Daniel Ellsberg feels your pain. He knows that Obama hasn’t lived up to your expectations. He won’t argue with you on that one. After all, at a hearty eighty-one years of age, Daniel’s nothing if not a die-hard realist. He’s seen quite a few more elections than you have and has raged against the machine in ways that’s put much more on the line than most of you ever will. In short, Daniel–the former military analyst who, in 1970, leaked the Pentagon Papers– has earned his creds. This is a guy with no illusions, and a guy who tells it like he sees it:
The reelection of Barack Obama, in itself, is not going to bring serious progressive change, end militarism and empire, or restore the Constitution and the rule of law. That’s for us and the rest of the people to bring about after this election and in the rest of our lives—through organizing, building movements and agitating.
So here’s his advice. Take a long, hard look at what a Romney/Ryan win will mean. Then take another long, hard look at what a Romney/Ryan win will mean not just for the next four years but for the next twenty or thirty or more.
Daniel wants you to get real if you’re thinking about going down the path of a third-party, protest vote. And he’s not one to mince words:
The traditional third-party mantra, “there’s no significant difference between the major parties” amounts to saying: “the Republicans are no worse, overall.” And that’s absurd. It constitutes shameless apologetics for the Republicans, however unintended. It’s crazily divorced from present reality.
Don’t forget, this is one brilliant and courageous guy whose not inclined to let you get away with fuzzy thinking:
And it’s not at all harmless to be propagating that absurd falsehood. It has the effect of encouraging progressives even in battleground states to refrain from voting or to vote in a close election for someone other than Obama, and more importantly, to influence others to act likewise. That’s an effect that serves no one but the Republicans, and ultimately the1 percent [emphasis added].
What does Daniel want you to know? That the stakes in this election couldn’t be higher and that you need to face facts and acknowledge that
. . . to punish Obama in this particular way, on Election Day—by depriving him of votes in swing states and hence of office in favor of Romney and Ryan—would punish most of all the poor and marginal in society, and workers and middle class as well: not only in the U.S. but worldwide in terms of the economy (I believe the Republicans could still convert this recession to a Great Depression), the environment and climate change. It could well lead to war with Iran (which Obama has been creditably resisting, against pressure from within his own party). And it would spell, via Supreme Court appointments, the end of Roe v. Wade and of the occasional five to four decisions in favor of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
In short, Daniel’s pleading with you to resist the temptation to throw away your vote. And if you’re still uncertain which way you’re going to go, just remember two fateful words: Florida 2000.
Renee Shur lives and works in New York’s Hudson Valley.