I have often taken a stand at Firedoglake, on this website, my facebook page, and twitter against the corporate state in general and against specific morally bankrupt ideas that have been advanced. I even considered voting for Ron Paul because of his policy goals of ending the never-ending wars (including the war on drugs) and curtailing the police state and its encroachment on our liberties and privacy.
A vote for Paul puts me in a position of advocating for the innocent lives overseas that will no doubt be lost from our militaristic Empire building adventures. Paul would put a stop to extraordinary rendition, torture (even on our behalf by another country) as well as the ever increasing death toll of the drone program. Additionally, he would end the ruinous, draconian and racist drug war which has been a goal that I have always shared.
These activities (as well as others) have the terrible side effect of driving the US to the brink of financial collapse. I would understand and even support the financial strain if I believed that the policies promoted and practiced by our government had some great noble purpose. Sadly, they do not. No doubt, some of the participants are acting in good faith but the majority of the prime players are simply greedy, power hungry, unprincipled bastards, lacking any decency or humanity. A person possessing this list of characteristics is by definition a sociopath.
All that being said, I have to look at Ron Paul’s other positions objectively and recognize what the trade-offs would be. For there would certainly be trade-offs which Glenn Greenwald wrote about recently. Paul believes Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional. He has no compunction about leaving a vast swathe of Americans without healthcare that they can afford. He has said that emergency care should be relegated to the decreasing number of charity hospitals. If I am true to my moral perspective that all lives have value and none should be willingly sacrificed, I have to admit that this would also cause deaths and destroy lives every bit as much as a drone strike. Senator Bernie Sanders has said that in America around 45,000 people die each year from treatable conditions because they couldn’t afford healthcare. If true, in the last 10 years a similar number of innocent people were killed in America by lack of healthcare as were killed by the wars in the same time frame.
There is much that could be said about his anti-women, anti-choice stance. But there is an over-arching position that in good conscience makes it impossible for me to vote for Ron Paul. Government regulations and their vigorous enforcement are all that stands between us and the misdeeds of the sociopaths that run big corporations. As long as profits can be maximized by polluting the environment, regulations will be essential to keeping big business in check. Ron Paul would get rid of the EPA (and incidentally, the DOE and the Department of Education). Bottom line: his extremist free market, anti-government philosophy would likely lead to, or at least smooth out the path to the destruction of the planet. I have no intention of being complicit in that.
I find myself against many things. Obama, Paul (in addition to the entire GOP field), the pipeline, SOPA, NDAA, deep water drilling, preemptive war, the corrupting influence of money in politics, the drug war, the failed Milton Friedman free market fiscal model, the humongous military budget, nuclear power, well, you get the idea. The list is a long one.
I recently wrote about why I couldn’t in good conscience vote for Obama. Where does all this leave me or you? For starters, it seems that support for and participation in the Occupy movement is a solid step in the right direction. As far as electoral politics are concerned, I have reached the conclusion that a like minded 3rd party candidate is my only reasonable option.
Building support for such a candidate will be a tremendously difficult undertaking. However, not trying is to accept that there’s no option but for the U.S. to continue as the world’s bully, the unchecked police and surveillance state, murder, further environmental degradation, and social injustice at home and abroad. It’s instructive to note that with zero news coverage, using only social media like youtube, facebook and twitter, Asmaa Mahfouz, a 26 year old young woman blazed a trail that would end the decades long, repressive government in Egypt. All this in under a month! We have the tools, we have the technology. The only thing in question is, do we have the will? Did the Obama betrayal destroy our hope for change?
There are two people in the race that I would like to make you aware of if you aren’t already. They both have solid and similar ethical positions, some name recognition and the beginnings of a base. They are Dr. Jill Stein and Rocky Anderson. Either would be a sound choice. To get you started, here is a link to Dr. Stein addressing Occupy Boston and here is a pdf of Anderson’s letter quitting the Democratic Party. It’s pretty telling. There are also videos of Anderson being interviewed on various news programs.
Check them both out. Pick who you think would do the best job, have the best chance of getting elected and spread the word. Volunteer. Because (and this is important), by any measure the better of two evils… is still evil.