You'll find that most Canadians follow the US elections quite intensely, though it seems to me that most of us are flagging. One relatively uncotroversial piece of advice I have to the American Electorate is to shorten your campaigns. You'd think that with a two year election, you'd be able to discuss some substantive issues, and really find out where the candidates stand on issues, but clearly that's not the case. Since all you're doing is wasting your time, why not waste less, and get on with the business of actually running the country, instead of desicing who's going to run it into the ground.
Because either frontrunner will. Quite simply, they are not substantively different.
Oh, I know. Hope and change and war heroes and all that shit. I've been listening. Muslim or Christian, or old man or young guy, or black dude, or Panamanian (yeah, he was born there), or being shot down, or flag lapel pins or the hand on the fucking heart during the pledge of allegiance, and controversial pastors, or Jesse Jackson, or sleeping with lobbyists, or when did he divorce his wife, or whatever the fuck you want to talk about, none of it means shit.
They'll both keep fighting illegal wars. They'll both block single-payer health care. They'll both cave to corporate interests. They'll both do sweet fuck all for poor people. They'll both fight for oil. They'll both keep Gitmo open. And they'll both do further damage to your reputation internationally. And they'll both tell you that they really, really care about you while they fuck you, but they won't call in the morning.
Obama's candidacy is over; kaput. He's already stated that he has no intention of stopping the war, so he has disqualified himself. That's his prerogative; no one put a gun to his head. His op-ed in Monday's New York Times just removes any lingering doubt about the matter. What Obama proposes is moving the central theater of operation from Iraq to Afghanistan. Big deal. Why is it more acceptable to kill a man who is fighting for his country in Afghanistan than in Iraq?
I've read that you don't care what the rest of the world thinks. And I'm sure many of you don't. That's your prerogative. But a third-party candidate would be a gesture of good faith. Impeachment might put the rest of the world (over 5 billion of us) at ease a little. If we knew that the US actually cared about its own Constitution, we might be a little less nervous about you starting other "democracies" in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and Pakistan. Yes, Pakistan:
Obama is not an antiwar candidate, that is merely a fiction maintained by his public relations team. In fact, he wants to beef up the military with 65,000 additional ground forces and 27,000 more marines. He's also stated that he will add “two additional combat brigades to Afghanistan” and encourage NATO to make “greater contributions—with fewer restrictions”. In his op-ed he boasted, "As president, I will make the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban the top priority that it should be. This is a war that we have to win.”
He also added this ominous warning:
“The greatest threat to that security lies in the tribal regions of Pakistan, where terrorists train and insurgents strike into Afghanistan. We cannot tolerate a terrorist sanctuary, and as president, I won’t. We need a stronger and sustained partnership between Afghanistan, Pakistan and NATO to secure the border, to take out terrorist camps and to crack down on cross-border insurgents. We need more troops, more helicopters, more satellites, more Predator drones in the Afghan border region. And we must make it clear that if Pakistan cannot or will not act, we will take out high-level terrorist targets like bin Laden if we have them in our sights.”
The candidate that's supposed to be different actually plans to make more war. He said so himself. And since it's likely that Israel will attack Iran in the near future, that means a four-front war. Have fun with that.
Part of the problem is that you have a two party system. The big interests really only have to buy two candidates. I'll grant that no system is perfect, and the parliamentary system is only marginally better (and weaker in some areas), but the fact that most countries have three or more political parties works in their favour. You can talk about vote splitting on the Left all you want, but the fact is you have no real left. You have centre-right and right wing parties. And your centre right is lying to you. They were elected last time on a platform of punishing the president and vice president. Hasn't happened.
But you've got it set up so that alternate parties, like the Greens led by Cynthia McKinney, and the Libertarians, led by Barr, or independents, like Nader, have a really hard time even getting on the ballot. That's not democracy.
You've been lied to, deceived, and screwed. Go ahead and vote, but know that it won't make any real difference. You (and many other countries, this one included) don't need an election.
You need a revolution.