Last Wednesday was my birthday. My roommate got me a bright yellow t-shirt with “VOTE FOR JESUS” in bright red “VOTE FOR PEDRO”-style lettering.
On Thursday. I wore it with pride. I was confronted by John, a white supremacist friend of mine. He told me he was offended by the shirt, because it mocked the majority Christian culture.
I told him, it’s not mockery. I genuinely support writing in Jesus for President as an alternative to the Democrats and Republicans.
As people who know me know, I never support Democrats or Republicans for the presidency, though I will often support Democrats for other positions. I am generally a Nader supporter.
This is not some form of anti-pragmatic political purism, as some have accused. Nader is not the candidate whose views I am most aligned with. If my support for a candidate had no pragmatic component, I would support Cynthia McKinney (of the Green Party) or Brian Moore (of the Socialist Party). In Canada, where I actually vote in elections, I vote for the New Democratic Party – the social democratic party that has traditionally been a third party, but is now poised to overtake the Liberal Party as one of the two frontrunning parties (the Liberals having abandoned liberal politics).
My support for Nader is based on the fact that his platform is much more popular than those of Obama, McCain, McKinney or Moore, and is progressive.
Friday night’s debate, which against my usual practice I watched, was a perfect illustration of just how indistinguishable Obama and McCain are, when viewed against a broader background. The candidates agreed on virtually everything.
Both of them thought the surge was a wild success, apparently based on the fact that there has been a lull in the level of violence since it started. As anyone with even limited analytic ability knows, this is poor reasoning. Those who are knowledgeable and thoughtful about the situation, like Juan Cole, are skeptical that the surge caused the lull in violence. Cole suggests in his debate debrief that the reduced levels of violence in Baghdad is the result of the successful cleansing of the cities of its Sunni residents, who have been either massacred or driven out of the city. In other words, it’s not the American surge but the Shia surge that’s responsible for the reduction in violence.
Both McCain and Obama appear to favor increasing the military budget.
Both candidates apparently buy into the lies that the right-wing Zionists concocted, and the Western media has repeated ad nauseam, about Ahmadinejad threatening to wipe Israel off the map. McCain repeated it several times, and Obama never disputed it.
Among the few differences of substance that the candidates emphasized concerned leaving Iraq. They tried to make it look like an big difference: McCain wants to stay in until victory, Obama wants a timetable for withdrawal. But if you look at Obama’s plan as he has consistently articulated it, he’s talking about redeployment rather than withdrawal. He basically favors pulling troops from Iraq and putting them in Afghanistan instead. Neither candidate favors doing what the law requires: ending the occupation of Iraq.
If I had to characterize the foreign policy differences between the two, I would do it this way: McCain prefers to focus on Iraq, while Obama prefers broader aggression including Afghanistan and possibly including Iran and Pakistan. It comes down not to any difference of principle, but to the tactical or strategic question of where the main battle against al-Qaeda is located. (After the debate, I don’t know what “tactics” or “strategy” mean anymore. Strategery, anyone?)
Both apparently support possibly bombing Pakistan, although McCain thinks it’s wrong to talk about it. I guess he thinks it’s better to sing about it.
Both support missile defense. Both support offshore drilling and nuclear power plants.
What are the real differences? Style. As Noam Chomsky says, the people marketing political campaigns are the same guys that market toothpaste. McCain was on the message that Obama isn’t ready to lead. Obama was trying to tie McCain to the Bush catastrophe.
Nader is highly distinguishable from BaJohn McBama/Jorack O’Cain. He favors a lawful foreign policy, including withdrawal from Iraq and refraining from acts of aggression against other countries. He’s against nuclear energy. For an overview on Nader on the issues, and a contrast with the Republicrats, see here: http://www.votenader.org/issues/
Posted under News, Politics
This post was written by Uri on September 29, 2008