Saturday, June 09, 2012

Electing the Assassin-in-Chief

Be assured of one thing: whichever candidate you choose at the polls in November, you aren’t just electing a president of the United States; you are also electing an assassin-in-chief.

As far as drone attacks and civil liberties are concerned, it does not matter who wins the election in November: Obama's policies have either continued or extended those of his predecessor (which means he explicitly broke promises he made while campaigning), and neither he nor Romney will reassert the civil liberties that the "war on terror" has at best limited and at worst eliminated. If you're looking for a way to choose between the two, you'll have to look somewhere else.

For me, this means voting for Obama (health care and same-sex marriage being two issues where the choice is clear). I don't see this as a "lesser of two evils" approach to voting. That rhetoric only applies if you expect one of the two candidates to be "good" rather than "evil," but the point is not a moral issue to be seen in black-and-white terms. Rather, it is a consideration of which candidate supports which policies that you support, and then weighing them in the balance. Since Obama and Romney are part of the "war on terror" consensus of American politics, there's nothing to weigh when it comes to that issue.

But supporting Obama in general does not mean I will stop criticizing him on civil-liberties issues and drones. He deserves to be condemned for the policies he has implemented  in these areas, even if I am under no illusion that anything will change along those lines in 2013 ... I wish I had the slightest reason to be optimistic, but significant numbers of "my fellow Americans" (oh no, I sound like Reagan) will have to begin to challenge the government on these issues. Despite the 99% idea, that's not going to happen soon.

UPDATE: Garry Wills provides good reasons for thinking there's more to this election than I've suggested. It would be more convincing if his argument at least addressed the fact that Obama's war footing also serves the "plutocracy" that he is justifiably critical of.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In other words, vote for Obama with no illusions?

This is a familiar mindset for many UK Labour voters!