rn: responsibility for “election” of “serial executioner”


Jan Slakov

Dear RN,

I'm afraid I would agree with L.A. Kaufmann that it is an insult to have
Bush, an "idiotic twerp and serial executioner installed as president". (cf.
RN posting of Dec. 14) [Of course, I am not in the US but still, it is an
insult to me too.]

The two postings below give different perspectives on where responsibility
for this disaster lies. It is important to look at this question of
responsibility in order to understand better how to work to improve things.
But it is also important to get beyond pointing the finger at others, and
look always at what we can do...

I mentioned in an earler posting this delightful practical joke Rick Mercer
(sp?) of the TV program "This Hour has 22 Minutes" played on Bush, when he
went up and asked him what he thought of our [Canada's] prime minister, Jean
Poutine. the "idiotic twerp" replied that he knows Jean Poutine well and
thinks he's great, or some such. (I forgot to explain that "poutine" is a
French-Canadian dish which, in most regions, consists of French fries with
melted cheese on top.)

Rick Mercer has played other practical jokes too, like going to Harvard to
ask people to sign a peptition to Chief Gordon Lightfoot to ask him to call
off the rhinoceros hunt in Ontario. First he got people going on what a
great university Harvard was... and then many signed, apparently even
professors! (Gordon Lightfoot is a well-known Canadian singer and,
obviously, there aren't any wild rhinosceroses in Ontario!) Anyhow, that
little joke shows that there is an awful lot of work that needs to be done
in terms of plain old education, eh?

Good luck to us all; we're competing against mind-numbing media, drugs and
human lethargy in trying to do this education work.

all the best, Jan
PS Just after I composed this, I found this lovely quote, which is pertinent:

'There is a quote from Raymond Williams, a British leftist who died some 10
or 15
years ago, that I very much like and so strive to take into my personal everyday
life.  I pass it on to you if you are not already familiar with it--"To be truly
radical is to make hope possible rather than despair convincing."'
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 2000 16:53:52 -0800
From: CyberBrook <•••@••.•••>
Subject: responsibility for Bush's "election"

  The first responsibility for Bush's election goes to those who voted for
  him. The second responsibility goes to Gore whose lackluster campaign
  failed to energize the 48% of the population who didn't vote. The third
  responsibility goes to those who did not count the votes fairly. The
  fourth responsibility goes equally to those Gore voters who failed to vote
  for Nader, because with the Gore votes, Nader would have won, and to Nader
  voters who failed to vote for Gore, because with the Nader votes, Gore
  would have won.
        But since so many people voted for Gore because they
  thought that they were being "realistic," lets look at how wrong they
  were: they neither elected Gore nor succeeded in bringing their own ideals
  into public discourse; whereas the people who voted for Nader failed to
  elect Nader but did succeed in standing up for what they believed in.
  Don't be so sure that years from now the people who voted for Gore won't
  be wondering why they threw their votes away for someone who neither won
  nor represented their actual beliefs.

Rabbi Michael Lerner

Date: Wed, 15 Nov 2000 18:49:21 -0800
From: CyberBrook <•••@••.•••>
Subject: I Voted for Nader as a genuine protest.

Published in the November 20, 2000 issue of Time Magazine

                 Don't Blame Me
                 I Voted for Nader as a genuine protest.
                 If Gore loses, he did it all on his own.
                 by Barbara Ehrenreich

                 The death threats keep pouring in. There are rumors that 
Gloria Steinem wants me to turn in
                 my "Sisterhood Is Powerful" T-shirt, that Jesse Jackson 
says my soul is toast. They didn't
                 even notice us Naderites for months — until, of course, 
their candidate decided to prove he
                 isn't "wooden" by demonstrating how fast he could sink. 
Then, quicker than you could say,
                 "Florida's electoral college votes," that great, flabby, 
inchoate entity, the Democratic party,
                 morphed into a disciplined Leninist organization, 
dispatching its leading cadre with the
                 message, "Vote for Nader, and you'll never eat lunch in 
this country again."

                 I know there's not much point arguing with a party 
spurned. Scapegoating is, after all, so
                 much easier than thinking. But, dear disappointed Dems, 
why not vent your rage on, for
                 example, the union guys who voted for Bush because of his 
easygoing attitude toward
                 firearms? (Oh, yes, I forgot, they're armed.) And before 
beating up on the Democratic
                 defectors to Nader, wouldn't it be a good idea to pause 
for a little numerical perspective?
                 According to exit polls, Gore lost 11 pecent of Democratic 
voters to Bush, compared to only
                 2 percent to Nader, who also drew votes from Independents 
and Republicans.

                 One of the major charges leveled against Nader voters is 
that we pretended — in some
                 perverse kind of optical malingering — that we couldn't 
see the difference between the major
                 candidates. Well, I'm capable of making fine visual 
distinctions. But a lot of people who
                 probably never wandered near the Nader camp kept 
muttering, "Bush, Gore? Gush, Bore?"
                 right up to election eve. This was, after all, the year 
the parties did their utmost to resemble
                 one another. Recall that in August, after a Republican 
convention full of "compassion" and
                 black gospel choirs, the pundits gave Bush high marks for 
making the Republican party
                 look more like the Democratic party. But how hard was 
that? He wouldn't have been able to
                 make the Republicans look like the Democrats if the 
Democrats had not already spent
                 most of the past decade making themselves look like the 
Republicans — embracing capital
                 punishment, unrestricted trade, welfare reform and the 
need to abolish the deficit. You call
                 this a two-party system? I demand a recount.

                 The staggering thing about the Democratic party's sense of 
entitlement — as in, "We own
                 your vote" — is that it has made so little effort to hold 
on to its base. Labor, for example.
                 Would there have been any worry about union members' 
defecting to Nader if the Clinton
                 administration had spent even half as much time fighting 
to raise the minimum wage as it
                 spent on pushing free trade with China?

                 So back off, Democratic avengers. Nader didn't steal 
Gore's election; he just mobilized
                 some of the mounting disgust for money-polluted politics, 
with its battery-operated
                 candidates and look-alike, corporate-welfare-state 
policies, whether they're labeled
                 Democratic or Republican. All right, maybe the Republican 
disguise worked for the
                 Democrats in 1992. But if you go around long enough in 
camouflage clothes, you're
                 eventually going to be mistaken for, well, a bush.

                                        Copyright © 2000 Time Inc.