10 Reasons Why This Independent is Voting Democrat in 2012
By Steve Bhaerman
“We have two major political parties in America – the Democratic Party, and the Undemocratic Party.” — Swami Beyondananda
Those of you who’ve been reading Notes From the Trail for the past several years know that I have been advocating “transpartisan” politics as a way of moving beyond the partisan trance, and bringing all sides together to “turn the funk into function, and leave the junk at the junction.”
When we step outside the matrix of the polarizing puppet show that passes for political discourse in America, we see that we – those who identify as progressives, those who identify as conservatives – have been hoodwinked by the oldest political scam on the planet: Divide and conquer.
Instead of coming together around the virtues and values we share in common, we’ve been adrenalized to fight not even a “real” opponent, but a caricature of who we imagine the other side to be. Having been part of healthy transpartisan conversations, I know what it feels like to find common ground with those I disagree with AND … more importantly … how that polar energy can be used to create a dynamo to catapult us out of a this-or-that, lose-lose scenario into truly breakthrough solutions.
I am excited to know that as I write this, transpartisan alliances are working to prevent further war in the Middle East, legalize hemp and marijuana, and make sure that GMO foods are labeled. I am even more excited about the Living Room Conversations that have emerged as a result of progressives and Tea Party conservatives coming together, and for the prospect of highly-visible, national conversations like this occurring in the future.
But first …
But first, there is the small matter of the upcoming election.
A few weeks back, there was an email suggesting that frustrated voters “boycott the election.” My first thought was that this “brilliant” idea likely originated with Karl Rove. Then I was reminded of an “Aggie” story I heard while living in Texas.
An Aggie comes home unexpectedly to find his wife in bed with his best friend. The Aggie goes to his nightstand, pulls out a gun … and puts it to his own head. When the wife and friend start to laugh, he says, “What are you two laughing at? You’re next!”
And that pretty much sums up how I feel about boycotting the election. Sure we have a lame choice – between the sorry-ass Democrats, and the scary-ass Republicans. But by blowing this one off – or even casting a vote for one of the worthy third party candidates – we are shooting ourselves in the head. We are missing an opportunity to make this election mean something other than what the lame-stream media is telling us it means.
By overwhelmingly re-electing Barack Obama, and restoring a Democratic majority to both Houses of Congress, we can send a powerful message to the world, to our leaders and most importantly, to ourselves.
It’s time to make Goliath go lieth down.
By Goliath, we mean the giant ogre in our political living room – the unchecked, unbalanced, unmitigated power of money to make decisions that favor a small, small group of the uncommonly wealthy … at the expense of the commonwealth.
So … here are my top ten reasons for voting straight Democrat this year, so that our otherwise meaningless vote will tell the world … it’s time to overturn the tables on the moneychangers, and establish government of, by and for the people – where our government does the people’s bidding, not the bidding of the highest bidder.
10. The “Republicans” Are Not Republicans. What I will heretofore call “Republican” with quote marks around it has nothing to do with true Republican heroes like Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and even Barry Goldwater (who had no tolerance for the narrow prejudices of the Religious Right). In the light of what their party has devolved into, these guys must be flipping in their crypts. Want to vote for a real moderate Republican? There’s one running. His name is Barack Obama.
9. The “War on Women.” No matter who they put on stage, the “Republican” Party is the party of, by and for white men. Theirs is more than a “war on women,” it’s a war on the feminine impulse of nurturance, and on the sacred web of life itself. Environmentalism? A pesky inconvenience to be overcome with impropaganda, a notion to be mocked, as it was at the 2000 Republican convention. And these guys don’t even know there’s something they don’t know. Where’s the Iroquois Council of Grandmothers when we need them most?
8. The War on Reality. This is what Jon Stewart calls “Bullshit Mountain,” the place where facts don’t matter, and anything that doesn’t fit the belief system can be unceremoniously discarded – like the piece of legislation in North Carolina that would have made it illegal to publicly discuss “rising sea levels.” (Apparently rising bullshit levels pose no danger to this faction, however.)
7. Their Lie-Ability is Their Greatest Asset. Since all is fair in (absence of) love and war, and since the “Republicans” imagine themselves in a war with Obama and “socialism” (Look … if Obama were really a socialist, he’d have a 70% approval rating), they give themselves full permission to lie with impunity. Go to Pulitzer Prize Winning PolitiFact’s Pants On Fire section and you will see that right-wing outrageous lies outnumber Democrat ones by about 9 to 1.
6. Voter Repression and Vote-Stealing. If conservatives like being lied to, progressives seem to prefer lying to themselves. That’s why the mainstream liberal press dismisses both the ownership of voting machine technology by “Republicans,” and the ability to invisibly “flip” votes remotely as “conspiracy theory.” I suggest you check out Greg Palast’s Billionaires & Ballot Bandits which offers ample evidence that potential Democratic voters have been tricked and intimidated into not voting or voting at the wrong time or place. It’s understandable, of course. It’s the only way the “Republicans” can win.
5. “Republican” Supreme Court Judges Will Further Entrench the Power of Money. Gone are the days when a President can appoint a former Klansman Senator from Alabama (as FDR did), and end up with one of the most liberal members of the Court (Hugo Black). There will be no surprises (at least no pleasant ones) in any appointments a President Romney makes. Nor will any of these judges be friends of civil liberties. No matter how united real citizens are, Citizens United will never be overturned by a Romney court.
4. The Southern Strategy, and a Party Gone South. According to Bill Moyers, when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Right Act in 1964, he muttered that he was turning the South over to the Republicans for generations to come. What this has come to mean is that the “Republicans” have had to appeal to the basest nature of their base. They’ve had to foment misunderstanding, misinformation, racial prejudice, ignorance and fear. Sadly, it’s a key part of their “winning” strategy.
3. They Are Wealth-Extractors, Not Job Creators. The Republicans may have been job creators in days of yore, but the “Republicans” of today are mainly wealth-extractors. While there’s something to be said about regulations strangling small business enterprise, the de-regulation of the corporate media created a toxic monopoly that has limited real political discourse … and the de-regulation of the financial industry turned “conservative” bankers into wild speculators. How many jobs did Bain create? (Fortunately, the Chinese cannot officially vote in our election.)
2. They Promote Selfish-Righteousness. In the waves of lava descending from Bullshit Mountain, somehow the two contradictory ideas of Christianity and Darwinism have been melded into a combo that expresses the most toxic version of each. We have social Darwinists (“those people who lost their homes deserved to”) and religionists who seem more aligned with the Taliban that with the Jesus who threw the moneychangers out of the temple and comforted the afflicted.
1. The “Banana Republicans” Want to Turn the U.S. Into a Banana Republic. Please read Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s article, The Hostile Takeover of Our Country and you’ll understand why the Koch Brothers and the multinationals are spending a fortune (actually just a small portion of their resource) to put the few final nails in democracy’s coffin. They want to have free reign to colonize 21st century America much the same as the first multinational, the British East India Company (with the help of the British army and navy) sought to dominate the colonies 235 years ago. The founders of this country – conservative as well as liberal – never meant for our commonwealth to be for sale, nor did they intend that corporations be “persons,” or money be “speech.” My deepest wish is that political independents and libertarians who speak so fervently about the Constitution and Bill of Rights will see beyond Bullshit Mountain, and vote thumbs down on the “Banana Republicans,” so that – as a REAL Republican once said — “Government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from this earth.”
Finally, here is a stark yet pertinent quote from Proverbs: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” The Democratic Party “leadership” has no vision. If they did, and if they clearly articulated a pathway to a future where the Golden Rule overrules the rule of gold, this election would be a no contest. So we … those of us awakening to the sane, healthy and coherent vision of a world that works for all … must speak and live that vision forward. This time, we must “vote past” Obama for the world we know is possible. If we are successful, and we show the power of money that all their money couldn’t buy this election, our body politic will have passed a very important test … and we will be ready for true engagement across the red-blue divide.
We do not know at this point the final outcome of the election. But I think one thing seems certain. Come rain or come shine, the upwising will continue. Awakening awareness is unstoppable.
P.S. If you want to make even more of a difference, do what this Independent voter is doing this year … volunteer with MoveOn to get out the vote.
Steve Bhaerman is a writer and humorist living in the USA. As cosmic comic Swami Beyondananda, he has entertained and enlightened millions with his comedy disguised as wisdom — or is it wisdom disguised as comedy? A pioneer in alternative education, he is the author of No Particular Place to Go: Making of a Free High School. His latest book, with cellular biologist Bruce Lipton, is called Spontaneous Evolution: Our Positive Future And a Way to Get There From Here. His political spiritual blog is called Notes From the Trail, and he can be found online at wakeuplaughing.com