The Shell Game: Escaping multiple choice democracy
In an article for Lion’s Roar, Buddhist teacher Ethan Nichtern says you have six options on November 8. In summary, he claims that your first option is voting for Clinton and your other five options are the equivalent of voting for Trump.
I’m a little tired of being told my only choices are a neo-liberal hawk who supports war and the TPP or the end of civilization. Sure, vote for the lesser evil but also be aware that democracy is not a reality show to watch on TV. There is more to democracy than watching TV and voting for president. Real democracy is participatory. Voting for president is depressing, particularly this year.
The problem is well summarized by Thomas Frank in his recent article in The Guardian:
“Today as the Democrats go into battle against Trump, they find that their rallying cry has lost its magic. Hillary is discovering how difficult it is to win an election without hope. It transforms a vote for Hillary from mildly distasteful to almost totally futile.”
I live in a swing state. That means I have little choice but to vote for Clinton. But that is not the end, or even the main focus of my political activity. I hope others will start to think the same.
There is much more that can be, should be done. I don’t want to people to be despaired about their choices and give up. I want them to realize they are being cheated and see what options are available to do something about it.
Here are some of your real options:
- Protest. When I say “protest” I mean something like the Progressive movement or Occupy Wall Street.
- Run for office (there are many local offices where you can have a real impact).
- Write a letter, a blog, an article or a book.
- Join an organization.
- Talk to people.
- Raise money for a cause.
- Make noise.
Otherwise you will just get more and more of Ethan Nichtern’s rather lame and restrictive “choices.”