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Freedom Rider: Not Voting for Obama

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Reprinted from the Black Agenda Report

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

The top Democrat and Republican have clashed face-to-face three times -- and emerged far more alike than different. "Given this degree of collusion, why would it be so terrible if Obama lost?" The presidential electoral exercise looks more like an exorcism in which both parties are the Devil.

Freedom Rider : Not Voting for Obama

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

" The three presidential debates between Obama and Mitt Romney showed more agreement than disagreement."

Two weeks before Election Day, most polling indicates that Barack Obama has sufficient support to win an electoral college victory. If the past four years are any indication, that victory will do little to help the millions of people who put Obama in office. His claims of success are either dubious or obviously harmful for people in this country and around the world.

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The health care plan is a great unknown, not the Medicare for all that we need, but a bail out of the private insurance companies who have created the health care crisis in the first place. The war in Iraq which Obama brags about ending would have ended no matter who was in office because Bush signed an agreement mandating the departure of most combat troops. Obama has used the Federal Reserve to bail out the banks to the tune of 16 trillion dollars.

The three presidential debates between Obama and Mitt Romney showed more agreement than disagreement. Obama proclaimed that he and Romney probably agreed about Social Security, that is to say, both think it should be on the budgetary chopping block. Romney was forced to say during the third debate on foreign policy that he agreed with the president on crushing the Iranian economy or killing people with drones or thousands of Syrians in an effort to over throw their president.

Given this degree of collusion, why would it be so terrible if Obama lost? His supporters argue that the end is near if Mitt Romney is inaugurated in January 2013. They point out that he would overturn Roe v. Wade and appoint conservatives to the federal judiciary. He has said that he will repeal the Obama health care plan, but the benefits of "Obamacare" are unknown and it isn"t clear what sort of repeal Romney would enact when he pushed through a nearly identical plan in Massachusetts.

" The ever-rightward moving shift of the Democrats has brought us to this juncture."

As we have pointed out in Black Agenda Report, it is a lack of progressive activism which has precipitated this crisis. In the absence of strong and coordinated opposition to Democratic Party duplicity, progressives meekly go along with whatever bad deals are presented to them and then recoil in fear every four years when they are told that the barbarians are at the gate. Republicans only help make the case for this complicity with openly racist and misogynistic policies.

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Now that the White House has publicly announced a continuation of its kill list program, complete with an Orwellian term "disposition matrix" used to justify murder, it is time to question all of the assumptions which lead us to the polls and guide us how to vote. It is obvious that Obama and the Democrats are not the lesser of two evils. They are just the more effective evil, having made their evil more palatable to their supporters. The ever-rightward moving shift of the Democrats has brought us to this juncture, where we are told to fear Republicans who are more radical on social issues precisely because the Democrats have copied them in every other aspect. If Democrats also believe in wars of aggression and bail outs and subservience to finance capital, Republicans are only left with abortion and gay marriage as issues to differentiate themselves.

Progressives are protecting less and less with each election cycle. The winner-take-all electoral system makes other parties irrelevant and relegates them to spoiler status, but the argument against supporting them is weaker as the system deteriorates. The argument that voting changes nothing for the average person is a valid one, and the sight of Romney and Obama declaring agreement on the issues of empire and finance makes that point quite clearly.

We are left with a plea to honor the memories of those who sacrificed, sometimes with their lives, during the freedom struggles of the 1960s. But those people fought and died for full citizenship rights, of which voting was just a part. No one today should worry about dishonoring or dismissing their sacrifice by refusing to take part in the farce that national elections have now become.

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Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and maintains an edifying and frequently updated blog at More of her work is also available at her Black Agenda (more...)

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