusing on the “culture war” issues is that they realize that demographically speaking, the “base” the Republicans are seeking to activate are a dwindling breed. And let’s remember that for what the Republicans have become, “activating the base” necessitates appealing to the “basest” instincts of fear, prejudice and separation.
For those reasons alone, I am suggesting a campaign to “vote past Obama” in 2012. By this I mean, register and vote en masse to give Obama a more compelling landslide than in 2008, AND restore a Democratic majority to Congress and the Senate.
A Symbolic Vote
As the upwising has continued over the past four years, more and more Americans are coming to realize that the most important decisions we make as a nation are actually made at a “higher pay grade” than even the President, and the ritual of elections are largely symbolic.
This will be the case until there is a transpartisan movement of independent citizens who stand together across party lines for transparent governance.
So … if the elections are symbolic, then for goodness sake, let’s take full advantage of the symbolism! Instead of being discouraged and disheartened by Republican lies and Democrat gutlessness, let’s “declare” a new meaning for this election and throw our weight behind the evolutionary vision for the future.
It may seem odd to re-elect the incumbent President as a “protest” vote, but that is exactly what I am suggesting. Consider that Obama has given his at least tacit approval to one campaign that is a huge step in restoring the rule of “we the people” as opposed to “they, the multinationals” – the move to amend the Constitution and overturn “Citizens United.”
While campaigning four years ago, Barack Obama implored his constituency to get active because he couldn’t turn the country around without our help. Whether he meant it, or whether it was campaign hyperbole, you know what? It doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t matter if he can’t do it without us. WE can’t do it without us.
Here’s a story I’ve shared before that bears repeating. Years ago, I was at an outdoor picnic where a number of us were playing volleyball. Also at the event was a very frisky and headstrong Sheltie who kept “herding” the children on to the volleyball court and disrupting our game. After this had gone on for quite a while, I got an idea. “Next time that doggie herds kids onto the court, let’s all of us as one turn and chase him.”
And that’s exactly what we did. You should have seen that dog! His world was turned upside down as all of the “sheep” began chasing him. Needless to say, after that we were able to play our game undisturbed.
Now folks, I love dogs so don’t get me wrong. No dog was actually harmed in the making of that scenario … but a dog did get trained. Now it’s time for us to gather our forces, focus as one and send that Republican “bully-dog” to the same place that the Whigs and Know-Nothings ended up – political oblivion.
If we win that campaign, the world will know – and the ruling elite will know – that there is a healthy and coherent body politic awakening, and there is a new baseline and a new standard that will potentially unite both populists and progressives around an independent, transparent and functional governance.
If we don’t do it, no one else will.
Let’s take the first step together, and turn this Presidential election into a “precedential” one. Let’s cast our vote, and declare to the world and ourselves what this vote means – government of, by and for the people, where the government does OUR bidding, not the bidding of the highest bidder.
Note to my readers: Apologies for the extra long post … and the extra long time between posts. I should become more “regular” in the coming weeks leading up not just to the election but the long-heralded “shift of the ages” as 2012 becomes 2013. If you like these posts and want to support Notes From the Trail, please go here. You can also support our endeavors via PayPal (click on Transfer, and then Send Someone Money, then send to: email@example.com)
And … you can still sign up for the entertaining, encouraging and informative tele-series, Involuntary Simplicity: Spontaneous Evolution From the Inside Out, beginning September 11 and continuing on successive Tuesdays through October 16th: http://greatmystery.org/Programs/steveregister.html
Steve Bhaerman is a writer, humorist and social uncommontator who has been writing and performing “cosmic comedy” for the past 25 years in the guise of Swami Beyondananda. On the serious side, he is co-author with Bruce Lipton of Spontaneous Evolution: Our Positive Future and a Way To Get There From Here, and is the author of a popular blog, Notes From the Trail, and can be found online at http://www.wakeuplaughing.com/