[Marxism] Ramzy Baroud: 'Lesser of Two Evils' No More

Yoshie Furuhashi 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 
myself.

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 
"undefined."

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 
place.

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 
environment.

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 
election seasons.

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 
irrelevant."

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 
White House.

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 
spared.

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 
www.palestinebooks.com.]

YellowTimes.org is an international news and opinion publication. 
YellowTimes.org encourages its material to be reproduced, reprinted, 
or broadcast provided that any such reproduction identifies the 
original source, http://www.YellowTimes.org. Internet web links to 
http://www.YellowTimes.org are appreciated.

<http://yellowtimes.org/article.php?sid=1849&mode=thread&order=0>   *****
-- 
Yoshie

* Bring Them Home Now! <http://www.bringthemhomenow.org/>
* Calendars of Events in Columbus: 
<http://sif.org.ohio-state.edu/calendar.html>, 
<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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