[sixties-l] After the Election

From: Marty Jezer (mjez@sover.net)
Date: 11/05/00

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    I don't usually publish my articles on sixties-l but this seems relevant and
    will help get us past the vote for Gore/vote for Nader argument.  Note that
    this was
    written for a general. rather than a progressive/lefty audience. 
     From the Brattleboro (VT) Reformer, 11/3/00
    By Marty Jezer
         Tuesday promises to be a close election. On the left side of
    the political spectrum, people are agonizing. Gore? Nader? What
    to do? Vote your conscience. Lesser of two evils. Vote your
    hopes. Bore and Gush are identical. A Republican victory would be
         A month ago, when Gore was ahead, a vote for Nader, at least
    in states like Vermont, seemed safe and easy. It astonishes me
    that Bush has made it a contest. If Gore loses, he's got no one
    to blame but himself. It's not the issues that have cost him;
    it's his public persona. A seeming captive to the pollsters and
    image-makers who advise him, Gore comes across as an intelligent
    man with a hollow core. Whether true or not, this is the public
    perception, and it could cost him the election. 
         A gift for fund-raising (one shared by Gore) does not make
    George W. Bush presidential. A product of affirmative action for
    white males with rich and influential fathers, Bush lacks the
    experience, the intelligence, the knowledge, the wit, and the
    character to hold our highest elected office. Hopefully, he
    understands his limitations and will surround himself with his
    Daddy's old advisors. This won't happen with Congress. It's good-
    bye "compassionate conservatism" when the likes of Trent Lott,
    Tom Delay, and Dick Armey take power. 
         In areas of foreign policy and global economics, there is
    little difference between Bush and Gore. Indicative of their
    support for an imperialistic foreign policy, both believe that
    the loony-tune invasion of Grenada was a justified military
    action. Both are also obsessed with Fidel Castro. The major
    trouble spot outside of the Middle East is Colombia where Clinton
    and Gore are already sending money, weapons, and advisors. With
    Colombia's oil-rich neighbor, Venezuela, cozying up to Castro's
    Cuba, there is potential for further American aggression no
    matter who is commander-in-chief in the White House. 
         Gore and Bush also share common ground in supporting
    corporate control of the national and global economy. This is the
    issue of the future, around which a progressive movement is
    likely to grow. Free trade, it should be said, is not the
    problem. Trade should be encouraged; it creates wealth and breaks
    down national barriers. What's crucial is who makes the rules.
    Worker rights and environmental protections have to take
    precedence over corporate profits. Gore, Bush and their
    respective parties are beholden to corporate money and lack the
    political autonomy to challenge corporate priorities. 
         That's where campaign finance reform comes in, full public
    funding. There's no hope for reform in a Bush administration.
    John McCain aside, the Republican idea of campaign reform is to
    prohibit labor unions from making contributions. Gore has
    promised reform, and even endorsed full public financing; but
    Clinton made similar noises and then did nothing. Full public
    financing (the Clean Money Reform) won't happen until Congress
    feels the heat of public pressure. As a consumer advocate, Nader
    did not lead on this issue. I hope he will after the election. 
          A vote for Nader is a direct challenge to corporate
    dominance. But it's also a symbolic one. Nader has no political
    leverage as a political candidate. He will have leverage after
    the election leading an anti-corporate movement. It would be
    great if Nader got 5% of the vote and enabled the Greens to
    become eligible for some public money in the next election. But
    the money is paltry; the goal not essential. More important than
    Tuesday is the leadership Nader provides when the election is
         A leader of a new movement must be willing to talk straight
    to the public, even if he has to tell his most enthusiastic
    supporters truths they don't want to hear. Nader has been a
    disappointment in this regard. His argument that there are few
    differences between Bush and Gore holds water only if one is
    looking at the election from a revolutionary perspective. And
    Nader's no revolutionary; he's more a progressive Democrat whose
    issues have been abandoned by his party. 
         On specific issues like taxation, social security,
    environmental protection, health care, human rights, and
    education, there are important differences between Bush and Gore.
    Even on issues of corporate dominance, Gore's support (however
    compromised) for the public sector creates possibilities (from
    regulations to tax credits) to pressure and encourage
    corporations to adopt clean technologies. Under Bush's plan for
    free market regulation, corporations have no incentive to risk
    investments in green technology. The crisis of global warning
    cannot wait for ideal solutions. Gore understands this; Bush
         The Supreme Court is another issue where Nader has been
    disingenuous. Citing Warren and Brennan as great Republican
    Justices is sophistry. They lived in a different era, when
    racists and reactionaries were Democrats. Abortion is not the
    only issue where the Supreme Court is a factor. Challenges to 
    Buckley v. Valeo, the horrible court decision which equates free
    speech and money, are making their way to the Supreme Court.
    Overturning Buckley would make it easier to get special interest
    money out of politics. Bush is in debt to the right-wing and one
    likely pay-off is his Supreme Court nominations. 
         But, if you're like me, you've heard these arguments -- and
    are still agonizing. Come Tuesday, in the privacy of the voting
    booth, we'll all vote our consciences. Some of us will vote
    strategically. If our state is safe for -- or lost to --  Gore,
    we'll vote for Nader. Others of us will vote for Gore to stop
    Bush and assure a better future. 
    Either way, what counts is what happens after the election is over. We can't
    give up on issues of importance. Whether it's President Gore or Bush or the
    is Republican or Democrat, there will be work to be done. Once
    the passions and arguments of this election are exhausted, those
    of us who want peace, fairness, equality, and economic justice
    will have to get over this election and start working together. 
    Copyright (c) 2000 by Marty Jezer 
    Marty Jezer * 22 Prospect Street * Brattleboro, Vermont 05301 *  website:
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