So when will the troops come home? When we won't put up with it anymore — when we change our government. And how will we do that? By voting the bastards out! On November 7, you should vote for anyone who's against the war and vote against anyone who's for the war. It's that simple.
—Willie Nelson, writing for codepink
I tend to agree with Bob Herbert when he writes, "American-style democracy needs to be energized, revitalized. The people currently in charge are not up to the task. It’s time to bring the intelligence, creativity and energy of the broader population into the quest for constructive change."
In other words, it is time that we began to develop viable third, fourth, and fifth parties—increasing our options and leveling the playing field so that petty bureaucrats, porkbarreling fatcats, cyberperverts, corporate goons, and cheerleaders for tyrants are less likely to find their way into Washington's halls of power.
But right now, and for this time next week, our best choice is regrettably simple: look for the blue donkey and vote Democrat all the way. The best reason why is the well-trained chorus of paranoia you're hearing against the Dems: if they win, terror wins. That's coming from the leaders of the free world, ladies and gentlemen. And there's your Halloween scare for the day.
Anyway, I wrote the following during a recent morning's commute, and I have no place else to put it but here. In a better-ordered nation than ours currently is, it might be a salient message for our time. So take Mr. Nelson's message above with you to the polls next week, and think about what follows as a goal for the future.
You cannot be a leader until you first learn to guide yourself. Self-leadership is the well that is fed by the spring of independence. This nurturing source is what supported the birth of our grand, through frequently flawed, experiment in democracy. It is coded into the formative document of our republic.
So as you prepare to vote next week, review the candidates, and the options they present, with this in mind: which among each of your choices—be it a person, a party, or a proposition—most represents or embodies independence? Which has revealed to you the self-guidance that is the prerequisite of true leadership?
Six years ago, we (or rather our Supreme Court) made a terrible choice: we elected a tyrannical junta, which was fronted by a figurehead so demonstrably lacking in the barest foundation of self-governance that he was lightly ridiculed for his incapacity to lead, even by his own supporters and media adherents. His background as a ne’er-do-well party animal, shirker of responsibility, and corporate bumbler has been very well documented. This man, George W. Bush, has not advanced a single step in that regard over the past six years. He remains, as he was in 2000, a stooge of corporate tyrants, a sidekick for plunderers more accomplished and daring than himself, a mouthpiece for hidden despots.
Similar errors were made—by the mainstream media, the political parties, and the electorate—in the choices offered and made on holders of office in the legislative branch, such that our principles of law, all the way to the cornerstone of the American legal system, habeas corpus, have been undermined by a collection of fat cats, corporate sycophants, perverts, and assorted miscreants in Congress.
So once again in our history comes a moment where we have to look past appearances—see beyond the shit-slinging, racist ads and the shrill fear-mongering of talk radio, and show the world again that a slick media strategy and a shiny white face fools nobody around here. And I'm not talking here to the MBA crowd and the readers of Foreign Policy Magazine: I'm talking to the carpenter, the farmer, the burger flipper, and the Wal-Mart sorter, because you are the people who are going to light the way for the next generation.
Politicians, as should be obvious by now, cannot be trusted to preserve our nation and save the earth. Their short-sighted lust for power and fame has pushed America to the brink of a pit of decadence from which there may be no rescue—either for our country or our species—if the continuance of the current ruling psychosis is allowed any further slack.
Politics is no longer merely a matter of states' rights, economic reform, or foreign policy. It is about recognizing that the human race is on a sure and speedy course to self-extinction. So when you speak, speak for the Earth first; when you vote, vote for your planet.