Election Year Woes

When I left America, toward the end of 2010, I was so utterly disgusted with American politics and American policy that not following the news in America was easy. I felt that if things continued on their trajectory, I always had the option to just never go back – and I was angry and bitter enough to think that I could pull that off.

Now that I’ve had a year or so to cool down, I realize that I would miss my friends and family way too much not to at least visit them once in a while, which means that I do actually have a stake in making sure that America remains a place that I can at least theoretically go and visit.

Which means that America’s increasingly rapid erosion of civil rights is actually starting to concern me. As one of the 30% of Americans who hold a passport, and as someone who has spent time in “a country that is being ruled by what many would perceive to be Islamic terrorists” and been publicly accused of pro-Iran bias in my analysis of American strategic interests in Georgia, I am now at risk of being snatched up at the airport by jackbooted thugs, handcuffed, blindfolded, taken out of the country, and thrown in a deep dark hole until my rotted corpse is dug up by developers building a brand new shopping mall.

I know that Obama’s robot army (and the accompanying secret assassination list) means that I am in danger of being killed from the sky no matter where in the world I should go, but I am of course especially concerned about showing my face in America after being put on some watch list should I say the wrong thing on the internet. And since I have been sitting on a post draft that contains a list of reasons why America’s steady march towards war with Iran is unspeakably stupid and immoral, I think my fears are at least somewhat justified. But maybe I should just shut up. Maybe I should let America’s global campaign of terror silence me like it has so many others.

Or not.

Anyway, for these and other reasons I’ve been devoting a lot of time lately to following the elections, or more specifically, the Republican primary. The Republican primary this year – if you haven’t been watching it – has been even more of a fucking shit-show than usual. Never have I seen so many candidates gain political points by promising to be the most murderous candidates. Whether it’s Rick I Execute The Handicapped Perry, Herman I’ll Electrocute Mexicans Cain, Newt “Kill Them!” Gingrich or Mitt I’ll Just Go Ahead and One-Up Gingrich by Killing Everyone In The World (Except Fetuses – haha, Just Kidding, I Like Killing Them Too) Romney, these guys have all capitalized on the fact that most Americans think of war as a natural expression of American superiority as opposed to a devastating, inhuman practice that bankrupts the aggressor morally and financially while propagating hatred and violence down through the generations.

And then of course there’s Ron Paul, the only anti-murder candidate. Paul would let Iran have their nukes – unlike the US, Iran has a longstanding policy of not launching wars of aggression against its neighbors, so to me this seems more sensible than blowing up their scientists and starving their innocent civilians and risking a global economic crisis in order to stop them – and end the war in Afghanistan. Of course Ron Paul also causes a lot of angst because the media has been slow on the uptake about Libertarianism in general and can’t cope with a candidate that they can’t label “left” or “right.” But overall, the fact that Paul’s point of view – that killing people really isn’t okay, even if they are foreigners – has been getting this much airtime has been refreshing for me.

Some people have managed to convince themselves that Paul is racist because of this newsletter thing. On the one hand you have these race-baiting rants published by a newsletter that Paul’s name was on. On the other hand you have Ron Paul as the only major party candidate who would end the Drug War, pardon non-violent offenders, and thus end what activists call the New American Apartheid or the New Jim Crow. So you have this weird and perverse situation where now the media are accusing the only presidential candidate (including Barack Obama, by the way) who wants to end the “New American Apartheid” of racism. And maybe he is racist – maybe he really is afraid of black people – but that only raises the question of what you do with a person who thinks some racist thoughts but then later becomes a high-profile advocate against some racist policies. But overall I think that it’s good that people are having the conversations that Ron Paul is sparking, such as whether someone would vote for a racist president if that president would actually end the War on Terror and the War on Drugs, or a pro-life president if that president wouldn’t actually support a federal criminalization of abortion, or various other positions that Paul holds that challenge mainstream preconditions about what sorts of politicians there are.

Paul has been polling at 15-25%, and finishing second or third in the primaries; as Romney falls behind Gingrich I’m kind of hoping that eventually they’ll both fall behind Paul, even though every single political analyst in the world thinks he has zero chance of being the nominee. I do know this – a large portion Paulites have a clear second choice if Paul doesn’t get the nomination: don’t vote. Paul could end up being a spoiler if he runs as an independent, but he probably won’t; some Paulites might go to Gary Johnson; but in any case I just don’t see Romney or Gingrich energizing the Republicans enough for a November win when they can’t get the anti-war Republicans fired up because they’re both pro-war, they can’t get the Evangelicals fired up because Romney is a Mormon and Gingrich is an actual polygamist, they can’t get the moderates fired up because moderates don’t get fired up and because they’re both batshit crazy opportunistic liars, and they can’t even get the pro-war crowd fired up because Obama is more of a bad-ass Osama-killing Gaddafi-raping git-r-done ninja warhawk than either of them could ever hope to be. The Republican base at this point is the Nobama crowd – the racist, reactionary wing of the party – and I’m thinking they’re not enough to put the Republicans in the running this year.

Yeah, I’m calling it for Obama early – and I’m hoping he eases up on this Iran thing, because if he shitcans the economy by causing a global oil crisis he’s going to shoot himself in the foot for November. I’m hoping that between Paul’s media attention to civil liberties and ending war, and #Occupy’s media attention to wealth inequality and corporate abuses, a second Obama presidency will be much more peaceful and prosperous than the first. Because I’d love to come visit my country again, and when I go there I’d love to hear about how well things are going for my friends and family, not how cousin Timmy was shot in the face by a police officer during a nonviolent protest and his parents mysteriously disappeared right after they threatened to sue.

American politics: So much fun, I moved to Asia.

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5 Responses to Election Year Woes

  1. Mzuri says:

    How much coffee did you drink this morning?

  2. pasumonok says:

    this post scares me. d
    on’t u think we should stop voting against somebody and vote for someone? and what should we do, if there is no such person? stop voting?

    • panoptical says:

      I’m a big fan of just leaving the country entirely. People mock those who run away from their problems, but actually running away works in a surprisingly comprehensive set of situations.

      • pasumonok says:

        u know what? i just realized that my question is even more relevant in georgian reality. u can’t run away from everywhere.
        i have this theory that we should stop changing the world around us and work on changing immediate surroundings.

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