The American Election…

Well we’ve arrived at a pretty terrible spot. If the election looks like it’s going to be close, do we vote for Clinton to stop the much more dangerous megalomaniacal racist and crypto-fascist Donald Trump? We know Clinton is the usual run of the mill liberal, talking a good game about being a progressive while taking millions from Wall Street and with a foreign policy that would make any hawk proud. They’re both beholden to the 1% who put them into play, but one could make the case that Clinton (with a new democratic party platform that Sanders helped push for) might actually bring about some much needed reforms (while we know that reforms are not enough…), while Trump would be a disaster for the middle and working class and would destroy what little remains of the progressive changes won in the 60s and even destroy many of the gains brought about by the New Deal. On the other hand, if the election isn’t close, and Clinton holds her lead, should we vote for a third party, like the Greens, in an attempt to bolster the numbers they need in order to be invited to future presidential debates, in order for them to be taken more seriously and subsequently be given more media time, a chance to open up the realm of acceptable political discourse to a party truly of the left? What will it take for the two party system’s grip on power, the culture, media, and the minds of the masses? Should we remain ideologically “pure”, and abstain from voting all together, claiming as anarchists do, that the differences between the two parties are superficial since both really only represent the interests of capital and state, and that only direct action, radical grass-roots organizing and educating, and working to build alternative institutions and networks of power and resistance outside the electoral process can truly bring about social change, be it reforms to make people’s lives better in the short-term or more revolutionary change? Without wanting to start some long theoretical debate, and at the risk of losing my “street cred”, I think abstaining from participating in the electoral process, however rigged, however limited in the change it can bring, and however corrupt it is, is just irresponsible and self-righteous, more-radical-than-thou dogmatism. If at any time in the history of American politics there has been a real difference between the candidates, with one truly being a much greater evil, it is this time. There is an urgent need to stop Trump at any and all costs, even at the cost of voting for a card-carrying member of the 1% who will likely ignore a progressive party platform and continue a militaristic foreign policy. There are important differences between Clinton and Trump, let alone Trump and Jill Stein of the Greens. Millions of Americans can’t afford to wait for anarchist and other radical groups to garner the mass support that makes direct actions feasible, the earth can’t afford a president like Trump who would de-regulate big businesses, allowing them to cause further damage to both humans and the environment and who denies climate change. We can’t afford to have a president so brazen in his racism, beholden to the fundamentalist Christian right, and determined to bring back trickle-down economics, further widening the gap between the haves and the have-nots. We can’t afford a president who pledges to bring back “law and order” at a time when the police in this country are wantonly killing minorities and becoming increasingly militarized. We can’t afford to have someone as unpredictable, ill-mannered, arrogant, and lacking in any foreign policy experience at the head of the world’s mightiest military machine, with access to the nuclear button. From mass deportations, to his ridiculous wall, to his racist, Islamaphobic immigration policy, Trump has been and should be, reminding us of Adolf Hitler, another megalomaniac racist who not enough people took seriously enough until it was too late. So people, it’s time to be a little more flexible in terms of strategy, a little less fixated on remaining ideologically “uncorruptable” or “pure”, and think about ending the long-standing tradition of refusing to participate in the political process on principle. We need to analyze the current situation, accept that operating outside the political process exclusively has not been entirely successful in even bringing about reforms, let alone capable of preserving the gains that have been made, and accept that it’s time to vote, knowing full-well that it won’t bring the revolution, knowing full-well that you’ll be voting for someone who will hold and use state power, probably in many cases against your own interests and ideals, because in this election there is a substantial threat that must be stopped, even if Clinton is as awful as the usual politician. Let me use a rather crude metaphor. We can’t keep standing on principle while things keep going to hell. Especially now. Non-participation this time is just plain stupid and politically immature, lacking in historical understanding.

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