The Morning After Election Day by Paul Krassner <email@example.com> 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 responded: "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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