Don't Take My Vote for Granted

By Jim Goodman

There was no limit to the greed of the financial industry and the über-rich during the Gilded Age. Teddy Roosevelt felt his job as President was standing up to Wall St. bankers, corporations and their political allies, it was simply a matter of right vs. wrong.

Around 1980 this limitless greed surfaced again. Wall Street became little more than a high stakes casino with the house always winning and the same type of über-rich, turned elections into auctions.

Candidate Obama promised us “Hope and Change”. We hoped, but he gave us very few changes.

He lacked Roosevelt’s grit to go after the financial industry when their greed and mismanagement crashed the world economy. Instead of strict control, the banks were allowed to become even more powerful and their CEOs even richer.

He advocated for single payer health care, but as president, we were told it was politically unfeasible.

He said he would march with striking workers, but it never happened.

He promised to label foods containing genetically modified ingredients.

He did quote a story about another Roosevelt, Franklin Delano who, when asked to use his power as President to support civil rights and fair labor practice, said, I agree, now “go out and make me do it.”

I get it, it’s our fault, we were supposed to make President Obama “go out and do it.”

It’s our fault that the economy has not recovered.

It’s our fault that drone aircraft are still killing civilians in Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan and Somalia.

It’s our fault that the military budget is untouchable, while while social services get axed.

It’s our fault that Guantanamo is still holding prisoners without charges or legal rights.

It’s our fault that the US is still sending people to foreign “black sites” to be tortured.

It’s our fault that Wall Street Banks are still playing fast and loose with our money, secure in the knowledge that the government will bail them out (but not us) when their bets go wrong.

It’s our fault that his economic “team” is headed up by those who made the economic crash possible and inevitable.

It’s our fault that health care reform, if it can be called that, will be written by the insurance industry.

We occupied Zuccotti Park, the Capitol in Madison, protests happened across the nation — the president never showed up, seldom even acknowledged any of the actions.

What more were we supposed to do?

In November he will again, take the vote of progressives for granted, of course they won’t vote for Romney, so he is the only choice, right?

Don’t take my vote for granted.

I’m not OK with voting for the lesser of two evils.

I’m not OK with holding my nose and voting for the incumbent because Mitt Romney would undoubtedly take the failings of the current administration to new levels.

I’m not OK with a president who supports wealth and corporate power over the best interests of the people, and I’m certainly not OK with a potential Republican President who is so out of touch with the lives of average people and so rich, he refuses to discuss it.

I’m not OK with a political system that will allow only “major party” candidates to participate in the debate process, when Jill Stein (Green) and Gary Johnson (Libertarian) meet the requirements to participate.

It’s not the other candidates that the Democrats and Republicans fear, although Romney admits Stein bested him in the 2002 Massachusetts Gubernatorial debates, it is their ability to ask and answer the questions Obama and Romney must avoid.

Money and the media will allow us to hear only two candidates and the 1% really doesn’t care which one wins.

Teddy Roosevelt feared a violent uprising if the wealthy continued to exploit the public. It should not come to that, but unless we, by our votes, support politics of courage rather than politics of fear, Democracy is lost — if it is not already.

Jim Goodman is a dairy farmer from Wonewoc, Wis.

From The Progressive Populist, October 1, 2012

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