What to do when there is no right answer.

Progressives and the Ron Paul fallacies – Glenn Greenwald – Salon.com.

This article raises several uncomfortable questions that APV and its members will be struggling with in 2012.  To our credit I think, we have not ignored the many failings of this president, still many of us I’m sure, feel pulled in multiple directions, and I for one will not refuse to participate out of some sense of political purity.  So what’s a body to do?

Right now I guess I’m with Katrina vanden Heuvel, Paul is repugnant, but he’s the only one raising questions that need to be addressed and for that reason he needs to be taken seriously by us on the left.  He may come to the same places I do,  or at least much closer to them than the president, but I can’t say I’d ever pull the lever for him, mostly because he gets to these places by taking a series of twisty, turny back roads through crazyville and racist town.

“There are, as I indicated, all sorts of legitimate reasons for progressives to oppose Ron Paul’s candidacy on the whole. But if your only posture in the 2012 election is to demand lockstep marching behind Barack Obama and unqualified scorn for every other single candidate, then you are contributing to the continuation of these policies that liberalism has long claimed to detest, and bolstering the exclusion of these questions from mainstream debate”.

Here’s how Greenwald would describe an honest Obama supporter, I don’t know if I agree with his characterization completely, but I don’t think he’s far wrong either.  It is the conundrum of our times, I am so tired of voting for the lesser of two evils.

“Yes, I’m willing to continue to have Muslim children slaughtered by covert drones and cluster bombs, and America’s minorities imprisoned by the hundreds of thousands for no good reason, and the CIA able to run rampant with no checks or transparency, and privacy eroded further by the unchecked Surveillance State, and American citizens targeted by the President for assassination with no due process, and whistleblowers threatened with life imprisonment for “espionage,” and the Fed able to dole out trillions to bankers in secret, and a substantially higher risk of war with Iran (fought by the U.S. or by Israel with U.S. support) in exchange for less severe cuts to Social Security, Medicare and other entitlement programs, the preservation of the Education and Energy Departments, more stringent environmental regulations, broader health care coverage, defense of reproductive rights for women, stronger enforcement of civil rights for America’s minorities, a President with no associations with racist views in a newsletter, and a more progressive Supreme Court.”

What a Hobbsian choice is that.

I will say this, the Obama presidency should be a lesson to us all, not to support individuals, but policies, not good intentions, but concrete actions.  I’m not a big believer in third parties or withdrawing from the battle because we don’t like the ground it’s being fought on, but we, as progressives have to do a better job exerting the power we do have.  This president may well get my vote on election day, but he will not get the money, the time or the effort he got from me in 2008.  Maybe he can win without it, probably he can, but if not, it is his own fault  I’ve suffered from battered liberal syndrome for long enough.

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One response

  1. Many of the same sentiments I struggle with.

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