Grappling with Obama's Un-Liberal Actions: A Voter's Conscience (Part 3):
The Rude Pundit has never been shy about admitting that, in 2000, he voted for Ralph Nader. It was neither a brave nor foolish action. He lived in a state that was so in the tank for George W. Bush that no candidate bothered to visit it in the general election. So the Rude Pundit was following the late, much-missed Molly Ivins' advice: in firmly Republican states, why not pull the lever for Nader so that he could get 5% of the vote and his party could receive federal matching funds in the next election cycle, thus creating a viable third party? Had the Rude Pundit lived in, say, Florida, he would have voted for Gore.
But there was one controversial part of Nader's campaign that did appeal to him. The Rude Pundit believed that there were more similarities between Bush and Al Gore than differences, as Nader and many other liberals said. That thought, so radical at the time, now just seems childish in retrospect, an indulgence of a time when the nation seemed so strong that no single president could drag it so very far down.
Just as childish is voting for the lesser of two evils because, at the end of the day, you're still voting for evil.
Shortly after the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya, you could read this headline over at CNN's website: "Drones expected to hunt for suspects in Libya attack." If your first reaction is "No shit," that you simply expect this nation to use "targeted" missile attacks to deal with every problem in the Middle East - you can be certain that the headline would not have been there had the attack been on the embassy in, say, Denmark - then you have an understanding of how little moral authority the United States can claim in the world.
If your reaction was "No shit" followed by "No wonder they wanna blow us up," then it actually matters to you that America under Obama executes people without trial constantly. And you can only sadly laugh when Mitt Romney or some right-wing spooge bucket says stupid shit like that the President sympathizes with Muslim protesters or terrorists. What the fuck else do they want to prove otherwise? Another war? Oh, wait, right. It never occurs to them that a little bit of sympathy might actually go a long way to stopping the violence.
On and on it goes with the Obama administration. After a ruling that placed a permanent injunction on a part of the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act that allowed the government to indefinitely detain anyone who glanced in the direction of someone, including citizens, who glanced in the direction of a terrorist organization, the Justice Department filed an appeal. You got that, right? Barack Obama is asserting the right to indefinitely detain Americans in military custody if they meet criteria the administration refused to define for the judge. So you don't even know what you'd have to do to get snatched by authorities and jailed in Who-the-Fuck-Knows, Romania.
Meanwhile, after ten years of detention, without charge, despite being recommended for release, a poor bastard named Adnan Latif died in custody at the prison at Guantanamo Bay naval base. In 2010, a federal judge ordered his release because he wasn't guilty of anything. It wasn't the Bush administration that appealed the judge's order and had it reversed.
There's this part of Robert's Rules of Order that is aggravating as hell but makes so much sense. It says that you can ask for reconsideration of a motion only if you voted for the winning side of it. The rule prevents the losers from being able to do so because it's only natural that they'd want to gum up the works. But if you voted for a motion and then want to reconsider? That has greater weight.
The Rude Pundit votes because that's what you do in a presumptive democracy, especially if when it comes to a presidential election. For him, not voting is simply not an option. He respects your right to take a stand by staying home, but that's not for him. He will not smoke that drug. He will not fuck that orifice. Everyone's got a line, and that's his. And, frankly, there's no third party candidate he gives a damn about to throw in with.
It's easy to attack the person you didn't vote for. The Rude Pundit did it for 8 years. It's a hell of a lot harder, and perhaps carries more weight, to attack the person who did get your vote.
When he votes for Barack Obama, he will do so in part because he does not want Mitt Romney to have the power that Obama has amassed, greater power than the kind we protested so vociferously in the Bush administration. That power isn't going away any time soon. We see that in the vote in the House to extend secret, warrantless surveillance on Americans overseas. We see that in the drone war. No one should be trusted with the power to kill anyone, anywhere, based on secret evidence. It needs to be stopped, but it's happening.
It ain't gonna change if Obama isn't reelected. It will get worse. And we would end up in a war with Iran along with tax cuts for the wealthy. That's an America that is far worse than anything we can conjure under Obama. And for this voter, that vision is enough to sway him.