Green Party candidate for President in November. Like many, I’ve used my standing in the social media public square to try to convince people why it is in their own best interest to vote for the candidate who shares their own values as opposed to the corporate bought and just plain old corporate candidates. There is some real cognitive dissonance going on with self-defined liberals and progressives where this election is concerned. But that’s not what I want to talk about with this post.
There are some folks who are countering my politicking for Jill Stein with the argument that a vote for Jill is the same as a vote for Mitt Romney.
There are two main faults with this logic. First, if you accept that “logic” then you have given permission for the “two” party system we have. You are allowing the game to be rigged. It’s saying that my vote is Obama’s and I’m taking it away from him and giving it to Jill Stein. No, my vote is my own and the candidate who does and says (though mostly does) what I am in line with earns my vote. Romney certainly does not fit that bill and lets just be honest, Obama doesn’t either. I could go on more with this, but again, that’s not why I am writing. The voting populace as a whole has been doing this for decades and it has brought us to the shape we’re in.
I am writing because of the other fault with the a-vote-for-Stein-is-a-vote-for-Romney argument. Because of the crappy system we have to elect our President – the Electoral Collage – there are really only 9 states that matter in this election. Those are the “swing” states. The others are relatively decided already. That’s why the Romney campaign has given up in certain states while the Obama campaign isn’t directing a lot of resources into others.
You see, I live in New York. Obama has New York sewn up. There is no chance of Mitt Romney getting a single Electoral vote from this state. So if I vote out of (unrealistic) fear and choose Obama, I actually have thrown away my vote. Why? Because President Obama is a war criminal who should share a cell with George W. Bush. My vote for Barack Obama means I approve of drone warfare and extended illegal wars. I have other things, many other things, that are the opposite of everything I stand for that the President has done, but that’s really all I need. I think the murder of innocent children is enough for this discussion right now.
My vote for Jill Stein in New York does a number of good things. To be selfish, it means I can walk out of my polling place not feeling like a piece of garbage. So I’ll have that going for me, which is nice. But it also helps foster an already thriving third party, in New York and around the country. This well run campaign has already made people notice what the Greens stand for and higher than expected vote totals for the Green Party will increase that exponentially. Yes, the corporate media will ignore it, but the only way to make them report on the Greens is to continue to ascend. In the meantime, we make our own media (a subject for another time).
But what else will this do? It will be up to Greens at a local level to leverage the momentum of this national campaign to make strides in local elections next year. Strategically, that is one of the main things this campaign is all about. Greens understand that the way to turn the party into a national force is to create success at the local level and when the focus of the nation is on this election for over a year, it’s not wise to sit out and not use the Presidential election to bolster local campaigns down the road.
So, if you do not live in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia or Wisconsin then you can vote for the candidate you really like, because your state is pretty much a done deal. If you live in one of the swing states…whew…there’s no amount of pragmatism in the world that would make me vote for a baby killer. But that’s between you and your conscience.
UPDATE: You may think I'm clueless, but Norm Chomsky agrees with me.