Saturday, November 3, 2012

In My (Not So) Ideal World: Choosing Between the Lesser of Two Evils

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After reading fellow Rogue Scholar, Shervin Stoney’s article on responsible voting, I have to admit that it really got me thinking about what my vote in this year’s election means. As a New York resident, I know that my one vote counts very little, seeing as President Obama is set to
win the New York State vote by a large margin. As many people who know me, and have read any of my previous posts can probably tell, I will be voting for President Obama once again this year. Simply put, he is the lesser of two evils, unfortunately. I say unfortunately because I know that as Shervin made clear, in an ideal world, we would not have to choose between the lesser of two evils. But we do not live in an ideal world. We live far from one.

The world I live in, as an American and Latina, born in El Salvador with parents who immigrated to the United States in search of a better world, scares me. At least once a week, on a good week, and way more than that, on a bad week, I am reminded that I am part of at least two marginalized groups in the U.S. As a Latina, a person of color, I am often reminded, “I just look illegal.” If things had been a little bit different with my family’s history, I’d be a DREAMer today. Because I happen to be a U.S. citizen, I am regarded as an example of the American Dream; if I were not, and still was in the same position I am in now, I would be another “illegal” stealing from the American people. My family would not be a hard-working family, but an “illegal” family taking jobs away from the good American people, and my sisters, both born here, would be considered “anchor babies.” This is the reality that many find themselves in: being viewed as burdens on society and easily disposable. Regardless of my citizenship status, though, to the ignorant out there, I am still all of the above. The color of my skin affects how I am viewed and treated every day. Being a Ph.D. student and a U.S. citizen helps, as long as I consciously let it be known, but even then, I am viewed as a product of affirmative action and have only made it this far because I took a “qualified” White person’s spot. I am reminded of this all too often.

I am also reminded that I am merely a woman in a world where men still hold the power and women are regarded as inferior. Every time I read or hear about a politician, a man, giving his, often uneducated, opinion on women’s health rights, I shudder. It is not because I think that men should not be allowed to talk about women’s issues (in fact, I think more men who are educated on women’s health issues should be talking about women’s rights more), but because the ones who do talk about them do so from a very patriarchal, misogynistic, uninformed point of view, in which women are considered incapable of making their own decisions about their own bodies, and men are the ones who can save us from ourselves, à la White Man’s Burden. As a woman, I also am reminded that no matter how qualified, or more qualified, I am compared to a man, there’s still a chance that I may be paid less. If I decide to start a family, I will be considered a liability and my chances of getting ahead might diminish. If I dress “provocatively”, I was asking for it. If I speak my mind and/or give an intelligent opinion, I am a “bitch” and/or silenced and ignored.

This is the world I live in, where intelligent men who support my plight constantly hold back from speaking out, while too many ignorant politicians take very firm stands against women; where people are labeled “illegal” as if human beings can be considered illegal, while the wealthy steal from the poor right in front of their noses.

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With only a few days away from the presidential election, I fear that this article might be too late; however, for those of you still undecided, this is just some food for thought. Yes, as Shervin said, we should be voting based on issues that are most important to us and not based on who is the lesser of two evils, but only in an ideal world. The two issues mentioned above are of the upmost importance to me, along with LGBT rights, climate change, and education reform. While I definitely believe that voting for President Obama is voting for the lesser of two evils, I fear living in a world where any gains that have been made will be stripped. If this is the world I live in today, where women and people of color have made so-called “progress,” but I still look like an “illegal” and cannot be trusted to make decisions about my own body, I do not even want to imagine what my world will be like if President Obama does not win. Furthermore, I feel confident in my decision to vote to ensure that in the next four years, people who are less privileged than I am do not have to be subjected to even worse situations. If this is what a vote for President Obama means, then I am in because there is no way that people in this country will survive a Romney/Ryan office. This does not mean that I completely agree with all of President Obama’s policies, especially regarding foreign policy, but with only a few days away from the election, what other options do we have? Yes, I could vote for a third-party candidate or not vote at all, but the reality is that either the Democrat or the Republican will win.

"People can tell me all day that Obama is a war president. He’s an individual who’s violated human rights of other people with drone strikes and what not, that he deported more people than [George W.] Bush, which is true, all these things are potentially true, but at the same time, do I think that Mitt Romney is going to be the solution to that problem? Do I think in any way shape or form, that it would be logical for black and Latino people to vote for someone like that? Or even white Americans who are looking to advance themselves in middle class and working class America. No. That doesn’t mean that I think Barack Obama is a savior or that I’m campaigning or even voting for him. Don’t tell me simply because the food in front of me is rotten that the shit you got in the trunk of your car is better.”Immortal Technique

I do think that things need to change. I am getting tired of voting for the lesser of two evils during every election, but that change needs to begin today for the next election process. It means that people need to exercise their right to vote for every election, both on the national and local levels. Many were highly fooled in believing that President Obama alone could create the change he promised. He is but one man. He is the President of the United States, but he does not run this country alone. He just takes the fall when things get real. It is our duty to create change. If we allow a two-party system to continue, then we will forever be voting for the lesser of two evils. If we stop paying attention after the presidential election, and instead do nothing but complain, nothing will change. It is time to rethink our political systems, to fight for what we believe in, so that we can continue to make progress. It is only those movements with strong, united fronts that achieve true change, and I think the United States is ready for some major changes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Let me start by saying I spent many years in British colony in East Asia as a child and teenager.I was educated by the Brits and lived among mostly Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus.

Back in US soil,I started to read(as one who never believed much what propaganda media said) about politics in 1990s. I started digging the history of what media portrayed as 'evil'&'racist' party. Strange enough to re-discover how the "racist" party was one who voted for liberty and civil rights all along (90%of the evil party voted yes versus 20% of the less evil party), and overcame slavery. I feel for the minorities who are bashed when they disagree with the majority.

As a minority woman who had seen/heard much about women stoned to death, being decapitated, being raped, disappearing, sold to prostitution because they wanted freedom of religious faith, freedom of speech/education, freedom to have a job, WarOnWomen in this country is simply shameful. It's nothing more than a tool for propaganda. What did Mrs Clinton did for the real War on Women in this world as a leader? Nothing. (Watch movie "Whistle Blower"-crimes committed by people who were/are paid to help)

I take the liberty to quote what you wrote about Obama:"Many were highly fooled in believing that President Obama alone could create the change he promised. He is but one man. He is the President of the United States, but he does not run this country alone. He just takes the fall when things get real." Isn't what a lot of "people" and media, as well as Obama, did to Bush? Take one most common example that Bush bore the responsibility even with the obvious Congress votes; Bush lied on WMD. Looking at the congress votes on Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and some famous quotes from prominent Democrat party leaders on WND: It's obvious how ignorant people generally are. President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998 "One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line."

As a responsible voter, I vote with my conscience regardless of the party line (though I look forward to the third party next round). My guidelines are from the Bible. I voted Pro-life (Psalm 139 -He create me and knew me while I was in my mother's womb) and I voted for traditional marriage. (Romans chapter1). I do love my two gay cousins-love the sinners but hate the sins-tough love. Jesus said who are not with me are against me.