My Turn: Choices do exist
I have read Tim Blagg and others lamenting the lack of choice between the Democrat and Republican presidential candidates.
In 1988, the League of Women Voters withdrew sponsorship of the presidential debates because, according to League President Nancy Neuman, “the demands of the Republicans and Democrats perpetrate a fraud on the American voter. It has become clear to us that the candidates’ organizations aim to add debates to their list of campaign-trail charades devoid of substance, spontaneity and answers to tough questions. The League has no intention of becoming an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American public.”
The most dangerous person to any government, wrote H.L. Mencken, is the one who is able to think for oneself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos, coming to the conclusion that the government is dishonest, and if one tries to change it, is very apt to spread discontent.
One taboo is that we cannot have free or virtually free college tuition, as when I got my undergraduate degree in 1970. What has changed is the largest mass transfer of wealth over 30 years into the hands of the rich. Intentionally done by both Republicans and Democrats, it has increased the gap between rich and poor, the latter becoming increasingly disenfranchised, too often through a penal system that has the highest per capita incarceration rate in the world. Does this mean that the US is the most violent country? Or that we deal with poverty by locking it up? We haven’t locked up even one sub-prime, predatory lender who has put millions out of their homes. Instead, our government rewarded these financiers with billion dollar bailouts while saying no to a moratorium on foreclosures. But as Obama said, “Their job is to make money and they were just doing their job.”
Another taboo is single-payer health care, and the myth that it will compromise health service delivery. We are the only industrialized nation without a single payer medicare-for-all system, as I had when I worked for several years overseas with the U.S. government and the United Nations. WHY? Because it is cheaper, less complicated, more efficient, comprehensive, and less likely to have worker and patient exploitation to maximize profits. But hey, just ask the Baystate nurses.
There is the myth of lesser evils. Tell a Pakistani parent that “lesser evil” just killed their baby. Tell anyone in the U.S. that lesser evil just foreclosed on their home. Or as Einstein put it, “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”
Only the views of Mitt and Barack are on TV or in the newspaper, in the polls, and at the podiums in their two-person debate. Why is there such a massive, intentional cover up? The Greens and Libertarians are each on enough state ballots to win a majority of electoral votes. They each qualify for matching funds. Why are Mitt and Barack so afraid of what the 99 percent have to say? Is it merely a matter of simple math, that 99 is greater than one?
Hundreds of millions of dollars from a small group of individuals are being spent by the two corporate parties to control the spin in an attempt to convince Americans that they have a clear choice between Mitt and Barack. It is not a choice, rather a maintenance of the status quo. Neither wishes to share the stage with Dr. Jill Stein who freely speaks truth to power — a candidate who stands on a platform of building a sustainable economy and creating a future that puts the dignity of Americans ahead of corporate interests. Her positions align with the great majority of voters who need only to let her speak for them.
An alternative voice is urgently needed and Dr. Stein’s deserves to be heard. Elections are only spoiled when candidates and their policies are suppressed. It is the politics of fear. The only wasted vote is the one that goes unused or is used to support something in which you don’t believe.
Tom Neilson is a folk musician and public health worker who lives in Greenfield. His song “Why Won’t Obama Debate” is currently #1 on the Soundclick folk music charts.