by Susan Rosenthal
Nuestras sueños no caben en sus urnas
– Our dreams do not fit in your ballot boxes –
The most compelling reason to vote for Barack Obama is that he’s Black, and a Black family in the White House would surely get up the noses of the racists. So why am I not voting for Obama? Here are 4 good reasons:
The mortgage melt-down: I’m not voting for Obama because he would rather bail out the banking system than protect working people from foreclosures. I want a president who will put people first and force Corporate America to clean up its own messes.
The war: I’m not voting for Obama because he supports the U.S. domination of the Middle East. I want a president whose first act will be to bring all the troops home, immediately, and whose second act will be to calculate reparations for the many victims of U.S. imperialism.
The medical system: I’m not voting for Obama because he supports the medical insurance industry. I want a president who will kick those parasites out the door and construct a system of socialized medicine – like the Veterans’ Administration, only better funded – so that all Americans get the care they need.
Israel: I’m not voting for Obama because he supports the Israeli destruction of Palestine. I want a president who condemns religious discrimination and demands equal rights for all.
What I want is not on offer in this election. I’m supposed to forget about what I want and accept the-same-old-same-old dressed up to look like something different. Been there, done that – with Bill Clinton. Can’t fool me again.
I’m told I should vote for Obama to prevent McCain from being elected. Yes, there are differences between the Democratic and Republican Parties. The two-party system depends on the ability of one party to serve the corporate agenda when the other party is too discredited to do so. McCain and Obama have (slightly) different views on how to run a capitalist system that can function only by running our lives into the ground.
No wonder so many people don’t vote.
No matter who is elected, imperial wars will continue to destroy lives at home and abroad. The economy will be continue to be floated at the expense of working people. The environment will continue to be destroyed for profit. And more Americans will lose access to health care. That’s because most of the people who run this world are not elected: executives and bureaucrats, bosses and landlords, bankers and generals.
Not voting is a vote of non-confidence in an electoral system that’s run like a horse race.
When the leading horse starts to lose its usefulness (too many lies, too much corruption, too many mistakes), reformers clamor to kick that horse out of the race. A new horse is presented as much better – a real change! The same track is used, and the new horse runs in the same direction as the old one.
When voters realize they’ve been duped, they’re told to wait for the next race. After several rounds of backing seemingly different horses, only to be betrayed, people lose hope.
As long as democracy is equated with elections (“You can’t complain if you didn’t vote” ), nothing will change. As long as we keep accepting what we don’t want in order to prevent what we want even less, we can never move forward.
Real change comes from below, not from above.
We need a completely different system, one that meets people’s needs. That will happen only when we stop accepting what we don’t want and start fighting for what we want.