I cast my ballot in the 2004 presidential
election early in October, almost one month before election day. Vermont allows
registered voters to cast absentee ballots without reason for up to 30 days
before the election. All voting in Vermont's town and cities is
accomplished with a paper trail. There are no touch screens anywhere
in the state. Instead,
local citizens meticulously count, check and double check by hand the
vote count. I listened to the two war party vice presidential candidates
in their so-called debate as I checked boxes on my large yellow ballot. Neither Dick Cheney
nor John Edwards said a word during their meeting about the
tragedies in Palestine and Haiti,
two countries in which the United States government is complicit in
human misery. Listening to the parallel interviews of the two millionaires
thoughts toward the
arrogance of wealth and power. I thought about the rich and powerful,
mostly men, who economically enslave millions around the world with self-sanctifying
mendacity. The rich ruling elite say they are exporting democracy and
freedom code words for capitalism and neo-liberalism.
wages come through controlling and oppressing workers often by way of
proxy dictators and
paramilitary forces. The United States has little objection to
dictators who make their nations amenable to neo-liberalism. Trujillo, Abacha, Batista, Amin, Diem, Botha, Pol Pot, Park Chung Hee, Pahlavi, Marcos,
Suharto, Sukarno, Saddam, Noriega, Stroessner, Al Zu Haq, Martinez,
Cerezo, Bolkiah, Pinochet, Samoza, Musharaf, quickly come
to mind. Dictators become evil when they are no longer proxies of
the superpower. A useful dictator is a good dictator, beyond tolerated and
well supported. Bad dictators are dictators that fall from
grace and must be replaced.
Manipulating misery guarantees
ever lower wages a mandatory component of capitalism. Abject poverty
provides a never-ending pool of available and cheap labor, always
understandably willing to accept submission in exchange for sustenance. Good
paying U.S. jobs disappear as workers struggling to survive on pennies per
day in so-called
developing countries suck decent paying jobs out of the United States.
Entire families survive on
the trivial wage of $3.00 per day. Hundreds of millions of workers around the
world earn such meager wages. Capitalism
commodifies all resources including labor and must by necessity transfer
jobs to where labor is cheaper, the cheaper the better. What does it matter if human rights are
violated and human dignity made irrelevant in the process?
Using biblical prophecy that the
"Poor will always be with us" as
justification, U.S. foreign policy adopts a divine self-fulfilling mission to make it so. We are a
of believers convinced that God has picked the United States as his
favorite amongst all creation. We are special in the vast universe.
Chosen! Manifest destiny demands we honor God's will. Who better to lead in God's name than the current occupant of the
White House who talks to the Lord daily and receives guidance
the almighty? God, he would have us believe, wants the world
to be exploited so believers can get richer and richer. It
matters not whether the resource is land, bauxite, gold, diamonds, fruit, hard wood,
oil, labor, etc., God wants those who belief in him to get wealthier and more
powerful until they own and control the world. Corporate
believers in the
Lord deserve as much.
What type of mind revels in wealth attained
off of the backs of the downtrodden? What ethic adopts a divine paradigm under which
imperialism flourishes at the expense and suffering of poor
people? Is it
not the height of absurdity that the top U.S. leaders wear their
Christianity on their sleeves while Jesus advocated giving up
everything and, "Come follow me"? As slaughter takes
place in Jesus' name the war in Iraq is called a crusade. The magnates and CEOs of the
military-industrial-complex plan more crusades, more of the same, in
perpetuity, well, at least until the rapture.
The U.S. government and their
religious Reich talking heads want us to believe that God is on our
side. Neo-fascists are good at telling us what God wants and what we
should do to please him and them. I can see no better rationale nor reason to
dismiss the existence of a deity than by using God's name in justifying killing, carnage and mayhem for
profit and wealth, for victory in "perpetual" war in the Lord's
name. It is a sick and twisted mind that prays for success as it
preys with religious justification upon the impoverished of the earth.
No religion has a
corner on such twisted thinking as religions provide fear and the opiate
of redemption drugging and inciting the masses into following along.
Like sheep they go slaughtering
and being slaughtered. Religious oppression and
fanaticism of all stripes exploit the people's existential
angst. Televangelists peddle simplistic answers to life's major questions.
Better to be handed fairy tales than doing the hard work necessary in
making sense of our lives. It is easier to accept "truth" handed down by snake oil
ministries than to critically think for oneself. After all, who has the
time to use one's brain! Let someone else use theirs for us.
While filling out my absentee ballot, I
imagined the neo-con and liberal crowd that brought us "Shock and awe", "Bring
on", and perpetual war to the world. I imagined Dick Cheney, George Bush,
Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleza Rice, Karl Rove, Paul Wolfowitz, John
Negroponte, John Kerry, John Edwards, and the rest
of the pro-war team standing barefoot on soapboxes in
central square Baghdad or in Port au
Prince. I imagined them reading Jesus' "Sermon on the Mount".
I wondered if Jesus in his daily conversations with Resident Bush
would say, "You know,
George, I supported you in your policy of Shock and Awe. I'm with
you on preventive war. Bomb first and I'll sort it out later. God bless!"
would Jesus do? Who would Jesus bomb? What stocks would Jesus invest
in? Would Christ have a diversified portfolio? Would Jesus own
holdings in corporations doing work at the McAlester Army Ammunition
Plant in Oklahoma which stores 22-million pounds of uranium and
depleted uranium weapons? Would the Prince of Peace drop 1,000-pound bunker buster
bombs on residential neighborhoods? How many millions of cluster bomblets
would the apostles be willing to spread onto the innocent children of Iraq?
Would Mary, mother of God approve of depleted uranium munitions? Imagine Jesus in the Garden of Eden today somewhere in the
Middle East, perhaps Iraq. Imagine him as he witnesses the carnage
around the world looking skyward
saying again, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they
do" as he inhales depleted uranium dust and picks up
a cluster bomblet.
Jesus, victim of capital punishment, is being
called upon by the divinely selected "president" for guidance in punishing the
masses of innocent Iraqis for the audacity of having our oil under
their land. Perhaps, Jesus reminds George: "Thou shalt not
bear false witness against thy neighbor. Thou shalt not covet thy
neighbor's goods. Thou shalt not kill." But,
listen J.C., how dare the poor Iraqi and other West Asian people keep our Texas tea
hidden under their desert? Ashes to ashes. Sand to sand. We'll get our oil
out, the world be damned! And by the way Jesus, "We do need to spread Christianity in the Middle East before you
officially return. Should we invade Iran next? Why not? They
have our oil under their sand too. So much oil in so
many countries." Sooner or later, the United States public
will awaken from its credit card-indebted consumerist stupor and SUV-drugged oil
addiction and realize that the U.S. government's policies and our consumption
lifestyle are neither Christian nor ethical nor
conducive to a peaceful planet.
Aleida Guevara, consultant pediatrician and
the eldest daughter of Ernesto Che Guevara, the Argentinean born Cuban
revolutionary, based at the William Soler Children's Hospital in Havana
speaking about imperialism writes, "It is only because of the wealth looted from our lands and
our people that their present high standards of living are
possible." By our people, she means the salt of the earth,
fellow workers struggling to have a decent basic life. Guevara
stresses that, "A better world is possible. The challenge lies in
being able to act, rather than just talk."
John Kerry said, "We’ll never go to
war because we want to; we’ll only go to war because we have to”.
What he doesn't say is that oil is a commodity that the superpower must
offers pretend antiwar sympathies while fostering an aggressive
posture that rivals and often exceeds Bush. The propagation of the
lie that Iraq and 9/11 are connected continues even after all the evidence
concludes otherwise. God bless the propagandists. The major
presidential candidates fail to mention that Iraq had nothing to do with
September 11, 2001. Fifteen of the nineteen hijackers who attacked the Twin Towers
came from the country of the
Bush family's closest friends: the Saudi family of Saudi Arabia.
None of the hijackers came from Iraq. Kerry does not admonish Bush
for going to war under false pretenses. Rather, he criticizes Bush
for poorly conducting the war and offers the alternative of a more
effective violence. Bravo John. Have you also been having late
night chats with J.C. lately? Perhaps, Jesus is sharing his notes on
his conversations with George?
In the third and final debate on October
13, 2004, George Bush claimed the high moral ground on stem cell
research. Bush opposes new stem cell research. Is it not
hypocritical and ironic that Bush professes the sanctity of blastocysts while
dropping 1,000 pound bombs from 40,000 feet on heavily populated Iraqi
cities? George W. Bush as governor of Texas signed 152 execution
orders making him the most prolific state-sanctioned killer in United
States history. Bush favors the execution of people whose IQs are
less than 62 or who are mentally ill. The claim that all human life
is precious somehow rings hollow.
My mother-in-law, Mary, reminds me that
over a thirty-year period, Saddam Hussein killed 30,000 of his own
people. She is quick to point out that in a year and a half the United
killed 15,000 Iraqis, mainly civilians including children. At this
rate, it will take the U.S. 2 years to surpass the butcher of Baghdad's
record. We are to believe that the people of Iraq will be eternally
grateful to the United States for bringing "freedom and democracy" to
them through the barrel of the gun and the blast of a bunker buster.
Shock and awe? Shame and awful! Bush and Kerry both want to lead us to
victory in Iraq. What
does that mean? What would victory in Iraq look like?
Pat LaMarche, the Vice Presidential
candidate of the Green Party, said the current U.S. president is the
worst president in history and that this election has a serious competitor for that
title in John Kerry. It did not take me long to
place an "X" next to Ralph Nader's name on my absentee
ballot. The act of voting for Nader maintains my dignity. I cast
my vote in hope rather than fear. My not voting for "more of the same" advances slightly the
possibility that democracy will move forward. We need not continue
walking in two lines as if lemmings heading over the edge of the cliff.
people than ever question the broken two party system. More
people than ever see presidential elections as frauds perpetrated by a
one party system offering two similar options: candidates of privilege and
wealth, puppets of megacorps who occupy the government. Bush and
Kerry, both members of the secret Yale society Skull and Bones, offer only more of the same as each casts the other as being the
Either way, the duopoly insures the corporations win. The Republican and Democratic parties enable each other for
they are beholden to the same cash cows that finance both their campaigns.
Every favor deserves a return on investment. Such duplicity of the duopoly
brought us the PATRIOT Act, NAFTA, the WTO, No Child
Left Behind, and the War on Iraq, which according to Bush ended on May 2,
2003. Advancing democracy requires people having courage in freeing themselves from what
Peter Camejo (Nader's vice presidential running mate) calls the electoral
My vote for Ralph Nader and Peter Camejo is a ballot cast for hope and a
refusal to no-longer sanction the fraud of the two major parties.
George Orwell wrote, "In a time of
universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act".
Voting for Kerry or Bush, knowing that neither candidate's positions
are acceptable, strengthens the chains and the stranglehold the Democratic
and Republican parties have
over the electorate. Voting against our conscience invalidates it.
It lends credibility to the embedded corrupt electoral institutions
that stifle and limit other options. How can freedom loving people tolerate
enabling those who oppress other than Republican and Democratic voices and choices? How many more years will the delusion
continue? How much longer will we perpetuate systemic electoral
malfeasance by providing our stamp of approval onto the
farce that elections have become? I reject the so-called "two
party" system. I cast my
ballot in the 2004 presidential election in the hope that the people will
some day expunge the Republican and Democratic
parties' stranglehold on elections. I will not
fraud ever again. A free people should never to have to. It is
time to rise up against King George. It is time to throw some tea overboard. This
it be Texas tea.
"The oppressed are allowed once every few
years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class
are to represent and repress them." - Karl Marx
"I start with the premise that the function
of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers." -