Archive for September, 2008

no, i’m not voting for obama

ok, i said it. i have to admit it’s taken me much longer to come out and say it this time around than in past elections. it’s not that i’ve lied, i just simply haven’t been nearly as outspoken about my refusal to vote democrat this election season as i was in 2000 or 2004. but it’s time. i mean, i have a freakin’ blog now, so i’ve got to come out with it: no, i am not voting for obama!

i’ve been wondering why i’ve felt so hesitant to speak up about it this time. i suppose because basically the entire left has obama fever. i have seen next to NOTHING critiquing obama from the left. this great article by joshua frank is one of the only things i’ve read on the topic of NOT supporting obama. admittedly, i’ve kind of had my head a bit in the sand for awhile now, and even (*sheepish*) escaping into tv land a bit watching back-to-back episodes of “lost” online until 3am some nights. so i’m sure it’s out there. i hope it is. (please share with me, if you find some!) but at any rate, i don’t think anyone will disagree that the “hope” in obama by far outshadows any dissidence.

in the 2004 election i definitely felt the wrath of kerry-supporters when i advocated for nader. some of my relationships even suffered because of our disagreements on the subject. some people i love invested a lot (time, faith, money) in trying to elect kerry, and were definitely disappointed even to the point of depression when he lost. and my outspoken analysis that “it didn’t matter” didn’t really make any of the kerry-supporters in my life feel so hot, i’m sure. this election feels even more closed off to any challenge to the democrats. i suppose the longer the white house is occupied by the republicans pulling their nasty stunts, the more antsy the left gets, and the deeper they fall down the “anybody but bush” hole. the problem is that the “anybody but a republican” argument really boils down to “nobody but a democrat”. they’re not willing to vote for a third party candidate – they don’t want “anybody but a republican”, they want ONLY a democrat.

and of course this election is “historic”: with hillary’s race to be the first woman to be a major presidential candidate, obama as the first person of color, and now mccain’s oh-so-transparent VP pick of sarah palin – it’s like i’m extra nasty for not voting for the first man of color to win the white house! but no matter who the democratic candidate is – even if they’re the first black lesbian immigrant – i will not vote for him/her!

so let’s get down to it: why won’t i vote for obama or any democrat?
i’m not exactly a revolution-or-nothing person: i do believe in some reforms, incremental changes that can help people survive along the way. but i believe that real change comes from the ground up, by the masses taking power into their own hands. i believe in people creating their own solutions and living out their expectations while at the same time
demanding change from the oppressors.  i believe that capitalism and white supremacy and patriarchy and the domination of the earth and all its inhabitants (animals, plants, and humans) are the root problems in our society, and no democrat in the oval office is going to make a change the size of my pinky nail in terms of reversing any of those problems.

and it’s precisely the epic-ness of obama’s candidacy – being the first man of color, and coming from a supposedly “progressive” platform – that makes me worry even more than the kerry campaign. there are people out there who will insist that electing the first black president is the sure sign that racism is dead in this country. imagine that! poof! racism gone after all these centuries, just because a man of color got hold of the white house. the level of faith people put in democratic candidates astonishes me. no one is demanding anything from obama. the only thing voters on the left are requiring of him is to simply not be bush or mccain. well, he’s already accomplished that: there, he has satisfied all his obligations to the voters, even before day one! he will not have a mandate to do anything we want him to do if he gets into office. and the influence voters’ hard-earned campaign contributions will have on his decisionmaking pales in comparison to the stranglehold that the corporations’ money has him in. who is he going to listen to? who do they ALWAYS listen to?

the complacency that results from people’s investment in democratic candidates makes me worry for our ability to ever create changes for ourselves. why, as a movement, do we spend so much time and resources on trying to elect democrats who don’t do a damn thing for us? i am simply exhausted from wondering why so many “otherwise-enlightened” activists doing great work abandon everything and waste all their resources on elections. part of it is because the money many of us depend on to do our work, in large majority, comes from foundations and major donors – and in election season, they only fund electoral work! everywhere you turn people are spending their time and money on a system we know will fail us.

one of my old coworkers used to always remind us every time we hit our heads on the same wall, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”. has the left gone insane?

if you haven’t seen it, you should watch “an unreasonable man” about ralph nader.

also, this animated short about obama being the “democratic messiah” is pretty damn funny.

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Un-Dam the Klamath! IP3 Action in Portland

congratulations to everyone from the klamath river tribes and the klamath justice coalition for their action at the PacifiCorp headquarters in Portland on Thursday, protesting Warren Buffet’s PacifiCorp-owned dams on the Klamath River that are killing off salmon and native ways of life.  ruckus’s IP3 (indigenous peoples’ power project) has been actively training and supporting native klamath activists in strategic nonviolent direct action tactics in their campaign against PacifiCorp/Warren Buffett’s dams. big ups to marty and IP3!

update from marty:  “crowd of about 30 of 100 crossed the line into pacificorp property and staged a die in. Once resurrected 4 gallons of green algae were escorted by the crowd but were locked out of the building in a standoff that lasted about 20 min. The reclaimed space then became a stage for street theater where a 20 foot dam was broken down by a fish puppet.  Riot cops were about to kick in to high gear when the crowd regrouped to hear testimony from community members, tribal officials, elders, and commercial fishermen.  Community members and local supporters felt great about reclaiming space and disupting business as usual on the anniversary of the 2002 fishkill in which 68,000 salmon were killed by the Pacificorp dams…”

read more about today’s action at the pacificorp headquarters here on portland indybay, and here on the ruckus site.

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on learning to bend

i am a rigid person.  i hold fast to my opinions, and am difficult to persuade otherwise.  my tenacity is one of my strongest assets, but there is a certain brusqueness that seems to be coupled with my unyielding nature.  it’s a package deal (a hereditary gift).  it’s not that i don’t care – i am a deeply compassionate person – but a certain warmth in communication gets sacrificed in my pursuit of simply getting shit done. it’s one of those things i can recognize i’m doing, but i can’t seem to change the behavior.  i grew up in the midwest and consciously worked to drop my midwestern accent upon moving to the northwest for college.  but my true roots betrayed me every time i spoke on the phone with family or friends from back home.  i could immediately detect the long vowels of my hometown slipping back into my speech, but i was powerless to stop them.  now that i’ve long since lost my ability to employ my old midwestern accent even if i try, i can see the sadness in my active eradication of something that was central to my upbringing, simply out of a misguided embarrassment.

whereas in the case of erasing my accent i was trying to rid myself of evidence of my small-town roots – an innocuous though regrettable endeavor – my brusque behavior is one that i believe is actually impairing my happiness, and the happiness of those around me.  it’s like i bring one of those little storm clouds around with me everywhere i go and end up sharing a bit of it with everyone around me, against their will.  some call me pessimistic, negative, whatever it is – but the less-than-positive energy i exude is just something i can’t accept anymore.  i’m trying to learn to bend and yield – to maintain the positive aspects of my realistic and practical nature, but learn to communicate more warmly, in a manner congruent with my values.

i suppose this blog is sort of a public declaration of this commitment, in an attempt to hold myself accountable.  my hope is that focusing my energy in a more creative way, occupying myself with things that make me happy, rather than dwelling on the things that stress me out, will start to simply increase my level of positivity.  therefore, my intentions for this blog are to chronicle any projects i undertake, give me incentive to create more, and share my endeavors with friends and family.  there is no question that i will also post just random links and things that i’m thinking about or cool things people around me are doing or things in this world that simply outrage me.  i can do whatever i want!  but anyway – those are my overarching intentions.  please feel free to comment!

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grand canyon

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