Forfeiting His Integrity for His Ambition

A disclaimer, lest any moron out there think this is somehow an endorsement for Hillary Clinton, or any other criminal running for US president. I do not support any mainstream candidate as they are inconsistent with my beliefs, they accept bribes from corporate Amerikkka, and they will not provide anything meaningful for the people of the US (such as single-payer health care insurance). Barack Obama is no exception. Salaita provides a few good reasons why that is true.

Richard Jehn / The Rag Blog

Why I Won’t Vote for Barack Obama
by Steven Salaita / March 27, 2008

I would like to start by noting that although this will not be an essay about why one should vote for Ralph Nader, I am remarkably weary of liberals wagging their fingers at those unmoved by the Democratic Party and lecturing to us about who we should—nay, must—support. In typically self-righteous fashion, they want to limit our choices because they know what’s best for us (which just so happens to be better for them). These folks love to blame Nader for all the injustices that the Democrats have actively pursued or refused to prevent since 2000. They usually cite pragmatic rather than ethical factors to justify their support of the mendacious Democratic Party: electability, lesser-evilism, the necessary beginning of genuine progressivism, and so forth.

Nothing makes this class of politico so hysterical as somebody choosing to exercise the right to vote for a candidate who best represents his or her own positions. That hysteria exposes the carefully-unexamined assumption that the purpose of voting is to fortify institutional Democratic agendas. The use of pragmatism to justify this pandering is meant to suggest a political reasonableness, but it actually functions to reinforce complicity in the same centers of power these liberals claim to challenge.

These matters illustrate another reason why voting in the United States is mostly disport, a way for the unwitting enablers of imperial neoliberalism to feel like they are participating in a civic and economic system in which they are political surplus, useful only insofar as they spend and consume. Whether or not they vote, the system will continue to operate unabated, its managers welcoming voting because it convinces would-be agitators that they are actually effecting change.

Now that these qualifications are out of the way, let’s focus on what this essay will be about: why I won’t vote for Barack Obama. I hope others will likewise eschew Obama, but I welcome them to vote their conscience. Or, I welcome them to not vote at all. There are better ways to procure a right to complain.

I won’t vote for Obama because he once was promising but has morphed into an unusually charismatic but typically mediocre politician. A man once known for engaging the issue of Palestinian liberation in Chicago’s Arab American community now can be found sharing his message of Israel-love to anybody who will listen. This change of opinion intimates a lack of integrity. Obama’s supporters will argue that he is simply doing what allows him to become a viable contender for president, to which I would respond: if one wishes to keep his or her integrity intact, then that person shouldn’t seek national office as a Democrat. Obama is willingly forfeiting his integrity for his ambition. That is his choice and it isn’t my place to make the decision on his behalf. However, it is my place to decide not to vote for him based on that choice.

Read all of it here.

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