Do we really have an opportunity to change this country come November or is this upcoming election merely a show for the masses? This is something that seems to be dominating a lot of my conversations with friends lately. The upcoming election is something that I’ve been debating with myself since the last fraudulent election installed Bush in power. I used to vote when I was younger but became tired, as many people have, with a lack of options in the two party system and with voting for a “lesser of two evils”. I have always had much more faith in activism and community involvement because in these areas you can actually see that something is being accomplished. You’re not merely casting a vote for someone to act as a surrogate, hoping that they will in turn follow through with the work that you hope will be done. It’s disparaging for people who put so much stock in elected officials to never see results, never see change, to see themselves and their concerns overlooked time and time again. To see their interests take a backseat to the corporate and vested interests that influence policy. It’s this kind of disappointment that disillusions and disenfranchises people from continuing to vote. But unfortunately, most people don’t bother to seek out other ways to try and create change. The whole concept of voting seems to be disempowering in the sense that we’re to choose someone else to take on the responsibility that all of us should be shouldering. Getting involved ourselves with our communities is definitely a more empowering route to take. This affords us the assurance that something is actually being done instead of us listening, cynically, to someone else make empty promises with dressed up political rhetoric. The rhetoric, so carefully crafted to comfort us in our choice of our surrogate, is almost always void of any actual meaningful action. And having an option of a “lesser of two evils” isn’t the most enticing way of recruiting perspective voters. Time and time again candidates marginalize the people’s interests to appease the corporate interests that fund their campaigns and buy their way into public office. They whole process has been so absolutely corrupted that it’s become commonplace, everyone knows this and for the most part just willingly accepts it as “the way things are”. Apathy and a sense of helplessness seem to triumph over hopes and principles time and time again. Also the prospect of fighting against a structure that is so powerful that we can’t even imagine ever making a dent is extremely discouraging. The illusion of democracy, where the people’s interests are being represented by these surrogates provides us the luxury of not having to take control of our own lives or take responsibility for all of the problems in our society. We have someone else to look to with expectations of change and also to blame for the absence of that change. We’ve placed ourselves in the comfortable positions of distancing ourselves from responsibility and disavowing ourselves from fault. Instead we have an abundant supply of others to blame for all of our failures as a society. For all of these reasons community involvement and activism is a much more effective and empowering route to take than voting. Regrettably, most people, for one reason or another are either unable or unwilling to take an active role in their own communities. Most people won’t even take five minutes out of their lives to vote, even those who believe in voting, let alone get involved in their communities. So where does that leave us? It’s a tired old cliché to hear people whine and complain how voting or even activism and community involvement never accomplish anything when they never try. I’m tired of people who think that they’re above all of the problems in our world, that they share no responsibility in the blame because they don’t have any of the powering the decision-making. This kind of attitude is very self-defeating. If you’re unhappy with your life or what you see happening around you then it’s up to each one of us to change it. We can’t sit back and expect someone else to do it for us. None of us are free of that responsibility. We can’t keep putting ourselves in the “victim” role, sitting on our asses and willingly accepting the scraps, those with the initiative to seize the reins, throw our way.
Now to look at this upcoming election issue a little closer, there has been so much emphasis being placed on this election. I definitely agree that this year’s election is crucially important. In the last three and a half years we’ve seen degrees of extremism, oppression, corruption, and secrecy of unprecedented proportions rule this country and this world. We’ve seen arrogance and a sense of entitlement presiding over the world that leaves no room for dissent-- an arrogance that has manipulated every means and every resource around them to provide themselves and their political allies with an endless stream of stolen wealth--an arrogance that has alienated the entire world and aggressively attacked, intimidated, silenced, suppressed, discredited and destroyed all that oppose them--an arrogance that has broken every international law and treaty that’s stood in their way--an arrogance that is directly responsible for the deaths and maiming of tens of thousand of innocent people, and with more and more of their lies being exposed on a daily basis they arrogantly repeat the same old lies that have been exposed, trying to convince through insistence and repetition that they’re telling the truth. This arrogance and complete self-righteousness have been the ultimate “fuck you” to everyone else in the world, to everyone of us that they believe in their self-elevated-arrogance is beneath them. This administration is, without a doubt, beginning to panic that they may lose the upcoming election and have to relinquish power. In this panic they’re going to and further exploit all means and resources at their disposal to protect that power. They fear a complete backlash at the polls this November, a backlash not only from the stolen 2000 election but also due to their policies of hate, fear and extremism. Their fear, however, will not diminish their determination to hold onto their power. We’ve already been seeing the same voter purging tactics occurring in Florida that helped Bush steal the 2000 election. We’re seeing a desperate attempt to install electronic voting machines, black box voting, that leave no paper trails (manufactured and maintained by right-wing pro-Bush conservative companies) all over the country before the November election. We’re seeing resistance towards the idea of having the U.N. oversee the election process, just like we saw the refusal to allow the U.N. to oversee the 2000 election fiasco. This is also why one of the main stipulations of the PATRIOT ACT 2 (which they’ve been waiting to pass) is to strip dissidents of citizenship and their right to vote. Their latest tactic has been the possible suspension of the November election due to the “terrorist threat”. The suspension of the November election would be unprecedented in this country’s history. In their ultimate display of arrogance they’ve suggested that right now they have every intention of allowing the November election to take place. Allowing? They act as if they’re doing everyone a huge favor. Maybe it’s my aversion to authority but when I see this administration so painstakingly trying to stop people like myself from voting in this election, I feel very compelled to actually do it. It’s an appropriate response to their efforts and a hearty “fuck you” to these bastards. Another manipulative tactic that they’re aggressively pursuing is their continuing insistence that the terrorists are determined to disrupt our democratic process. They keep insisting, without providing a shred of proof or detail, that the terrorists are determined to affect the outcome of the November election, “like they did in Spain”, the implication here being that the terrorists are hoping for a Kerry-Edwards victory. Obviously because the Bush administration is doing such a great job in fighting the “war on terror”, at least that’s what they want us to believe. They want to create the illusion that if they’re voted out of office then the terrorists will have won. This is where their arrogance and fear tactics are hoping to materialize, clinching another four years for them. I worry that not only will their politics of fear give them another four years but that after that we’re in for another eight years of a Jeb Bush presidency. Another Bush administration is a very real danger as he could surely ride his brother’s power and momentum into the Whitehouse. We can’t afford another twelve years of Bush extremism ruling this world; we can’t even afford another four. I still definitely have lots of reservations about the election process but I also believe that we are faced with the urgent need of getting Bush out of office. There are definitely people that I would’ve rather seen get the democratic presidential nomination but unfortunately they didn’t get that nomination. I don’t see huge changes occurring if Kerry gets in office (especially considering how bad things have gotten these last three and a half years it is going to take years to reverse the damage done) I think we will see some changes for the better but possibly not many. But on the flip side I see a Bush victory insuring that things will become much, much worse. I truly believe that if Bush gets another term, the last four years will seem like nothing compared to what we’ll have in store. They’ve already been planning on replacing a lot of the Bush administration with “less moderate” cabinet appointments if they get another term, truly a terrifying thought! This is the biggest incentive I can think of to take five minutes out of my life to cast a vote against Bush. I would strongly encourage everyone else to do the same. Considering what is at stake here I can certainly deal with the hypocrisy of supporting “the most liberal senator” in the senate, as the GOP has comically labeled Kerry. So I’m taking a step backwards in time and voting for a “lesser of two evils” again. It’s still a step forward in the scope of things, considering that as a society we’ve taken a huge step backwards in every social gain made in decades, under the Bush administration. I definitely think it’s time to reverse our backwards course. We can worry about how to deal with Kerry after Bush is out. I, for one, don’t see Kerry waging the kind of war against all of us as Bush has. So this would be a positive step, a first step. Getting this administration out of office is certainly something that needs to be done and it’s something that takes a minimal effort on our part. Seeing them all behind bars would be even better and more than warranted but I realize the remote possibility of that ever happening. After we get them out of office we can further pursue our own involvement in trying to create change directly. Or for those who don’t want to be bothered, they will at least have someone else to point a finger at for the next four years. But everyone should keep in mind that we do have the ability to create change, how much of a change is completely up to us. To create a minimal change vote Bush out of office. If we want to take things a step further, then we can actively work beyond the election, empowering ourselves, getting more involved to change everything that know need changing, instead of leaving all of our responsibilities to someone else’s devices.