Michael Stafford, 11/5/2012 [Archive]

Going Green: My Vote Is My Brick

Going Green: My Vote Is My Brick

By Michael Stafford

Dissent is light in a darkening world. It is the flickering flame of hope, love, and human decency around which people of good will can gather, warm themselves, and survive the night.

Four years ago, our nation endured a financial calamity.Three decades of deregulation, militarism, and tax policy skewed in favor of the wealthy- a veritable bacchanalia of recklessness and greed- turned toxic in a flash. And for most of us, recovery is still an ever-receding mirage in the desert of our desperation.

On Tuesday, America faces its first presidential election since the great collapse. It appears we have not learned any of its lessons.

Mitt Romney is a caricature of our arrogant ruling class, his personal fortune built on lowering wages, slashing benefits, and shipping jobs overseas. His business practices at Bain Capital are a case study in our transition from a consumption economy to cannibalism- financial shell games and looting instead of building real wealth. His ever-shifting contradictory positions are a web of lies.

Democrats claim that a Romney administration would be akin to a third term for George W. Bush.But in many ways the Bush administration never actually ended. President Obama has carried forward much of its domestic and foreign policy agenda with only marginal changes. Indeed, one could argue that President Obama's election in 2008 cemented elite rule at its moment of maximum vulnerability by offering the illusions of "hope" and "change" without the true substance of systemic reform.

Regardless, Bush's assault on civil liberties, through measures like the Patriot Act, continues unabated. Far from turning back abuses of executive power that became commonplace under Bush, Obama has built upon them, expanding the edifice of the security state at the expense of the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments. Together, Bush and Obama have created a lawless imperial presidency.

Obama has also continued the foreign adventures that are financially and morally bankrupting our nation. We left Iraq only because it would not grant our soldiers continued immunity from prosecution. We remain in Afghanistan, and we have expanded our drone campaigns of targeted assassination. Indeed, recent revelations about our use of drones in Pakistan paint a frightening and disturbing picture. Our nation has become a state that targets rescuers and funeral mourners with secondary "double tap" strikes.

In truth, the two major parties offer us only the illusion of choice. The scope of permissible political debate is extremely narrow and tightly controlled. Both parties draw their financial backing from the same sources- the rich and large corporations. Politicians in both parties feed at the same corporate trough and are led to water at the same filthy and polluted hole. The legislation they propose is drafted by the same crew of K Street lobbyists- our modern money changers profaning the people's Temple on Capitol Hill.

As a result, our elections change very little. The nation's trajectory remains on the same inexorable downward course towards a much bleaker, less equal, and more authoritarian future. The interests of the rich, America's own New Class, are advanced and protected no matter who controls Congress, or the White House.

With the collusion of the Democrats and the Republicans, America has become a plutocracy.

Breaking the vice-like grip of the New Class overlords on our politics and economy, ensuring a more equitable distribution of wealth, laying the foundations for broadly-shared prosperity, and avoiding the hellish impacts associated with climate change- supercharged storms, rising seas, drought, and population dislocations (along with all the conflicts and expenses they entail)- ought to be our top priorities. Instead, they are ignored.

Some say that voting for a third party candidate is a waste. Under our present circumstances, I disagree.As Chris Hedges has observed, many of America's historic reform movements began out in the third party wilderness along the political margins. And although they have not been successful electorally, third parties and their candidates have, at times, been able to move the discussion, bringing new issues to the fore.

Today, only one presidential candidate has taken firm stands against both the power behind America's political throne- the Lords of Finance on Wall Street and the other members of our wealthy New Class- and global climate change.

That candidate is the Green Party's Jill Stein.

I dissent. My vote is my brick. On Tuesday, I will hurl it in protest at the plutocracy by voting for Jill Stein.

Join me. In solidarity, there is hope.


©Copyright 2012 Michael Stafford, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Michael Stafford is a former Republican Party officer and the author of "An Upward Calling." Michael can be reached at anupwardcalling@yahoo.com

This column has been edited by the author. Representations of fact and opinions are solely those of the author.

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