Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Why I Am Voting For Jill Stein

I know it is election day, and we are all celebrating the two party candidates.  Most of you anyway.  I am not one of those people. 

Yes, I voted for Obama back in 2008.  I did this knowing that I would likely cast my vote for someone else in 2012.  I anticipated his betrayal on economic issues, since he was never dedicated to issues like social spending or a progressive tax policy.  I knew he supported the 2008 Wall Street bailout, which remains to me probably the worst piece of domestic legislation and ripoff of the American taxpayer in the last generation (in fairness, the Republican Congressional leadership and last GOP presidential standard bearer also supported the bailout of their friends on Madison Avenue).

However, even I, as cynical as I am, never anticipated the betrayal of candidate Barack Obama on so many national security and civil liberties issues.  Because of those failures and betrayals, of our values and our Constitution, I am not voting for Obama's reelection and will be, instead, casting my vote for Green Party candidate Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala.

I understand why many progressives are voting for Barack Obama today.  They know he is not one of us, in spite of what the right-wing says (the same people who claimed Bill Clinton was a Communist for signing an assault weapons ban [even though then-Governor Mitt Romney signed a similar ban into law in the 2000s]).  Yes, if Romney wins, in some ways things will get worse.  I have to concede that.  Yes, Romney would probably be as bad (if not worse) than Bush Jr., and worse than Obama and many important issues (reproductive health, healthcare in general, Supreme Court nominations, etc.)  I understand all of that.  However, for those progressives who remain undecided, I would posit the following reasons to not vote for Obama.

1.  President Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, which allows the U.S. Army to arrest any accused terrorist (based solely on the word of one person), even American citizens, and detain that person without a warrant, held indefinitely without charge, and without access to an attorney or family.  For all intents and purposes, our government now has the power to legally disappear American citizens on American soil (with no respect for your Fourth Amendment rights, never mind habeas corpus and the Posse Comitatus Act [which bans the U.S. Army from being used for domestic policing purposes]).

This is without a doubt the greatest assault on our Constitutional liberties in the history of this country, and Barack Obama signed it into law, even though he conceded this violated the Constitution.  His reasoning is that he will never abuse those rights, which does not matter because it is now the law.  This means any future president (even Obama himself, if he is lying) can and will almost certainly use that amendment of the law to legally disappear American citizens (with no legal recourse).

And the reaction of the right? The same as those liberals who continue to kowtow to Obama, nothing (if anything, overwhelming support).  If an honest person is going to take to task George Bush for signing into law the Patriot Act, it would be an act of supreme hypocrisy to ignore the 2012 NDAA, which is far worse in terms of its violation of our Constitution.

2.  President Obama has in the past supported the Patriot Act, when he was a member of the Senate. However, he never voiced support for having American whistle blowers detained and tortured.  In fact, candidate Obama expressed the exact opposite sentiments when he ran in 2008.

What a pity Bradley Manning was not doing what he did back then.  Instead, he waited until after candidate Obama was elected.  We all know what happened next.  Again, there has been no debate among people in the respectable right or left in this country about the ethics of having American citizens detained, denied food, force-stripped, basically tortured, for committing the crime of revealing the crimes our government (at our expense) is committing in our name. 

If Daniel Ellsberg were in government today, it is not an exaggeration to say that we would not know his name.  He would have been arrested, tortured by his own government, and held indefinitely, and imprisoned for life.  In fact, some members of Congress think Manning should be killed as a 'traitor.'  How grand, coming from people who think the Confederacy was right, but I give them credit for being consistent in continuing to support state-sanctioned murder.  That is the stock and trade of the other side.  To see so few liberals and civil libertarians taking up the cause of Bradley Manning, almost certainly because his torture has occurred under the orders of a liberal POTUS, speaks volumes of the cowardice of the left in the U.S.
3.  President Barack Obama has turned our foreign policy into a Terminator movie with the use of drones, attacking and murdering American citizens and civilians.  As I write this, President Obama has a personal hit list with names, many of them Americans, who are to be killed on sight, either by drones or American forces (if they can be reached).  We have already killed at least one American, as well as his underage teenage son, by such means.  Yes, he was an accused terrorist.  Notice, he was never charged with a crime.  He was never formally charged, going through presenment of evidence, afforded an attorney, prosecuted before a jury of his peers, etc., you know the kind of stuff you expect as a citizen of this country from your government (the kind of stuff that serial killers like Jeffrey Dahmer received, but not Mr. al-Awlaki and his 16 year old kid).
So, if the POTUS, or technically anyone in our government, accuses you of being a terrorist (not charged or even given a chance to answer to the charge), you can be murdered by our government based on that on accusation from either the POTUS or any figure in our government.  No Congress, no courts, no prosecutors, just one person's word and you are dead.  Think about this.  People are debating whether it is Communist to have a private healthcare plan subsidized in part by the government, but no one (on the right or left) dares to publicly criticize the notion that the state can simply kill you if it does not like you.  What is the point of having a Bill of Rights if the government can do this to you?  Better yet, if anyone is still reading, why does anyone care if they refuse to even say anything about this rank violation of our rights?
Lastly, you should consider that this foreign policy is being brought home.  We currently have thousands (by some estimates over 10,000) unarmed drones flying over our own soil, put there by the U.S. Air Force as training for future drone-bombing missions abroad.  What is to stop our government from arming those drones and using them on us here at home?  Absolutely nothing.  For those who think this is some type of conspiracy, we are already killing Americans abroad based on one person's word, even the person's kid, and our government can legally disappear you on American soil.  It is no stretch to see in the future the POTUS having an American citizen on a hit list and deciding to have that person killed on sight on our soil (and doing it). 
And if/when that happens, how many liberals and conservatives will care or say anything about it?  Probably about as many who said anything by the 2012 NDAA.  Not very many.  Only seven Senators voted against these provisions of the bill.  Let this list of honor (including a few Republicans) be noted.  They deserve some recognition for refusing to vote away our Constitution.
Tom Coburn (Republican-Oklahoma)
Tom Harkin (Democrat-Iowa)
Mike Lee (Republican-Utah)
Jeff Merkley (Democrat-Oregon)
Rand Paul (Republican-Kentucky)
Bernie Sanders (Independent-Vermont)
Ron Wyden (Democrat-Oregon)
And this does not even take into consideration that we are killing the underage children of an accused terrorist, someone who has not even been accused of being a terrorist himself.  This does not also include the civilians in Pakistan, Yemen, and Afghanistan who have been killed in air strikes by our government, deaths that include children and even babies.
I understand that the Green Party is not perfect, but I am certain of this much.  Jill Stein would dismantle this militaristic state and our terrorist foreign policy of ours.  I know she would never support shredding our Bill of Rights.  I know she would never support drone-bombing innocent people, even American citizens, without a care in the world.  For those of you who remember that third presidential debate.  Notice the agreement between the candidates on those issues.  More than anything else, that is the reason why you should not vote for either Romney or Obama.  I know I am but one person, one voice, and that my candidate has no chance of winning, but if and when I am ever called to account for the crimes of my government I can at least say I never supported it.  That is why I am voting for Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala for President.  If there is anyone else out there reading, I respectfully ask you to do the same.  Let us send a message for the so-called party of the people.  Until you stop acting like imperialists and killers, you will not have our support.