[Marxism] Ramzy Baroud: 'Lesser of Two Evils' No More
furuhashi.1 at osu.edu
Tue Apr 6 07:53:41 MDT 2004
***** ''U.S. elections: 'Lesser of Two Evils' no more''
Printed on Tuesday, April 06, 2004 @ 00:10:26 CST ( Printer Friendly Page )
Guest Editorial By Ramzy Baroud
YellowTimes.org Guest Columnist (United Kingdom)
(YellowTimes.org) - Since I obtained my right to vote in the U.S.
presidential elections years ago, I was frequently reminded to vote
for the "lesser of two evils." Thus I never cast a vote.
I still recall the exhilaration that permeated me when I was first
granted the right to be part of a collective democratic process that
will ultimately define a future I envision for my loved ones and
Prior to that, I lived in a refugee camp in Gaza under Israeli
military rule. At times, it felt as if my right to exist was itself
unresolved. I held a quasi travel document where my nationality was
Only a few years separated my "undefined" status and my right to play
apart in selecting the president of the United States. It all came
down to a few seconds in a draped booth, or so it seemed. But the
chasm that separated the past and the present was unfathomable.
I never took freedom for granted. In the first half of my conscious
life, I comprehended the concept through the method of deduction:
Freedom was everything that life in Gaza was not. In the later years,
I vowed to use my newly attained right to make the world a better
I often wonder why, despite having very strong opinions regarding
politics, social justice and economic equality or disparity, I am yet
to vote, even once. Maybe it's the overpoliticization of the refugee
camp, where half solutions are shunned. Or perhaps it's my belief
that remedying an ailment with another can be equally deadly.
To me, it mattered little whether President Bill Clinton's Desert Fox
bombing campaign in Iraq in 1998 rested on a different justification
than the bombing campaigns of his predecessor or successor. The
killing of innocent people and the transgression on the sovereignty
of any country is unjustifiable whether the bombs are dropped by a
decision sanctioned by a Democrat or a Republican.
And so went my logic, although it was eventually freed from the
ethnic and religious boundaries to include an array of subjects that
concern many Americans such as education, healthcare and the
But the spurious polarization of the American political system
quickly disillusioned me. To begin with, I am an Arab-American, a
member of an unrecognized minority whose voting weight falls short of
generating worthy lip service by presidential candidates during
Additionally, almost in all instances, foreign policy issues that
matter most to me often remained the victim of whichever fallacious
policies presidential candidates championed. In the case of the
Arab-Israeli conflict for example, candidates most often compete for
the pro-Israeli lobbies' endorsement to a revolting extent.
"Herzl's famous words -- 'If you will it, it is no dream' -- signify
the promise and the greatest powers of Israel ... we as Americans
must be the truest and the best kind of ally. We must be committed to
support Israel in the exacting, essential search for that dream."
That was one of the many tributes audaciously paid to Israel by the
Democratic nominee for president, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry.
Kerry, who is also in support of Israel's illegal Separation Wall and
occupation of the West Bank is seen by many as the antidote for
President George Bush's insensible foreign policy.
In remarks to reporters while on a tour in Tampa, Florida early
March, Kerry accused Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat of
missing a "historic opportunity and he's proved himself to be
Making Arafat "irrelevant" had of course defined Bush's political
framework toward the Middle East's most serious conflict since his
term in office. Interestingly, it was Israeli Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon who devised the term and put it into practice by the physical
confinement of Arafat to his bombed-out West Bank headquarters. Bush
followed rank, and so shall Kerry, if elected president. On Iraq,
incumbent Bush and Kerry are also in agreement, despite the latter's
attempt to overstate the cosmetic differences.
Although now dwelling on Bush's futile Iraqi WMD hunt, Kerry himself
was involved in the charade, years ago. In 1998, he joined several
Republican senators in an urgent appeal to Clinton to bomb Iraq, in
order to "respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal
to end its weapons of mass destruction program." Such complicity has
been completely dropped from Kerry's current WMD charges against Bush.
Once again, I stand facing the same dilemma. My eagerness to exercise
my right to vote remains unequalled. However, the "lesser of two
evils" remains irresolute.
Whether Kerry was the most "electable" among Democrats or that the
rejection of Bush's unwarranted policies is a legitimate enough a
reason to support his rival, the future is grim with both.
What is needed is the courage to break the dominance of the
traditional political elite and the interests they represent, which
always remain unchanged regardless of who claims the throne of the
The problem is even made more chronic by the erroneous logic that
seeking a third way is wasteful; therefore conscious candidates such
as Ralph Nader are snubbed as "spoilers."
Many years after living in the United States, I came to the
conclusion that a vote cast in a few seconds behind a draped booth
entails a greater responsibility than meets the eye. It's a
consequential decision that can cause human lives to be wasted or
As for my vote, education matters, so does the economy. But ending
the reign of big corporations, political elite and our country's
obsession with total and pre-emptive war doctrines matter most.
For once, I do intend to use my privilege to vote, for no lesser of
two evils, but for Ralph Nader. We must start somewhere, somewhere
worthy of representing the first step toward making the world a
better place, for Americans and everyone else.
[Ramzy Baroud is an American-Arab journalist and the editor-in-chief
of the Palestine Chronicle online newspaper. His book, "Searching
Jenin: Eyewitness Accounts of the Israeli Invasion," is available at
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* Bring Them Home Now! <http://www.bringthemhomenow.org/>
* Calendars of Events in Columbus:
<http://www.freepress.org/calendar.php>, & <http://www.cpanews.org/>
* Student International Forum: <http://sif.org.ohio-state.edu/>
* Committee for Justice in Palestine: <http://www.osudivest.org/>
* Al-Awda-Ohio: <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Al-Awda-Ohio>
* Solidarity: <http://www.solidarity-us.org/>
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