VOTE!!! – Part II — A Guest Post By Roger Jacob

This is Part II of a guest post on voting in the 2020 election, by our friend, Roger Jacob … Roger has a clear view from across the big pond of what is happening in the U.S. today, and has some words of wisdom, from a historical context, that we all need to hear.  Many thanks, Roger, for your wise words, and for taking the time out of your own writing schedule to write this post for us.

USA Not Voting Is No Longer A Luxury You Can Indulge

Part II

The Unhappy but Unavoidable Basics

“Democracy is a very bad form of government. But I ask you never to forget: All the others are so much worse.”

This stirring and wise little statement is from the opening credits of each episode of the brief CBS drama 1963-1964 Slattery’s People. The outline being the local politics and a state legislator James Slattery.

Churchill’s earlier version was, one of his less erudite and not so stirring “Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time”, which it is argued was not one of his own and probably explains why it lacks a Churchillian ‘something’

Thus when you objectively compare the other forms of government (or antics masquerading as government) the ask yourself this ‘Would I like to live there for the rest of my life?’. For make no mistake, in this current era of Human history of large aggressive states and huge corporations central government of a nation by a small group of people is the only alternative, unless you can find a very small piece of isolated land that no one wants and survive on it…while hoping no one finds valuable resources thereupon. You are dealing with a 7.7 billion sized very flawed but inventive species here, hiding out and surviving can be difficult.

On Democracy and more Unavoidables

Having to accept the fact that someone is going to run the place wherever you live and thus have an impact on your life, having a say in who gets there is an attractive option. As you are going to vote in people and not saintly beings there will be mistakes, flaws, compromise, disappointments and all the other baggage humans drag around with them. This is also unavoidable. This is the Current Reality. If you are looking for perfection in government. Sorry that era has not arrived yet…hopefully it will, if we survive that long.

Another facet of democracy is that folk who have very strong opinions will make sure they can get out there and vote. Now you may not care for the folk with the Strong Opinions, but if you don’t vote then they will have a disproportionate say in your life. Again you don’t get to avoid this. Yes you can protest, yes you can organise campaigns and you might win a few, but ‘they’ the elected of the ‘Strong Opinions’ will still be there and the only chance you will get to remove them will be at the next election.

This is how the flawed process of Democracy works. Participation is the only stable, civic way you can ensure it remains Stable and Civic.

Narrowing in. The USA in 2020

I address this portion to the citizens of voting age in the USA.

You will not need me to list, report or otherwise enumerate the controversial decisions, statements and persons who have appeared upon the political stage since the election of 2016. You have them burned into your memory and possibly your hearts. You know full well that the temperature of the political atmosphere has risen and thus increased the level of toxicity. You know, as I suggested before Consensus is a very endangered species, in some regions it is extinct.

Now it may be, it is possible that many of the folk associated with the current administration are not racists, homophobic, anti-minority, narrow-minded reactionaries or religious zealots. It maybe. However by the actions and statements coming out of the administration these views have been given an air of respectability, they can be howled out under the guise of the much-abused term ‘Free Speech’. There are people striding about the public domain who back in the 1960s & 1970s would have labelled ‘wackos’ and generally laughed at. Now they have far too many followers.

In this situation I will ask those of you who do not vote this very hard question. Are you content with that situation? Are you not bothered about what is happening along the US Mexican border? Are you at ease with the mass shooting? Are you at ease with the Hate-Crime and unprovoked attacks on minority peoples? Are you? Now be careful with your reply as you might feel inclined to reply to me, because whatever you write however you argue, I will be replying too … with those questions. For there is no option if you choose to stay in the USA. Are you content with this administration and its followers? Are you?  Are you willing to stand by and do naught but simply write an impassioned piece in Social Media in the belief that somehow that will change things? For ‘they’ write impassioned pieces too.

We dial back to the previous post. And that that 60,000,000+ folk voted from this administration and rest assured they will vote again, and again, and again. This 25%-30% of the numbers. But they are not the majority…they were not the majority in 2016 … thanks to a narrow margin and a freak of your system they ‘won’. So do they truly represent anyone other than themselves. Are you content with these people telling you how the nation is going to be run. Are you?

For the non-voter by principal here is your paradox which in this case has to be answered. You might well have very strong views on government, which is why you do not vote. I will again  come back to the earlier point. Someone is going to run the nation. Are you content with this administration running it, or would you rather chance another, and yes risk those disappointment? Some might say ‘better the devil you know’… Let me say from a study of American political history ‘Well folks, if you are content with a devil …’

This I will hammer home again, and again. Are you content? Are you willing to let things go on the way they are? Do you truly think that an alternative will be The Same? Do you? Are you willing to risk the lives and well-being of minorities to satisfy your own views? Are you content for them to lay there upon some allegorical petri dish while you muse over your own political philosophies hoping to gain some ephemeral moral high-ground. Sorry, but that is not the real world you are living in. Oh yes you can talk about change and I would not challenge that but in this climate you do not get the chance to make that change because it comes by steady, slow evolution and right now we are looking at a possible political extinct event.

Polemic? Yes of course. Because currently American politics is a place of polemics from both sides and in that toxic environment your way does not have a hope. Civil War does. But not yours. Not at this time. The atmosphere is too toxic.

Your only option to change is to get out there and vote.

Defeatism

This is something of fall-back cop-out which comes in many forms. Let us leave the lazy ‘What’s the point’ excuse, I’ve put up enough arguments against that in the above words. NO need to repeat. There are others worries. These needed to be address by activism

Gerrymandering- Yes, they will do that. You need a rather dull and stodgy UK style Boundaries Commission to guard against that and even then there is huffing and puffing. However you are in pre-war situation here and propaganda  plays a part. Imagine the result when Trump’s dream gerrymandering has worked. For Trump 65,000,000. Against Trump 90,000,000. Imagine what the media and world media would make of that. It would be quite comic, and the streets would be clogged with protestors. And where is Trump’s mandate? Also that would have many a congress or senate member worrying about the next election.

Not Eligible – This is an old trick which was used in the South to keep ‘those people’ out of the booths when the local politicians were queasy about ‘good ol’ boys’ with clubs. This takes finesse as what would be required would be a strongly created website were folk denied the vote could register their names and the reason. Imagine millions of  names turning up? Of course that does need, as I said a very good site.

The Russians – Yeah. That’s another old one from the European book of tricks. Influence the nation, or make you think they are influencing the nation and thus erode the feeling a vote will count. Get out there and vote and make a noise about it. As with the other two problems it is all about raising the opposition profile.

Summary

Your nation is on tracks for an extremist disaster. Trump is only a small part of it. The main issue is the polarisation. The only way that can be defeated is by The Active Moderate, who demands their voice be heard. The one who will not be silent, and the only way they will listen by is the counting of the votes and the voice of those who voted.

Anything else is quite frankly fluff the current administration will blow away with its own propaganda.

The administration’s supporters will vote you can be sure of that. By not voting you are simply supporting them and stoking the fires.

Are you content with that?

Are you comfortable with the persecution of minorities?

Are you at ease with the erosion of the environment?

Are you glad the rich are getting richer?

If you don’t vote out of choice, then you must be.

Stands to reason.

Note to readers:  I will be re-running these two posts, as well as others, in the days leading up to election day.  Meanwhile, feel free to use these to help try to convince people you may know who claim it is too much bother to vote, or have other excuses. 

29 thoughts on “VOTE!!! – Part II — A Guest Post By Roger Jacob

  1. Thank-you Roger Jacob for this excellent two part guest post. I cannot disagree with any of your well presented points. In hindsight, I should have read this prior to the 2016 election. Yes, I am one of those Democrats that could not find Hillary as the candidate to get behind…in truth, I still could not do so. I found the Green Party’s candidate, Dr. Jill Ellen Stein, to have the platform that spoke to me and for me. I found common ground with most of her stance on the issues of : Environment, Immigration, Education, Healthcare, Jobs/Economy, Foreign Policy/ Military, Criminal Justice, Taxes and Deficit/ Budget. I went and heard her speak on several occasions, even so far as meeting and speaking with her at one of them here in Rhode Island. Did I believe that with this country’s two-party system she had a chance of winning…no! Did I believe or even consider for one minute that Trump had a chance of winning…no! I could have lived with a win by Hillary Clinton, but I could not in good conscience vote for her. That said, do I believe that it is my vote and the other Green Party voters that helped Trump to win…no, I still do not! Yes, I was told prior to the election that I may as well join the “stay at home” voters as my vote is being wasted, but that was not an option to me. Would I do the same again in 2020 were an acceptable Green Party candidate to appear…sadly, no. I am not completely at ease with voting for whatever or whichever Democrat becomes the party’s presidential nominee. Regrettably, there truly is no other way forward to remove the vermin that currently sits in power. Thank-you Jill!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • It is too bad that in this nation, given the structure of our voting system, a third-party candidate’s odds of winning are slim-to-none. I did do a post on Ms. Stein and Gary Johnson back in July 2017 that you might find of interest. If you check it out, be sure to read Hugh’s comment and especially note the part where he says the president actually has very little power! Oh, if only! Here is a link to that post: https://jilldennison.com/2016/07/27/a-3rd-party-president-not-likely/
      Sometimes, my friend, the choice is not clear, the options are not what we would like, but we have to bite the bullet and truly select the lesser of two evils. I shall respond to your email either in a few minutes or tomorrow with more detail.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Ellen
      Thank you for your kind comment.
      Yes, this is the Voter’s Dilemma and it is a very hard one. As you found out in 2016. You dearly wished to vote with your principals, and you stuck with them. Whereas you have highlighted the counter argument to your choice, you have also highlighted the small candle of vision which does not go away.
      As Jill knows I come from a very, very hard-line of politics, one which has a somewhat harsh doctrinal and some might say sparse outlook. Fundamentalist if you like. Thus as I see it, for those of us who seek out a society where all are equal in which Hate & Bigotry are expunged or at least supressed and vilified to such an extent its die hard followers are pariahs; when We, ‘The Equalitarians’ (just made the word up) and our beliefs are under threat, then we, are at War and the basic aim is to defeat the Bigots and The Hate-Mongers. For me voting becomes a duty to ensure this is so and there compromises to be made. In discussion along these lines I quote Churchill a renowned hater of communism, who said these words at the time of the German invasion of the USSR:
      ‘If Hitler invaded Hell, I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.’
      We have witnessed that Trump has become the poster boy for all things intolerable and offensive, we have them in the UK here praising his name (some can write, sort of, like D grade)
      Thus in my doctrinal view the duty is to Vote Trump Out, then when this battle is won, War for The Peace can be built upon and I for one would support your Green Agenda and encourage you then to vote Green at a local level to sew the seeds. Right now the Creatures need to be pulled down, humiliated and caste onto the fire of mockery and rejection, the majority of his voters who think they are voting for The USA need to see this, 100,000,000 votes for his opponent has to give the more thoughtful pause for sober thought.
      I have the same problem though. Boris Johnson whose nose being so far up Trump’s backside as to be positively pornographic, is a threat to the unity of these isles and needs to be expunged and his pseudo-fascist clique crushed at the ballot box underfoot. At the same I loath the current state of my usual homeland The UK’s Labour Party who have by their marginal issue antics betrayed the people of the UK by failing to remove a dysfunctional crew. Thus who do I vote for? For me I must wait for the General Election and read the Runes, Brexit Party and Tories obviously not, but where can my vote do the most damage to Johnson.
      ‘Aye, there’s the rub’

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Roger, has it ever crossed ur mind that the US political system is a two-headed snake? Corporations, lobbyist, special interest big money donors play both sides! They form PACs which contribute millions to buy allegiance from both sides; either way they win, talk about stacking the deck. Democratic candidates take as much from Wall St banks, Big Oil, Big Ag, etc just like the Repubs. How do you think they raise 100s of millions, by nickle and diming citizens? In 2016, The Clinton Foundation raised nearly half a billion in “donations”, do you think that’s a fluke? Trump said he would use his own money to finance his campaign and not take PAC money. So why is he so beholden to the oil industry, you think Rex Tillerson chairman of Exxon Mobil installed as Sec of State was a coincidence? You think all those Russian banks lending Trump billions has nothing to do with his presidency?
    My point being, the players change but the game remains the same. If you want to face reality, voting is an illusion to pacify the public into thinking they have a say in our democratic process, lol.

    Now if we elect a Progressive candidate to run for Prez, that would be a game changer! Alas, the DNC will do everything in their power to denounce, marginalize and smear candidates who threaten the status quo, ie business as usual. They did that to Bernie Sanders in 2016, and they’ll do it again come 2020. Why do you think our liberal press attack Tulsi Gabbard incessantly… she’s a combat veteran who’s anti-war, pro immigration, wants healthcare for all, green new deal conservationist, all her policies adversely affect the corporate America money machine! She and Bernie will never see the light of day. Dems will push for a corporate centrist like Biden or Harris, and of course the BIG FAT GREED/ CORRUPTION MONEY is on Trump!

    Am I going to vote? Hell yes just to get the orange baboon out, but his replacement will not be any different fundamentally, it’s all business as usual after we’re done patting ourselves on the back for a job well done. *Sigh*

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh it occurs to me time after time. And I would say. So what else is new? A trip down history’s annals will show this has been the case, either by use of money or in ‘simpler’ days a big crew of armed and trained troops or an out of context view of a religion.
      In the Long View of History, the simple fact is. There is Government. If there is not Government then there are groups of individuals with the aforementioned armed followers going around the place and as yet no one has come up with a sustainable form of Human organisation other than Government. This is how we are. It cannot be avoided, as much as we would wish. It’s there. A brief examination of the world will show Government. End of conversation. NO avoiding it.
      Now the next step is Degrees of Government, which again is unavoidable. In the small and brief history of the USA you will have seen a variety styles, some hopeless, some better than others. The question is, which is the best which will make Life tolerable for the vast majority of The People? Bear in mind we are talking about the Flawed Human Race here. It is therefore for necessary to seek out the path and the folk who can compromise with the minimum of pain, suffering and at best inconvenience to The People.
      This is the Harsh Reality. We in Europe have had about 2,000 years’ experience of this and we still don’t learn the lessons that The Moderate, Middle of The Road is the only basis from which a society can grow and reach some better standard. Revolutions do not work, they lead to strong people who have strong views about opponents which often end with a fatal dose of a piece of metal, and while they are about it, the opponents’ families, friends and folk who lived next door. Compromise, as the best alternative you are stuck with it for the current epoch of Humanity.
      Now we come down to Today in the USA. And I ask you, directly any US citizen planning not to vote. Are you satisfied for Trump to remain in The Whitehouse? Are you content that the arch hypocrite John (I avoided serving in Vietnam) Bolton is content to send other people to die, for him? Are you at ease with Steve Bannon having ‘respect’? Are you OK with the KKK and the Neo-Nazis parading under the banner of ‘Good People’? Do you think it’s OK for mass shooting to continue as long as there are ‘thoughts and prayers’ and the idea that if everyone was armed everything would be cool? The degree of respectability Trump lends to this?
      Those hard questions I fear cannot be avoided. In the USA there is a civic war zone which Trump is incapable of handling even if he wasn’t so stupid to see what is going on out there with his 60,000,000+ followers. This cannot be avoided. It is at the doorstep. The days of complaining about simple corruption are past. History is warning.
      The choice is either vote Trump out or let him stay.
      I ask again. Are you content with Trump staying?
      In conclusion, and if hopefully, he is thrown out. Then the fight is not over, The 60,000,000 will be peeved, the apologists will still be there. The fight is constant. The struggle for Civilisation, Compassion, Tolerance and Respect goes on and on and on. The eye can never be taken off of the game.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Your account of human history and our nature of nature of government and politics is fundamentally correct (fear and greed based emotions/ reactions). Unfortunately for all of us, it’s now coming to a head…. may get uglier before the light.
        Here’s an op-ed piece that’s worth reading. It recounts the history of terrible American policies and it’s horrible consequences:

        Trump’s favorite president prior to himself, Andrew Jackson, first rose to prominence in the early 19th century as the head of the Tennessee militia who exterminated the Creek Nation by, in the words of the Yale historian Greg Grandin, “burning houses, killing warriors, mutilating their bodies (he ordered his men to cut off the noses of the Indian corpses, so as to more easily tally the dead), and enslaving their women and children…[thereby] previewing the misery he would later, as president, nationalize” (with the 1830 Indian Removal Act). Jackson later ordered the “Trail of Tears,” a giant and sadistic death march that finalized the ethnic cleansing of the Cherokee Nation from the nation’s Southeastern seaboard.

        Consider the conclusion of the one-sided “Black Hawk War” – just one of many examples of a ferocious white history of North American extermination. The Sauk and Fox Indians lost 600 people, including hundreds of woman and children. Just 70 soldiers and settlers were killed. The conflict culminated in the so-called Battle of Bad Axe, on the eastern shore of the Mississippi River, near the present-day community of Victory in southwest Wisconsin. Better described as a massacre than a battle, this American military triumph involved U.S. General Henry Atkinson killing every Indian who tried to run for cover or flee across the Mississippi River. On August 1, 1832, Black Hawk’s band reached the Mississippi at its confluence with the Bad Axe River. What followed was an atrocity, committed despite the Indians’ repeated attempts at surrender:

        “While the Sauk refugees were preparing rafts and canoes,” writes historian Kerry Trask, “the armed [U.S.] steamboat Warrior arrived, whereupon Black Hawk tried to negotiate with its troops under a flag of truce. The Americans opened fire, killing twenty-three warriors.”

        “As we neared them,” one US officer who “served” in the U.S. assault recalled, “they raised a white flag and endeavored to decoy us, but we were a little too old for them.”

        Hundreds of Sauk and Fox men, women and children were shot, clubbed, and bayoneted to death. US soldiers scalped most of the dead. They cut long strips of flesh from dead and wounded Indians for use as razor strops. The slaughter was supported by cannon and rifle fire from the aptly named US military ship Warrior, which picked off tribal members swimming for their lives. The United States suffered 5 dead and 19 wounded in the “Battle of Bad Axe.”

        In a popular account of the “battle” published two years later, US Major John Allen Wakefield offered some interesting reflections. “It was a horrid sight,” Wakefield wrote:

        to witness little children, wounded and suffering the most excruciating pain, although they were of the savage enemy, and the common enemy of the country…It was enough to make the heart of the most hardened being on earth to ache. [But, Wakefield wrote]…I must confess, that it filled my heart with gratitude and joy, to think that I had been instrumental, with many others, in delivering my country of those merciless savages, and restoring those [invading white] people again to their peaceful homes and firesides”.

        “Our Great Father,” a government agent told the Sauk Indians, “will forbear no longer. He has tried to reclaim [Native Americans] and they grow worse. He is resolved to sweep them from the face of the earth. … If they cannot be made good they must be killed.”

        By Wakefield’s account, the US troops at Bad Axe “shrank not from their duty. They all joined in the work of death for death it was. We were by this time fast getting rid of those demons in human shape… the Ruler of the Universe, He who takes vengeance on the guilty, did not design those guilty wretches to escape His vengeance…”

        Such sentiments were common among American army and militia members, who reveled in the mass murder of indigenous people.

        http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/52109.htm

        Like

  3. Jill, Roger, I think a word we do not use enough is “weary.” Americans and non-Americans are weary of the current president. Far too many issues (even very small ones) are made contentious. My guess is even his followers are tired having to defend the most recent action or comment or tweet. They fail to make the connection that he is the lone constant in the turmoil.

    Don’t let two US Congressman go into another country? Really? Is that what we want in a person who occupies a position of leadership? Let me boil it down to this – Four year old Donnie tells his friend Benny that he can’t have two classmates at his party because I am mad at them.

    There is a reason I do my best to not refer to him as a leader. He is in a position of leadership. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • Agreed … I’m thinking that despite all the GOP efforts such as gerrymandering and voter disenfranchisement, they are afraid that if every eligible voter turns out next year, their little cabal will be over and done with. Trump & Co cannot possibly win an honest election, so next best thing is to lie, cheat & steal … and keep people away from the polls.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you Jill for the use of your lectern…
    By the way on reviewing it might be as well to change ‘intimidated’ to ‘suggested’. It started out as a typo which I thought could stay, but the Grammar Police might make much of it…..
    Thanks again.
    Roger

    Liked by 2 people

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