Ted Rall: Refuse To Choose

Ted Rall explains to liberals why feeling forced to vote for Obama in 2012 is acquiescing to an immoral act. He concludes as follows:

Knowing what you know now, a vote for Obama in 2012 would be an enthusiastic vote of support for torture, extrajudicial assassinations, drone attacks, corporate healthcare, doing nothing about jobs and staying in Iraq. Your eyes are open. A liberal who votes for Obama would be directly responsible for the torture, the killings, and the suicides of the desperately unemployed.

The two-party trap is the sort of sick game that sadistic concentration camp guards like to play.

“I’m going to shoot this old man or this little boy. You decide which. If you refuse to choose, I’ll shoot both.”

There is only way to deal with ideological terrorists:


Let evil scum do what they like. You can’t stop them anyway. If the guard shoots both the man and the boy, it’s a terrible crime—but the blood is all on his hands.

For a progressive, voting for Obama is like asking the camp guard to shoot one person rather than two. In the short run, it seems like the right decision. In the long run, the man and the boy die—and it’ll partly be your fault.

If you believe as I do, in the light of evidence that grows daily, that Obama is at best doing “less evil” than the GOP candidates (if even that), please do the moral thing. Vote for a third-party candidate. Or decline to vote at all in the presidential race. Do not allow yourself to be “forced” (blackmailed) into voting for a president who repeatedly and apparently unstoppably commits acts as immoral as those of, say, George W. Bush.

I am 63 years old. For over three decades, my loyalty to the Democratic Party was unswerving. I found myself holding my nose and voting for the lesser of two evils, election after election, no matter what kind of Blue Dog, New Dog, DLC Dog, Third-Way Dog, you-name-it the Democratic Party ran with a ‘D’ after his or her name. I voted for a lot of evil over the years… lesser, perhaps, than the opposing candidate’s evil, but evil all the same. And I and the nation suffered the consequences when that lesser evil assumed office, or of course if they did not assume office because they lost to the greater evil. Some democracy, huh!

As Rall points out earlier in the column, no election to federal office is ever decided by a single vote. Even those with the smallest margins are decided by a hundred or more votes. So if you decline to vote for the lesser of two evils, and the greater of two evils wins, it is by no rational argument your fault. But if you vote for the lesser evil and s/he wins, that evil is still on your conscience. Under those circumstances, deciding not to decide is a valid decision.

Of course, if someone credible, honest and (dare I say it) liberal decides to “primary” Obama within the Democratic Party, that’s a different matter. I may well vote for such a person, if I am persuaded s/he would be a better president, even knowing full well that s/he will lose to Obama in the primary.

But my days of voting for evil are behind me. Enough is enough.

AFTERTHOUGHT: Rall, in his list of Obama’s sins of commission, does not even list his environment-related sins, which are mostly sins of omission, and goodness knows there are plenty, concluding a few days ago with his EPA’s withdrawal of pollution regulations he long since promised… and the almost inevitable forthcoming decision to go forward with the Tar Sands pipeline, the dirtiest carbon-fuel transport ever constructed using methods unusually environmentally destructive even for the oil industry, a decision that is the president’s alone to make. If someone would like to compose the list of environmental irresponsibilities Obama has committed (and responsibilities he has omitted), I’ll be happy to append them here.


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  • MandT  On Thursday September 8, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    We have had a similar awakening in this matter. I will not vote for Obama under any circumstances and will face the consequences of that decision with even more dissension than before.

    • Steve  On Thursday September 8, 2011 at 7:14 pm

      MandT, the problem with Obama is simple: he will say anything, and then do anything else. I just listened to his “jobs” speech, and it was magnificent. And yes, he has a legitimate grievance that the GOP has decided to do nothing until they regain the White House. But none of that changes the shortcomings of Obama’s personal actions as president. At some point, attacking whistleblowers, targeting American citizens for assassination, and engaging in warrantless surveillance of the entire population outweigh any other consideration, any other virtue that Obama may display as president.

      I really regret not being able to vote for Obama. At this time especially, I had at least some small hope that he would turn out to be another FDR. But he is not. Indeed, he doesn’t even come close. So I will enjoy listening to his speeches for their entertainment value, and simply acknowledge that some entertainment comes with a very high price of admission.

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