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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/19/10

Brits Prove "Lesser of Two Evils' is False

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Message Jeffrey Rock

Can you imagine what would have been the outcome if Gandhi or King compromised their principles? What would have happened in 1776 if Americans decided to relent in the face of incredible adversity? Every progressive must ask themselves this question: Is it better to have a Democratic party in power that is only marginally different than the right wing Republican party or is it better to fight for our true beliefs, never compromise our ideals, support true progressives and hopefully one day achieve a true progressive victory? Is hope for a progressive future better than resignation to a compromised present?

We have for years fallen for the lesser of two evils concept. This is understandable. In light of the destruction that Bush and Reagan inflicted upon our nation it is no wonder people are afraid of yet another group of right wing politicians in control. But when Gandhi faced the murderous and violent British he was undoubtedly confronted many times with the realization that his very opposition to the British actually caused more deaths and hardship. Gandhi chose to stand up for his principles even in the face of this reality. The British offered him many compromises and yet he stood tall and strong against the fear and eventually won. That is how history is made. That is how to "do the right thing." It is time that progressives emulated their cherished leaders from the present and past. The British are doing it and showing us it is possible. We must stand strong even if this causes more hardship in the short run. If we are not willing to accept this responsibility then we are giving up on what we know is the right thing to do. All our admired leaders of the past stood strong in the face of impossible odds and adversity in order to achieve their goals. Today, the time has come for us to do the same. It is now our time. We must rise to the challenge, overcome our fears and emulate those whom we cherish and admire.

We are witnessing a revolution in British politics and a sea change in the two party system in Britain. For the first time in recent history the Liberal Democrats are winning the battles. Today they took the lead in opinion polls over both of their rival parties even though those two parties have controlled the government for many decades. This action fully vindicates all the lost elections they have suffered for so long. They never compromised their progressive agenda merely to gain more political power.

On the other hand, US progressives who have been terrorized by Republican policies have consistently supported moderate Democrats solely based on the fear generated by the lesser of two evils concept. They have exchanged principles for power. However, the results of their efforts have yielded nothing. Moderate Democrats have failed miserably to enact any progressive reforms. Moderate Democrats have relied on progressives for support and every time they have won, they have turned their backs on those who are responsible for their victory. Obama is just another in a long line of moderate Democrats who have sold out their progressive base. Clinton signed into law NAFTA and is 100% responsible for the exodus of US jobs to Asia. He did not insist that the free trade agreement include any provisions to protect the environment or workers. He also signed the repeal of the Glass/Stegall Act, thus allowing banks to become gambling casinos that have now endangered our entire economy and way of life. During his reign a new term appeared; "neo-liberal." The neo-liberal economic policies he put into practice are no different than the neo-conservative policies. Making up cool words to describe his economic policies was just a thin veil intended to mislead us all. It worked.

Today we are (or should be) much the wiser. We have witnessed our hopes and desires sacrificed on the altar of compromise and bipartisanship. Is this the kind of change we voted for? Is this a great victory to celebrate? Have we achieved the goals we set out to achieve? No, no and no.

The British have proven, and Americans should take notice, that the concept of the lesser of two evils is not something we need fear. We do not need to compromise all that we hold dear just so that we can have a party that is marginally better than the Republicans. We do not need to vote from terror any longer. We need to muster the kind of courage exemplified by King and Gandhi, whose legacies we hold so dear. We need to shuck the shackles of fear propaganda promoted by moderate Dems, don the cloak of bravery and perseverance once worn by great leaders like Gandhi and King. In their memory and for our children, we need to stand up for our beliefs in the face of terrible adversity and hold the line. The future depends upon us. We can no longer accept compromise of essential ideals. We can no longer stand by idly, hiding behind the lesser of two evils, hoping our votes will "count' when we know they will only perpetuate a continuation of corporate control and right wing policies. We must take responsibility for our beliefs. We must do the right thing.

If you are a true progressive I beseech you to consider these words and find a progressive candidate behind which you can stand proud and tall. Fear not the inevitable short-term consequence of a Republican Congress or Executive branch and instead fight to the bitter end for what we know in our hearts is right. We must all become fearless leaders and shun the losing proposition of the lesser of two evils by voting for true progressives. It does not even matter to which party they belong. If we show up at the polls in great numbers, as we did in 2008, and vote from our hearts instead of from fear, the Democratic Party will get the message loud and clear. Eventually, after much more hardship and pain we will win, we will be victorious, we will prevail. This is the choice facing every progressive. Do you have the courage to join me and heed the call to fight the good fight?

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An economist for 34 years I have remained committed to social justice and economic equality for as long. As long as we keep voting in Tweedly-Demos and Tweedly-Repugs nothing will change. The only way we can affect the political structure is to (more...)
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