In October, like many other Americans, I was obsessed by the presidential election. In the first debate, I was suprised by Obama's tepid performance and dismayed by Romney's brazen capacity for lying and distortion. Obama's lead in the polls evaporated and my cautious optimism was replaced by creeping horror.
Even though Obama has been a disappointment to progressives, he seemed clearly to be the lesser of two evils. Transition Voice issued a mock endorsement: vote Romney-Ryan to hasten industrial collapse.
"This election year, the total collapse of industrial civilization has gained a popularity not seen since the heyday of The Planet of the Apes franchise. All over the blogosphere, people who worry about climate change, peak oil, financial meltdown, debt slavery, species extinction, overpopulation and rampant commercialism along with the spread of military drones, techno-warfare and the surveillance state have given up on the electoral process. They say that voting for either one of two big government, pro-corporate candidates won’t make any difference. It’s too late to try to fix industrial capitalism before it snuffs out our few remaining freedoms and destroys the Earth.
Instead, some argue that nothing less than quick collapse of the global political and economic system can prevent either the advent of a totally Orwellian dystopia or the destruction of the Earth’s ability to sustain life. Unless you follow Ayn Rand and believe that the free market will create new air, water, soil and living beings based on market demand, you have to agree that the industrial civilization is on the highway to hell, with human extinction in the current century a real possibility.
Meanwhile, after Citizens United and the rise of Super PACs, the power of rich people to run government as a cover for destructive extraction and pollution industries has only increased. Last year, Occupy Wall Street offered the best chance in two decades to break the death grip of plutocrats on the neck of government. But now Zuccotti Park is cleared (or underwater). The drum circles are silent. And the hope is gone.
And so, facing near total despair, there seem to be only two paths for a moral person. You can join James Carville in the Cocktail Party and drink yourself into an ongoing stupor. Or, you can do whatever possible to try to hasten the collapse of the whole made-in-China and bought-at-Walmart monster of globalized plastic culture before it extinguishes birds, bees, flowers and everything else we love and then finally kills us all as a punchline. That’s why, if you want a sustainable world, you need to vote Romney-Ryan this coming Tuesday, November 6. Or just stay home and don’t vote for Obama, which will have much the same effect..."
I spent most of the pre-election weekend at a Long Island City for Obama phonebank in a union hall just a few blocks from my office. After the election, pundits were abuzz about the Obama campaign's unusually strong data-management system in support of its get out the vote efforts. I can attest to the power and user friendliness of their voter contact software, which amplified the effort of countless GOTV volunteers like myself.
On the evening of Election Day, we finished a few hours of GOTV calls and headed over to the Shannon Pot on Jackson Avenue to watch the results. I tried imagining what it would be like if Romney won, but couldn't. The closest I could get was the image of an asteroid hitting the earth.