[sixties-l] Paul Krassner on the election

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: 11/22/00

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    The Morning After Election Day
    by Paul Krassner <pkrassner@earthlink.net>
    In December 1967, I had an epiphany while tripping on an LSD double date, 
    Anita and Abbie Hoffman, me and a dolphin, at the Seaquarium in Miami. I 
    was having a delightful nonverbal encounter with one particular dolphin. 
    Finally it was time to leave, and I had to say goodbye to my new friend.
    "By the way," I asked, "what are you always smirking about?"
    The dolphin replied, and I'm willing to concede that this might have been 
    my own acid projection, "If God is evolution, then how do you know He's 
    finished?" Obvious it was a male chauvinist dolphin.  But could a political 
    system actually evolve into a compassionate governing body?  Could an 
    economic system evolve into a humane process?  Could progress itself evolve 
    into a balance of decentralization and the global village?
    And so it came to pass that, early on in the 2000 campaign, I wrote in my 
    journal about a moral paradox:
    On the perhaps false assumption that my vote in the presidential election 
    will count, I am torn between voting for Al Gore, or, rather, against 
    George W.and voting for Ralph Nader.  For the last few decades, the Green 
    Party candidate has been fighting for public safety and health.  But if I 
    were to vote for Nader, I would in effect be taking a vote away from Gore, 
    who would push for gun control and appoint Supreme Court justices that 
    wouldnt overturn Roe vs. Wade, whereas George W. would do just the 
    opposite.  Then why have I decided to not be pragmatic but to vote for 
    Nader?  Because I once was talking with a crazy person, and when I  used 
    the phrase, "survival games," he corrected me and said,"Idealism is the 
    only survival game."
    I faxed a copy of this voting dilemma to my friend, Nick Kazan, and he 
    "It would seem like a vote for Ralph Nader is an action without 
    consequence, or, to frame it more properly, this action (this vote) would 
    not seem to have the potential to have a consequence.  And the question 
    then is: Does the action still have moral value?  Of course.  But as much 
    value as a vote which could do some good?  Im not sure.  Is there value 
    inherent in idealism?  Yes.  But then: Is one to never be 
    practical?  Again, Im not sure.  Besides, you have freed me because I was 
    also vacillating between Gore and Nader, and if you're voting for Ralph, I 
    am now freed up to go practical with Al."
    Nick's wife, Robin Swicord, wrote at the bottom of my fax: "Your goals are 
    the only survival game."
    I struggled with her comment.  What actually [next word in italics] was my 
    goal?  When is idealism simply self-righteousness with a moral spin?  Would 
    I now decide to vote for Gore after all?  And would Nick then vote for 
    Nader just to keep the balance going?
    Families were divided.  In the Los Angeles Times, Robert Scheer, who 
    supported Gore, devoted a column to quoting his offspring; two of his three 
    sons supported Nader.  And while former talk show host Phil Donahue 
    campaigned for Nader, his wife, actress/feminist Marlo Thomas, publicly 
    supported Gore.
    Certainly I felt strongly about reproductive rights.  Indeed, during the 
    '60s when abortion was illegal, I ran an underground referral service.  In 
    September 1969, I was subpoenaed to appear before a Grand Jury 
    investigating criminal charges against physicians who performed 
    abortions.  I refused to cooperate, and Bronx district attorney Burton 
    Roberts threatened me with prison.
    Gerald Lefcourt filed a suit on my behalf, challenging the 
    constitutionality of the abortion law, pointing out that the D.A. had no 
    power to investigate the violation of an unconstitutional law, and 
    therefore could not force me to testify.  I became the only plaintiff in 
    the first lawsuit to declare the abortion laws unconstitutional in New 
    York.  Later, various womens groups joined the suit, and ultimately the 
    N.Y.  legislature repealed the criminal sanctions against abortion, prior 
    to the Supreme Court decision in Roe vs. Wade.
    And yet, now, if true that a vote for Nader was a vote for Bush, I found 
    myself in the position of, in effect, voting for a candidate whose favorite 
    Supreme Court justices were anti-abortion: Antonin Scalia and Clarence 
    Thomas.  Ironically, then-Senator Al Gore had voted for both.  But suppose 
    that, during the [following word in italics] next four years, no Supreme 
    Court justice retired or died.  Then, in 2004--when they would be even 
    [next word in italics] more likely to retire or die, would Democrats be 
    warning me that a vote for Nader is a vote for John McCain?
    How long must idealism be postponed?
    When I voted for Ralph Nader yesterday, I knew that he would lose, but my 
    vote was an act of optimism, and its been a long time since I had any hope 
    for the political system.  Since Gore won  in my state, California, I can 
    avoid the scorn and guilt-tripping, the condescending venom, of Democrats 
    and liberals, though I admit it was strange to be rooting for a candidate I 
    voted against.
    I consider that casting my vote for Nader served as my participation in the 
    opening salvo of a nonviolent revolution.  And [next word in  italics] that 
    was my goal.  Thats what Ive always wanted.  Its what I had in mind when 
    theYouth International Party (the Yippies) was conceived after that acid 
    trip in the Seaquarium.
    Call me deluded, but by 'revolution' I mean helping to speed up the process 
    of evolution just a little.  The dolphin was right"If God is evolution, 
    then how do you know Hes finished?"although, when I told dolphin 
    researcher John Lilly about that incident, he corrected me: "...then how do 
    you know [next word in italics] you're finished?"
    Paul Krassner is the author of Sex, Drugs and the Twinkie Murders: 40 Years 
    of Countercultural Journalism (Loompanics Unlimited); his CD is Campaign in 
    the Ass (Artemis Records).

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