Bullshit like this gives left-wingers a bad name…

This article is the type of rubbish crackpot bullshit that makes people vote Republican.

Now before you go all apopleptic and tell people on the interweb that I’ve just said you should vote for that smirking chimp currently squatting in the White House, gimme a minute to explain myself.

The sentiments expressed in the above article by Carolyn Baker are the left-wing (I hate the whole left/right dichotomy, but it’s useful shorthand for the moment) equivalent to uber right-wing loons like Bill O’Reilly. She doesn’t agree 100% with John Kerry so she’s decided that he’s not only no better than Dubya, but that he’s no different at all. Not only that, but she’s convinced herself that no form of vote in the coming general election in November will be valid, so she’s not going to bother.

Firstly, John Kerry’s not perfect. Far from it. But Dubya and his posse aren’t just bad, they’re dangerous. Bill Clinton was a pretty mediocre President, but he wasn’t a clear and present danger to all the institutions that make this country at all worth living in. Likewise, John Kerry is a bit of a choad. But he’s a conventional choad, while the Bush administration is filled with radical conservatives and religious nuts who, given another four years in office, might just leave us with a country that’s not worth saving by the time they’re done.

Secondly, while I actually do believe that not voting is a viable form of political protest, I think convincing yourself that you’re not going to vote because your vote won’t count anyway is a self-fulfilling prophecy. I hate those thrice-cursed Diebold voting machines, and I do think that they ought to create a paper trail, but I don’t base these opinions on conspiracy theories regarding the political contributions the board members of Diebold have made in the last couple of decades. Why on earth should anyone be surprised that the officers of a major US corporation contribute to Republican causes and candidates? The GOP is the party of big business. Always has been, and frankly that doesn’t bother me one bit. Every member of our society deserves the right to representation of their views in our mostly democratic government, even if I don’t agree with them. Big business gives money to the GOP because it’s the GOP who fight for business. Big businesses who donate to Democratic candidates (the real sort, not the Clintonite, faux-Democrat sort) are engaged in an act of self-loathing. It makes as much sense for them to support the Democrats as it does for poor blacks in Detroit to vote Republican.

I base my distrust of voting machines that don’t leave a hard copy backup behind on my years of experience with electronic equipment and computers. Software is only as good as the folks who write the lines of code that make it up. Hardware is only as good as the printed circuits and diodes that make it up. Both can be hugely flawed without anyone realizing it. Both can also be easily manipulated by anyone with enough time, resources and will to do so.

Ms. Baker’s assertion that the best way for people who object to our country’s political direction is to vote with their pocketbooks by avoiding the mainstream media is, well, honestly, just stupid. She’s buying into the mirror-image of the lame-brained argument one often hears from folks like Bill O’Reilly about the media being a tool of the liberal establishment. The media are controlled by big corporations. Most of them have one thing that motivates them – profits. They’ll support whatever they think will help them meet that goal. Some do it by being liberally slanted, some by a conservative bias and some by being braindead and tawdry.

Ms. Baker, like a lot of dumbasses who give the left-wing a bad name, acts as if no segment of the population is in favor of the things that the NeoCons who control the White House are doing or trying to do. The problem with that sort of thinking is that it ignores the real problem faced by political progressives trying to push forward their agenda – that a significant portion of the population genuinely agree with the NeoCon agenda. They portray what they’re up against as if they just need to eliminate a few old white guys who manipulate our nation from behind closed doors in smoky rooms. What they’re really up against is about half the nation who think that most other countries are up to no good, people from other countries are not to be trusted, that taxes are evil, that god is not only a 100% real factor in the affairs of the world but also a jealous tribal deity who must be placated with the blood of non-believers and that the expansion of civil rights to include women, people of color and homosexuals is not only a mistake that must be reversed but likely an affront to the God they believe in.

This is the trouble that lots of self-identified liberals and plenty of conservatives have with Democracy. They only like it when the vote swings their way. They cannot accept that they may, at times, be in the minority, and accept that what goes along with that is eating big plates of crow for four to eight years at a time.

Instead of pouting in a corner because the powers that be aren’t exactly how you’d like them, it’s far more constructive to find a way to make changes where you can, to influence the process where you can. And certainly, you should avoid giving money to people or organizations you disagree with, but shutting yourself into a box with only those folks who agree with you is self-defeating and self-limiting. Being counter-cultural is positive. Being anti-cultural is boneheaded.

Comments are closed.