Pyrrhicism – yes, I coined another word, but its time has certainly come, what with all the threats on the Chicken-Little Left to vote third-party or not vote at all come November. And to compound their perfidy, they dare to boast that makes them morally superior.
Really? So when did foolish and reckless behavior become morally superior? When did abdication of responsibility suddenly become noble? Do they somehow imagine they are warriors fighting for a cause?
Perhaps they’ve been brainwashed by the recent comic book-cum-movie 300, you know, the movie with the tag line “Prepare for Glory”. Well, in the case of the Far Left, the tag line ought to be “Beware of Glory”. Note to those who don’t learn from history: The Spartans lost – badly, and their widows and orphans paid the price, too. Life isn’t like the movies.
While we’re on the subject of Thermopylae, one is tempted to say the Far Left is behaving more like Ephialtes, who defected and informed the Persians of another path by which they could outflank the Greeks. Traitorous is perhaps too strong a word to describe these misguided and foolish souls, but blowing their vote on a third-party candidate – or not bothering to vote at all – will not make them heroes. Either way this election turns out, they’ll be losers.
Come the first Wednesday in November, Barack Obama will still be President – or Mitt and Ann Romney will be hiring a decorator – a very expensive decorator – to measure for drapes – very expensive drapes – at the White House. If that’s the case, it will be curtains for the country.
Sacred and Profane
To vote wisely is the most sacred duty we have as citizens. Indeed, it is a sacred trust, a vow each citizen makes, tacitly or otherwise, to educate his or herself about the candidates, and then cast a vote for the candidate most likely to succeed at pursuing policies that will “provide for the common defense and promote the general welfare.”
The vote is no place for pyrrhicism, and it’s certainly no place for childish tantrums. To stick out one’s tongue at the system is not courageous, it’s irresponsible. To throw away your vote is to display the same sort of “courage” as wilding teenagers, besotted drunks, and Teapartian ignoramuses who think compromise is a four-letter word.
Far Left, meet your doppelganger, the Far Right.
There is simply too much at stake in this election to risk even one vote being wasted on a candidate who can’t possibly be any more than a historical footnote. Concerned and educated citizens already know what’s at stake, but the most obvious concern is the Kangaroo Court in Washington that hops from one disastrous decision to the next.
The disastrous decision in Bush v Gore gave us our first unduly elected President, and the horrendous decision in Citizens United gave a handful of citizens with millions more influence over our elections. Any day now, the Court will hand down a decision that could spell the end of the American Healthcare Act, a step toward universal healthcare that has been the goal of Progressives since Republican Teddy Roosevelt first proposed it more than a century ago.
This election will likely determine who will choose the next two or three Justices. By now, it should be obvious to all we can’t afford any more corporate lap-dogs on the Court. If you can’t imagine a worse Court than this one, never fear, Romney can.
For the post-literate, who need simple images to imprint a message, imagine the Corporatocracy as a kangaroo with all those little Joeys – Johnny, Sammy, Anthony and Uncle Tommy – and whoever Romney would add – tucked safely in its pouch. It gives a whole new meaning to “The Land Down Under”.
Good, Bad and Worst
Under our system, the President alone is elected to represent all the people – even those we disagree with vociferously. That’s why they call it a democracy.
Good Presidents – we’ve had a few – pursue policies that benefit the Commonweal and that are politically viable. That is, they must not only take into account the concerns of the people but the content of Congress. Political capital is scarce and lost causes are for losers – witness the Dixiecrats-cum-Republicans, who are still fighting the Civil War 150 years after they lost it. Thus, the South is condemned to forever be the racist, redolent, red-headed stepchild of this country.
Bad Presidents – we’ve had more than a few – and bad Congresses – we’ve had way more than a few – recklessly pursue the goals of a vocal and obstinate – and too often ignorant – minority. That was the lesson of Prohibition, a lesson we forgot, and thus we now suffer the awful consequences of the War on Drugs.
We see this same dynamic in the present Congress, where a vocal and obstinate – and too often ignorant – minority, a ruthless gang of Droogs/Teapartians, is the crowbar in the clockwork.
The worst case is when a President pursues the agenda of a well-heeled minority. That was the lesson of the Great Depression, another lesson we forgot. Thus, we suffer because every President from Reagan through Bush the Least, pursued that agenda with Supply-Side/Kiss the Rich’s Backside, Voodoo/Trickled-On Economics.
The Least of These
Lest I be accused of rank partisanship, I include Clinton among that cadre, and his statements of late only confirm that charge. His Gobblization wet dream was accompanied by a giant sucking sound (sexual allusions are purely in the fetid mind of the reader) – just as Ross Perot predicted. And as I’ve said many times, it was not “the rising tide that lifts all boats”, but the tsunami that sinks all life rafts.
But Clinton was a godsend compared to Bush the Least, who catered only to his friends the Have-Mores, as he liked to refer to them. But Bush at least pretended to be a “compassionate conservative”.
Romney, on the other hand, boasts of being a “severe conservative” who enjoys firing people. If you think things were bad under Bush, get ready for things to get a lot worse for ordinary citizens under Romney.
Frankly, Romney gives every indication of being a sociopath. So one might say this election is between a Sociopath and a Socialist. If only.
Jumping the Shark
The Far Right has selective amnesia and has blotted from its collective mind the horrors of the administration of Bush the Least by blaming those horrors on Obama. Thus, despite all reason and experience, they are ready to double-down on their horrific bet come November – just as they did in November 201o.
Count on it – they will vote like a school of fish for whatever Great White Shark swims into their path. Thus, it is imprudent – nay dangerous, even suicidal – to vote third-party or not at all – unless you enjoy swimming with sharks.
Indeed, Great White Shark is an image even more apt than usual to describe the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party. While some might not agree that Romney is a sociopath, it's more than apparent he’s a political-hack, a vulture capitalist and a pathological liar. And in the view of many on the Right, he’s also a heretic, a member of a dangerous religious cult.
Despite all that – despite their thorough dislike (and in some corners, abhorrence) of Romney, Far Right voters will vote for him en masse. And the Far Left has the temerity to complain about being given the choice of Obama?
Cause and Effect
The Far Left suffers from selective amnesia as well. Their collective mind has blotted-out the lessons of '68, when millions of Democrats deserted the Party in favor of third-party candidate and overt racist George Wallace. I remember it all too well, because my father was among them, god rest his tragically mistaken, racist soul.
That tragic defection gave us Richard Nixon rather than Hubert Humphrey – anyone care to argue how that benefited The Cause?
Okay, for the young who weren’t around then and the drug-addled old hippies who weren’t conscious then, how about the disputed election of 2000 – an election that wouldn’t have been disputed save for all those disaffected votes cast for Ralph Nader.
Anyone on the Left care to explain how those votes benefited The Cause?
It's true that President Obama has been a disappointment in many ways. He, too, has catered to the economic elite, and his appointment of Tim Geithner (among many others) is Exhibit A in that indictment. But I suspect his actions were also intended to try and prevent the Great Depression 2.0.
So far, it’s worked (crossing my fingers).
But any fair measure of his performance must take into account the godawful mess left behind by Bush the Least and congressional Republicans who spent like drunken sailors – and now claim to be deficit hawks. Their hypocrisy is compounded by the fact the most rabid of them come from states that feed like swine from the federal trough.
It’s undeniably true – or ought to be – that Obama has had to swim upstream from the beginning. What’s also undeniably true is Republicans have been pissing in that stream from the beginning.
Given all that, Obama deserves a gentleman's C. That’s good enough to get my vote, given the only real alternative.
Dream the Impossible Scheme
Apparently, a C isn’t good enough for those on the Far Left; they have their eyes fixed on a slice of pie in the sky. Or perhaps I should say a tiny, tiny sliver of pie, since their candidate – Jill Stein of the Green Party – will most likely receive a percentage of the vote with a decimal point in front of it and an asterisk behind it.
As close as this election may be, that could be enough to tip the outcome in favor of Romney. Tell me again how that helps the Cause?
Since the Far Left is so fond of philosophy rather than practicality, perhaps they’ll heed the words of Hegel (with a nod to James Emmerling):
"The goal to be reached is the mind’s insight into what knowing is. Impatience asks for the impossible, wants to reach the goal without the means of getting there. The length of the journey has to be borne, for every moment is necessary ..."
You see, Obama is right about at least one thing – the Perfect is the enemy of the Good. An adolescent longing for and reckless pursuit of Utopia inevitably leads to Dystopia.
Pyrrhic victories may clothe the vainglorious in an ethereal glow, but they inevitably lead to poverty for naked, hungry and desperate widows and orphans left behind. Think about those widows and orphans before you throw away your vote on a pyrrhic “victory”.
Lennon not Lenin
Finally, for those pathetic, misguided souls who imagine the election of Romney will bring on the next Great Depression and thus a revolution, I suggest you heed Lennon not Lenin:
“You say you wanna revolution
We all wanna see the plan”
Frankly, your “plan” sounds eerily like that of those other Fundamentalists, you know, the ones who want to bring on Armageddon and bring back Jesus. With either plan, the center cannot hold.
Take heed, those other Fundamentalists could well be running things come the revolution. You’ve been warned.
©2012 Tom Cordle