Vote Jill Stein/Cheri Honkala on Nov. 6

By:
11/01/2012

Over the past year, near-constant election coverage has whittled the U.S. presidential race down to President Barack Obama’s and Governor Mitt Romney’s stances on specific domestic issues and, in particular, energy security and the GOP’s “War on Women.”

Romney’s platform leaves much to be desired on domestic and foreign policy issues. His plans to turn Medicaid over to the states and repeal the Affordable Healthcare Act will whittle away at the U.S.’s already feeble welfare system. If vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) record is in any indication of what Romney’s budget might look like, it will include more extensive budget cuts to critical social programs—all in line with what the Republican Party has pushed through over the past few years.

Progressives are right to be deterred by Romney’s commitment to preserving current defense spending levels, promoting domestic drilling, and decentralizing social welfare programs.

While these are certainly important issues, what gets lost in the pandemonium is a critical look at Obama’s record on inequality, civil liberties, and justice here and abroad. Based on these issues and more, progressives should vote for Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein and her running mate Cheri Honkala.

Obama’s policies have only served to foster, rather than diminish, inequality. In the wake of the 2008 housing crisis, Obama oversaw the passage of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, a bill which, combined with the associated Federal Reserve actions, underwrote corporate profits at the expense of the millions of Americans whose home equity had collapsed due to risky investment behavior. The Wall Street bailout was intended to prevent a cataclysmic failure of massive banking institutions, but it did not include any debt-relief provisions to help the Americans who, together, lost $5-7 trillion in savings. Corporate profits have bounced back to record highs, while home equity, which holds the bulk of people’s wealth, has basically stagnated at 2008 levels.

Meanwhile, Obama extended the Bush tax cuts for the upper 2 percent. The result: greater economic inequality than under Bush, with 93 cents of every dollar of income growth going to the top 1 percent.

On the campaign trail four years ago, Obama promised to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. In 2012, he signed the National Defense Authorization Act, codifying indefinite detention without trial for the first time in U.S. history. Upon signing the NDAA, Obama attempted to reassure the public that he would “not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens.” Even considering this enforceable promise, the 2012 NDAA sets a dangerous precedent. Equally important, it indicates a lack of regard for basic civil liberties.

While waging an unprecedented war on whistleblowers at home, the Obama administration has escalated the war on terror abroad, employing drone technology with appalling alacrity. Drone strikes allow for immediate, accurate assassination—without any semblance of a trial or due process. The Obama administration invokes national security to justify these killings. It is true that targeted drone strikes have killed a number of al-Qaeda operatives around the world, but any security advantages gained by those actions are easily outweighed by the radicalizing effects the strikes have on affected populations. Each civilian killed in an American strike only pushes those populations into the arms of extremists and hampers our diplomatic efforts around the globe.

In 2010, Obama placed American citizen and al-Qaeda recruiter Anwar al-Awlaki on what has been become known as the administration’s “kill list.” He was killed in a drone strike in September 2011. Two weeks later, his 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, was killed by another targeted drone strike in Yemen. The administration recently invoked the actions of al-Awlaki to justify his son’s death. Former Obama Press Secretary and current campaign advisor Robert Gibbs told reporters, “I would suggest that you should have a far more responsible father if they are truly concerned about the well being of their children.” This is exactly the logic of collective punishment that has been a hallmark of the most oppressive regimes of history. It is nothing short of tragic that this ostensibly progressive, judicially-minded president has embraced such thinking.

No progressive should vote for an executive who deploys such violent warfare technology against victims who will not stand trial, who in some cases are being held culpable by association. Progressives should balk at the Obama administration’s secretive “kill list” and its series of executions conducted without so much as a congressional briefing.

It has become common in many liberal circles over the last four years to pretend Obama doesn’t have a choice about any of these actions. The Republican House has either hamstrung the progress we assume the President wants, or the threat of conservative retaliation has forced him to compromise with the Right. But each of these assumptions belies the underlying fact that Obama is not the strong, transformative leader this country needs. As students, we should be concerned that his policies are growing economic inequality, eroding civil liberties, and expanding U.S. imperialism.

Fortunately, there is another option on the ballot that promises to work for truly transformative change. Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala combine sound temperament with unique, real-world experience needed to truly bring change to Washington. Stein promises a single-payer healthcare system, criminal justice reform, and an end to misguided American interventionism. Their ticket uniquely emphasizes ecological sustainability, poverty, and inequality—all largely ignored by the Republican and Democratic candidates. Importantly for students, Stein promises student debt relief, a boon for students and for the overall health of the economy.

It is no secret that these are serious and troubling times for the United States. A vote for a third party candidate isn’t throwing away your vote—endorsing the inegalitarian, corporatist policies offered by both mainstream parties certainly is. Progressives should not in good conscience vote for another Obama term. If not for progressive values in themselves, then vote for the sake of pressuring the Democratic party to abandon its most damaging policies. Vote Stein/Honkala on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

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12 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Vote Jill Stein/Cheri Honkala on Nov. 6”

  1. Source Close to the Administration says:

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    (deep breath)

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

  2. Of course says:

    derp.

  3. Liberal, not "Progressive" says:

    This “endorsement” is little more than a self satisfied move to throw one’s hands up, declare yourself above it all and wash your hands of the consequences of refusing to make a concrete choice in an imperfect world. As far as I am concerned, regardless of who wins, the Voice has forfeited any moral authority to complain about the country for the next 4 years.

    From Arthur Schlesinger’s “The Vital Center”

    “The weakness of impotence is related to a fear of responsibility–a fear, that is, of making concrete decisions and being held to account for concrete consequences. Problems are much simpler when viewed from the office of a liberal weekly than when viewed in terms of what will actually happen when certain ideologically attractive steps are taken. Too often the Doughface really does not want power or responsibility. For him the more subtle sensations of the perfect syllogism, the lost cause, the permanent minority, where lie can be safe from the exacting job of trying to work out wise policies in an imperfect world. Politics becomes, not a means of getting things done, but an outlet for private grievances and frustrations. The progressive once disciplined by the responsibilities of power is often the most useful of all public servants; but he, alas, ceases to be a progressive and is regarded by all true Doughfaces as a cynical New Dealer or a tired Social Democrat.

    Having renounced power, the Doughface seeks compensation in emotion. The pretext for progressive rhetoric is, of course, the idea that man, the creature of reason and benevolence, has only to understand the truth in order to act upon it. But the function of progressive rhetoric is another matter; it is, in MacDonald’s phrase, to accomplish “in fantasy what cannot be accomplished in reality.” Because politics is for the Doughface a means of accommodating himself to a world he does not like but does not really want to change, he can find ample gratification in words. They appease his twinges of guilt without committing him to very drastic action. Thus the expiatory role of resolutions in progressive meetings. A telegram of protest to a foreign chancellery gives the satisfaction of a job well done and a night’s rest well earned. The Doughfaces differ from Mr. Churchill: dreams, they find, are better than facts. Progressive dreams are tinged with a brave purity, a rich sentiment and a noble defiance. But, like most dreams, they are notable for the distortion of facts by desire.”

  4. Jack says:

    And this is why no one takes any of the “hard hitting scoops,” as the Voice editors like to put it, seriously

  5. SEMANTICS says:

    Think I’ll go with the New York Times on this one.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/28/opinion/sunday/barack-obama-for-president.html?_r=0

  6. Republican says:

    Silly liberals!

  7. The Dalai Lama supports the Green Party. says:

    so Vote Stein or else you love China. and everyone HATES China.

    “yes, the goons have gone global
    and the CEOs are shredding files
    and the democrans and the republicrats
    are flashing their toothy smiles
    and uncle tom is posing for a photo op
    with the oval office clan
    and uncle sam is rigging cockfights
    in the promised land
    and that knife you stuck in my back is still there
    it pinches a little when i sigh and moan
    and these days i’m thinkin i could just as soon use
    the time alone

    cuz all the wrong people have the power
    of suggestion
    and the freedom of the press is meaningless
    if nobody asks a question”

  8. tommaso says:

    With all due respect for youthful idealism, I must take issue with your editorial endorsement (and with Cole Stangler’s piece to the same purpose in the same issue). The “lesser than two evils” notion may fairly apply to the president’s military policy, and perhaps to environmental issues (though the gas mileage standards change is most welcome); but on many other fronts, as a progressive I will enthusiastically vote for his re-election.
    Tens of millions of Americans will finally have access to affordable health care, in what is without a doubt the greatest expansion of progressive policies in almost fifty years; anybody who does not vote for Obama is voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
    Many young immigrants have an easier path to stability and citizenship now; anybody who does not vote for Obama is voting to take those opportunities away from them.
    Gay people today are much closer to civil equality than they were four years ago; anybody who does not vote for Obama is voting to take away those gains.
    The rights of working women and of women who use contraceptives are far safer than they were four years ago; anybody who does not vote for Obama is voting to diminish those rights.
    Finally, two words that capture an important thing at stake here: Supreme Court.

  9. Drew says:

    As a Georgetown undergrad in 2000, this is endorsement brings back unhappy memories of Nader supporters who insisted there was no difference between George W. Bush and Al Gore.

    They voted Nader because, I suppose, they didn’t want to dirty their hands by voting for “the lesser of two evils.”

    I hope that made them feel better as we spent eight years shredding the social safety net, cutting taxes for the richest Americans, invading two countries, gutting environmental regulations, politicizing the Department of Justice, packing the federal courts with far-right ideologues, and beating up on gay people for political purposes.

    I wish they’d understood that no election will ever be a progressive victory. It can only be an opportunity. Al Gore wouldn’t have been perfect, but we could have fought to win important victories, as opposed to struggling for two terms only to minimize our defeats.

    The Voice has every right to endorse whoever it wants to endorse, but I urge voters not to put their (entirely valid) concerns about Obama’s failures above the lives of those who would suffer tremendously under the policies of a Romney administration.

  10. Bucky says:

    “It is no secret that these are serious and troubling times for the United States. A vote for a third party candidate isn’t throwing away your vote—endorsing the inegalitarian, corporatist policies offered by both mainstream parties certainly is. Progressives should not in good conscience vote for another Obama term. If not for progressive values in themselves, then vote for the sake of pressuring the Democratic party to abandon its most damaging policies. Vote Stein/Honkala on Tuesday, Nov. 6.”

    Hear hear!

  11. Taylor says:

    Voting for Jill Stein isn’t an attempt to “be above it all”, but instead is an attempt to put our energy in building a political force that will address 2 of the most important issues in our country that have not been addressed under Democrats or Republicans… 1) free our political system from influence by monied corporations and banks so that it will reflect the will of our country’s people 2) address climate change – change our policies and behaviors so we lessen our contributions to the alarmingly rapid process, and so that we prepare as a nation for the effects of climate change on our cities, and our people.

    The second can’t very well happen without the first.

    This is why we are working to increase our political power – rather than have our, and the voices of the majority of people on issues such as health care, squelched by the two-party system, which is largely corporately funded, and rather than have our voices squelched by those who are focused on this election rather than the needs of our country and our world.

    In our country’s history, it has been evident that such political forces outside the mainstream have put pressure to implement many policies that you and I are both proud of in our history.

    I respect your right to vote your vision and understanding of the world – I also feel comfortable exercising my right to do the same.

    Best,

    Jill

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