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Chris Hedges
Truthdig / Truthdig Op-Ed
Published: Tuesday 30 October 2012
This election is not between Obama and Romney, it is between corporate power and us.

Why I’m Voting Green

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The November election is not a battle between Republicans and Democrats. It is not a battle between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. It is a battle between the corporate state and us. And if we do not immediately engage in this battle we are finished, as climate scientists have made clear. I will defy corporate power in small and large ways. I will invest my energy now solely in acts of resistance, in civil disobedience and in defiance. Those who rebel are our only hope. And for this reason I will vote next month for Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, although I could as easily vote for Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party. I will step outside the system. Voting for the “lesser evil”—or failing to vote at all—is part of the corporate agenda to crush what is left of our anemic democracy. And those who continue to participate in the vaudeville of a two-party process, who refuse to confront in every way possible the structures of corporate power, assure our mutual destruction.

All the major correctives to American democracy have come through movements and third parties that have operated outside the mainstream. Few achieved formal positions of power. These movements built enough momentum and popular support, always in the face of fierce opposition, to force the power elite to respond to their concerns. Such developments, along with the courage to defy the political charade in the voting booth, offer the only hope of saving us from Wall Street predators, the assault on the ecosystem by the fossil fuel industry, the rise of the security and surveillance state and the dramatic erosion of our civil liberties.

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any,” Alice Walker writes.

It was the Liberty Party that first fought slavery. It was the Prohibition and Socialist parties, along with the Suffragists, that began the fight for the vote for women and made possible the 19th Amendment. It was the Socialist Party, along with radical labor unions, that first battled against child labor and made possible the 40-hour workweek. It was the organizing of the Populist Party that gave us the Immigration Act of 1924 along with a “progressive” tax system. And it was the Socialists who battled for unemployment benefits, leading the way to the Social Security Act of 1935. No one in the ruling elite, including Franklin Roosevelt, would have passed this legislation without pressure from the outside.“It is the combination of a social movement on the ground with an independent political party that has always made history together, whether during abolition, women’s suffrage or the labor movement,” Stein said when I reached her by phone as she campaigned in Chicago. “We need courage in our politics that matches the courage of the social movements—of Occupy, eviction blockades, Keystone pipeline civil disobedience, student strikes, the Chicago teachers union and more. If public opinion really mattered in this race, we [her presidential ticket] would win. We have majority support in poll after poll on nearly all of the key issues, from downsizing the military budget and bringing the troops home, to taxing the rich, to stopping the Wall Street bailouts, to breaking up the banks, to ending the offshoring of jobs, to supporting workers’ rights, to increasing the minimum wage, to health care as a human right, through Medicare for all. These are the solutions a majority of Americans are clamoring for.”

The corporate state has successfully waged a campaign of fear to disempower voters and citizens. By intimidating voters through a barrage of propaganda with the message that Americans have to vote for the lesser evil and that making a defiant stand for justice and democracy is counterproductive, it cements into place the agenda of corporate domination we seek to thwart. This fear campaign, skillfully disseminated by the $2.5 billion spent on political propaganda, has silenced real political opposition. It has turned those few politicians and leaders who have the courage to resist, such as Stein and Ralph Nader, into pariahs, denied a voice in the debates and the national discourse. Capitulation, silence and fear, however, are not a strategy. They will guarantee everything we seek to avoid.

“The Obama administration has embraced the policies of George W. Bush, and then gone much further,” Stein said. “Wall Street bailouts went ballistic under Obama—$700 billion under Bush, but $4.5 trillion under Obama, plus another $16 trillion in zero-interest loans for Wall Street. Obama continues offshoring our jobs. Bill Clinton brought us NAFTA, which was carried out under George W. Bush. It was vastly expanded under Obama to labor abusers in Colombia, and to Panama and South Korea. The Transpacific Partnership, being negotiated behind closed doors by the Obama White House, is NAFTA on steroids. It continues to send our jobs overseas. It undermines wages at home. It overrides American sovereignty by establishing an international corporate board that can overrule American legislation and regulations that protect workers as well as our air, our water, our climate and our food supply.”

Obama, who has claimed the power of assassinating U.S. citizens without charge or trial, increased the drone war and has vastly expanded the wars in the Middle East. He is waging proxy wars in Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia. His assault on civil liberties—from his use of the Espionage Act to silence whistle-blowers to Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act to the FISA Amendment Act—is worse than Bush’s. His attack on immigrant rights has also outpaced that of Bush. Obama has deported more undocumented workers in four years than his Republican predecessor did in eight years. There is negligible difference between Obama and Romney on the issue of student debt, which has turned a generation of college students into indentured servants. But the most important convergence between the Republicans and the Democrats is their utter failure to address the perilous assault by the fossil fuel industry on the ecosystem. It was Obama who undercut the international climate accord reached last year at Durban, South Africa, saying the world could wait until 2020 for an agreement.

“Obama is promoting oil drilling in the Arctic, where the ice cap has already collapsed to one-quarter of its size from a couple decades ago, and he’s opened up our national parks for drilling,” Stein said. “He has given the green light to fracking. He has permitted the exhaust from shale oil [extraction] to go into the atmosphere. He is building the southern pass of the Keystone pipeline. He brags that he has built more miles of pipeline than any other president.

“There is a protracted drought in 60 percent of the continental U.S.,” Stein said. “There are record forest fires and rising food prices. We have just now seen the 12 hottest months on record. Storms are growing in destructiveness. All this is happening with less than 1-degree Celsius temperature rise. Yet we are now on track for a 6-degree Celsius warming in this century alone. This is not survivable. The most pessimistic science on climate change has underpredicted the rate at which climate change is advancing.”

The flimsy excuses used by liberals and progressives to support Obama, including the argument that we can’t let Romney appoint the next Supreme Court justices, ignore the imperative of building a movement as fast and as radical as possible as a counterweight to corporate power. The Supreme Court, no matter what its composition, will not save us from financial implosion and climate collapse. And Obama, whatever his proclivity on social issues, has provided ample evidence that he will not alter his servitude to the corporate state. For example, he has refused to provide assurance that he will not make cuts in basic social infrastructures. He has proposed raising the eligibility age for Medicare, a move that would leave millions without adequate health care in retirement. He has said he will reduce the cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security, thrusting vast numbers of seniors into poverty. Progressives’ call to vote for independents in “safe” states where it is certain the Democrats will win will do nothing to mitigate fossil fuel’s ravaging of the ecosystem, regulate and prosecute Wall Street or return to us our civil liberties.

“There is no state out there where either Obama or Romney offers a way out of here alive,” Stein said. “It’s up to us to create truly safe states, a safe nation, and a safe planet. Neither Obama nor Romney has a single exit strategy from the deadly crises we face.”

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ABOUT Chris Hedges
Chris Hedges is a weekly Truthdig columnist and a fellow at The Nation Institute. His newest book is “The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress.”

Fool me once, shame on

Fool me once, shame on you,
Fool me twice, shame on me!

Obama uttered not a word to support the Occupy Movement. He cynically gave up on every promise he made in 2008, capitulating to his adversaries in the name of compromise, more accurately, cowardice. Go Green this time.

It is helpful - before

It is helpful - before deciding for whom to vote, or even if to vote at all - to sit down and do a personal reckoning as to where you stand with America. Here's mine:

The Reckoning


I am redeeming all my tickets you hold

In your Pawnshop of my soul.

The ticket of all the Indians and Japs and Nazis I killed

In the backyards of my boyhood.

The ticket of the church service on the day

JFK had his head blown open and

Was sainted on the spot.

The ticket of Kent State


The ticket of Jonestown


The ticket of Nine Eleven.

The ticket of the National Debt you

Tell me I personally owe.

The ticket of the innocence you said I lost

That you never had any claim to

In the first place.


I am redeeming all my tickets you hold

In your Pawnshop of my soul.

The ticket of the holy materialism;

Coin, Scratch, Moolah, Franklins, Hamiltons and G’s

The Big Greed.

The tickets of addiction

Cigarettes and credit and alcohol, television,

Advertising, the stuff I

Never needed. O yeah,

You hooked me alright, America.

The Presidential tickets,

The tickets of the Bosses

And the Bankers and the CEO’s

All, all of them.

The tickets to the ones I love and loved and

The Worlds I love and loved, those tickets you

Gave me in return for putting all hope and dreams

Behind your counter.


I am redeeming all my tickets you hold

In your Pawnshop of my soul.

America, you lied. And I was too dumb

And too young to know you didn’t own my soul,

And accepted the tickets in trust of your

Promise that of course I could redeem them


America, you lied

And you still lie,

Only bigger, more arrogant.


I have redeemed all my tickets you held

In your Pawnshop of my soul.

Your glass cases stand open and barren

Your locks are broken

Your shelves are empty

Your counters are bare

Your wage-slaves are quitting

The weeds are shattering your blacktop

Even the Crows avoid your bones

© Salskov Iversen 2012

I would like to do "ranked

I would like to do "ranked choice voting". I heard about some other cities doing this and I think San Francisco was mentioned. I rank Green Party Candidate Jill Stein # 1 and Obama as #2. She would not be the majority and so my 2nd choice would end up as my ultimate selection. In this way more people would vote their conscience and it would in turn put some 3rd party issues on the Political Agenda. Even tho 3rd party condidates may not win, they influence the political "talk" which in turn influences public policy. This would be civilized and create a new way of 3rd party voting.

I agree with the things Chris

I agree with the things Chris says. My feeling is that the Green Party lost so much ground when they backed down after the Bush/Gore election. The liberals blamed them for losing the election to Bush and the Greens basically said, your right, sorry. Instead, they should e saying yes, and we will keep costing Democrats elections until they take our platform and our voices seriously. Is the Green Party willing and able to do that?

The president isn't elected

The president isn't elected by the popular vote but rather by the electoral college. I'd have to say that most Americans don't understand how that system works. Most states have a 'winner-take-all' system meaning that whoever wins the popular vote in a state gets all the electoral votes. Under this system, it is possible for a candidate to win the popular vote and lose the presidency because a state's electoral votes are based on how many representatives they have in congress. Each state gets one for each senator and one for each representative. This system was devised as a compromise between congress voting on the president and the citizens voting. That's the easiest way I've found to describe how this system works to people on a general level.

As others have noted however, the constitution at this point is an antiquated and ineffective document. It should be kept as a national treasure as being part of the history of the nation but should no longer be an empowered document. A new constitution should be drafted that incorporates everything that has been learned and to reflect the changes which have occurred in this nation. Keeping the current document is sentimentality at its worst and Thomas Jefferson's worst fears have been realized. He stated that allowing banks and corporations to gain political control would be the death of this great nation which is exactly what has happened. Political leaders are not interested in servicing the needs of the population.

What did the republican party THREATEN if Obama won the presidency? They would do everything in their power to block him at every turn. They have done so and these are the actions of the immature and self-righteous. Even though I advocate for the drafting of a new constitution, there is one provision I feel should be kept and, indeed, carried out immediately. It is that the citizenry has the duty of dissolving and re-forming the government if it is felt that it has gotten out of hand. If one takes a close look at what has been done and continues to be done by this government I'd say it is pretty clear that the government has gone completely off the rails and cannot be fixed.

I don't necessarily have a problem with the way the current government is structured but in how that structure is implemented. The president can only serve two terms but members of congress can be serve endlessly? Supreme Court justices aren't elected but appointed and for life until retirement? You're just begging for corruption by doing it this way which is what you now have. Limit the terms of members of congress and elect the justices, also with term limits. That would be a good start but certainly not an end.

All of those congressional perks would have to go as well. Who in their right mind thinks it's a good idea to allow someone to serve one term in congress and qualify for full retirement? They are over-paid and that pay isn't based on performance, unlike your average John Q. Citizen. I read a story recently about a congressman who has major money and debt troubles and his congressional salary is nearly $180,000! Excuse me but that is insane and congressional pay got out of hand because they are allowed to vote for their own pay raises. Congress should be paid the federal minimum wage and hourly and then you'd see just how fast that would go up to a living wage. What makes their pay even more absurd is the fact that they don't even have to show up to get that salary so a time clock should be installed to cut out that nonsense.

There should also not be a special healthcare plan for these people which is far superior to the 'common folk'. I feel there should be a national healthcare system that can service the needs of every citizen while not lining the pockets of insurance companies which are only concerned about profit and could care less about your health. Influence is also a rampant problem and lobbyists are the symbol of that problem and should be eliminated altogether. Money should not be influencing policy just as religion shouldn't.

Frankly, I could go on and on but for now it's all just talk because the system is broken. There are ways to improve the situation and I'd be more than willing to work toward making things better but vast changes are now necessary. I certainly have plenty of good ideas if anyone in the current administration would listen but they wouldn't. Something new is needed and desperately and not just in the United States. Keep up as you are and humans are going to extinct themselves and the universe won't shed a tear when you are gone.

The article uses the

The article uses the quote:

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any,” Alice Walker.

Well that is exactly the point, I DO have the power to vote for the guy who passed Lilly Ledbetter and put two hispanic women on the supreme court. I know he did all the bad stuff Hedges talks about.
I also have the power to NOT vote for the guy who paid 14% federal tax on an income of $20 million and who has commited to outsourcing FEMA, overturning Roe v Wade and selling off the public lands. Its a two party system. Take your pick.

There is nowhere in the legal

There is nowhere in the legal documents which define our nation any statement restricting the number of political parties. In fact, the history of the United States is filled with new 3rd parties which came and went, grew and declined: the Whigs, the Conservatives, the Socialists... nothing stops a new party except people like you who are willing to continue to take what the powers offer and not ask for more. At the moment it is clear to anyone with eyes to see that we have ONE political party, the Corporatists, and there are two, slightly differing wings of that party. Nevertheless both wings have as their central tenant the concept of Power to the Wealthy Few. We were never so far from democracy as we are today. We live in a firmly fascist society and we can take it and wait for Crystal Nacht when all the so-called "liberals" will be targeted along with the Muslims, gays and migrants... or we can stand up and fight back. I am pissed and I am fighting back!

I was confronted with some

I was confronted with some liberal friends of mine who said they planned on voting for Jill Stein. It caused me to dig a little deeper as to why I wouldn't and why I work with some other liberal friends to affect change from within, not at the exclusion of what the Occupy movement did from the outside, but in inspiration from it. I wrote this blog post about it and wonder what others think. This is an important issue.

The Greens won the most

The Greens won the most conservative state in Germany. This resulted in the national government having to abandon nuclear power.

We can learn from this that the people can regain power when they vote for what they actually believe in and not for the lesser of two evils.

It could happen in the US as well, you would only have to replace about 50% of the population - it's that easy.

I think many missed Mr.

I think many missed Mr. Hedges' call to action. He clearly points out the historical and scientific justification for saying; "I will defy corporate power in small and large ways. I will invest my energy now solely in acts of resistance, in civil disobedience and in defiance. Those who rebel are our only hope." The vote is only a tiny act of resistance and but a symbol of Chris' message. The rest is what could matter. Frankly, I think a President Romney might catalyze real acts of resistance that... just maybe...could save us from a major extinction of life on the planet. The Republicans never heard the expression "future generations", much less consideration for non-human life, and the Democrats are asleep.

Hedges makes a great case for

Hedges makes a great case for visibly challenging the ‘system’. However, for him the ‘system’ to be challenged is merely the Dem-Gop commitment to a corporatocratic state. For me it’s more: it’s the outmoded (225-year old) federal constitutional commitment to public policy decision-making by oligarchic whim rather than by processes of systematic reason and democracy.

No stance merely on presidential voting (e.g., abstention, Green or Lib) will go far to state this larger challenge. (As the maybe-least evil, I’ll likely vote Green).

Other commenters worry about ‘wasted votes’ and ‘toss-up states’. On these matters, let’s be clear. (It took me nearly 40 years AFTER I received the math PhD but finally I did some basic election math.) Here’s what you find even when you make assumptions which bias the case optimistically toward the notion that votes really might ‘count’ - in the sense of determining the winners.

Even in a so-called ‘toss-up’ state the probability of your vote determining even one federal race is essentially ZIP. Probability is overwhelming (at least 10,000:1 and likely far more crushing, depending on detailed assumptions) that EVERY person's presidential vote in ALL 50 states will be ‘wasted’: that change in any manner in any one person's vote will not change the winner.

[Rather less clear - but almost surely vanishingly small - is the probability that your vote for a third party presidential candidate will help notably to tip the scale in another way: to hasten to prominence some hitherto-neglected issue.]

Even shortly after ratification of the 1787 federal constitution, with voters automatically restricted to a small fraction (adult free males) of a small population (under 4 million), chances were still next to nil that any one voter would have any effect on choice of the president - or any other federal officer.
Rather, the effectively intended aim of elections was and remains to create a populist veneer for legitimizing the federal political oligarchy, comprising the few officers (President, Congressfolk, some judges) who actually get policy decision power.

Because the 1787 constitution rejected a formal monarchy, its devout supporters ever since have called it ‘democratic’. However, the constitution actually establishes a Roman-republic-style long-term oligarchy rather than democracy. Moreover, it fails to ensure that public decision-making processes must follow reasoned procedures, including heed to facts and scientific findings, and use of systematic evaluation methods (such as in modern decision analysis). Rather, by concentrating policy decision power in a long-term political oligarchy free to act by whim, the 1787 constitution promotes corruption - per Lord Acton’s famous and correct statement (1887): ‘power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely’.

So, as a structural framework for public decision-making, the 1787 constitution is way past its age of adequacy and legitimacy. Especially in an era where information can travel not at horse speed but at light speed, where the national population is 100-fold bigger and the voter pool several times yet larger, and where mass literacy and numeracy and technical achievement levels are far higher.

In Russia and Eastern Europe, it took 75 years for common folk and elites alike to recognize that Communist centralized-power structures were intolerably inadequate and illegitimate, precisely because these structures were inherently resistant to fair and timely solution of pressing economic and environmental problems.

In the USA, how much longer will it take for a similar recognition that the two-centuries-old constitutional structure for republican oligarchic centralized decision-power, a structure which promotes corruption and is devoid of any commitment to scientific-age reasoning processes, likewise is now intolerably inadequate and illegitimate?

As usual, Chris Hedges makes

As usual, Chris Hedges makes many fine points. But the fact of the matter is this: Jill Stein is not going to win the presidency. Not even close. It is either going to be Obama or Romney. Now, those of you concerned about the environment and global warming (in which group I number myself): Do you really want Mitt Romney appointing the next head of the EPA? 'Cause if he wins, that's what's going to happen. It's not just about appointing Supreme Court justices. Do you want Mitt appointing members of the National Labor Relations Board? Think about it.

Chris is right as usual.

Chris is right as usual. Obama lacks the necessary honesty, courage and conviction to lead our country to an honorable future. He's in hock to the rapacious interests pillaging our planet, exactly like Romney is. No difference. None. Nada. Degrees of difference mean squat - can't be a "little pregnant." Doesn't matter who wins. Green gets the vote!

American muse, God forbid

American muse,

God forbid Romney wins, please check back in a couple of years and tell me that life under Romney/Ryan is exactly like life under Obama/Biden..... without prevaricating. When Obamacare no longer exists, when Medicare has been voucherized, when the SCOTUS becomes a conservative majority, when Roe vs. Wade goes down, when the neocons in Romney's cabinet start a war with Iran, etc. etc. tell me that it's all the same to you.

I think it's telling that

I think it's telling that Bernie Sanders recommends Obama as the best of the two major candidates who will be president for the next 4 years. Also, the Sierra Club, according to the latest issue of Sierra Club Insider, sees a significant difference between Obama and Romney on environmental and energy issues, but alas, all the Green Party can do is keep slandering the President about "corporate" this and that, in a never-ending litany.

Why should I believe that such progressive voices for reform and environment are mistaken, and Chris Hedges is right?

What I see is that a lot of people who voted for Obama in 2008 had their head in the clouds, and because Obama couldn't deliver on all his aspirations, they now accuse him of being everything from a little Hitler to a bloody warmonger to a slave of Wall Street.

I dare say that if Jill Stein were president, she would have to compromise right and left or she would get nothing done. Obama didn't invent Washington the way it presently is, but he found out the political realities fairly soon in his first term in office. I suggest that people view the Frontline video of "Obama's Deal" to see just how the President had to compromise, even to the extent of bribing two conservative Democratic senators, just to get their votes for "Obamacare." The President can't work in a vacuum, and he can't get anything unless he works with the Congress he has, not the one he wished he had.

The trouble with uncompromising Greens, as evidenced by the knee-jerk reflexes to "vote for Jill Stein," is that their minds are so cluttered with their self-righteous rhetoric that they really can't see the political realities that most of us older voters have dealt with our whole lives. I'm still not ashamed of my voting record, and the candidates I supported with effort and donations, because I've been an environmentally-concerned progressive my whole life. Too many Greens seem to be obsessed, in this election, with their own feelings of piety and self-congratulating condescension. Well, keep patronizing us until you get Romney and Ryan in office, and if you start whining then, I'll tell you to sit down and shut up, and yes, "I told you so!"

It even makes me wonder if the "far-out" theory is correct, and the Republicans are encouraging the Green Party, in whatever subtle ways, because they know it will hurt the Dems and help them get another tax holiday, at the expense of everyone else who works for a living.

RON IN NM, Ron, I've read a

RON IN NM, Ron, I've read a number of your posts, as you have mine, and I believe you to be an honest and conscientious man. I believe we "both" are genuinely concerned about the future of our nation. I must say however that your castigating of people who call themselves "Greens" is a bit uncharacteristic for you and a tad disappointing as well. Greens are, by turns, "uncompromising," have "knee-jerk reflexes," are "self-righteous," "obsessed," have feelings of "piety and self-congratulation," are "patronizing," and "condescending." Besides having "cluttered minds." The "Greens" are "actually" the good guys (and women). The objectives of their party platform are the things the goddamn Democratic party "should" be promoting. Instead we get "half-ass" declarations of support, particularly at election time, for agenda items the Greens unabashedly support at any time.

We are both older voters. Look at Obama's record and forget for a moment the Republican intransigence. From Wall St. bailouts and a near complete lack of criminal investigation, to hiring the very guys who helped orchestrate our economic meltdown, to suggesting raising the Medicare eligibility age, to predator drone attacks, to signing the insidious and Fascist tinged National Defense Re-Authorization Act, to deportations of Mexicans, to relaxed gun laws, to expanded oil and natural gas drilling within our borders, to the "torture" of Bradley Manning, to signing a deal keeping U.S. in Afghanistan until 2024, to a near "deafening silence" in defense of women's reproductive rights, to abandoning the concept of universal health care without so much as a couple of speeches detailing its benefits to the American people, to more nauseating support for "rogue and terrorist Israel," to extending the Bush tax cuts for which there can be no defense. Candidly, would "you" have called this man a "Democrat" twenty years ago? Think it over. In 2016 you'll be trotting out the same line and we'll be that much closer to the perdition we so desperately seem to desire.

WOE: Caught you belatedly on


Caught you belatedly on this post. I perhaps did not make myself clear in distinguishing WHICH Greens I was referring to. Since I've voted Green in the past, I surely wasn't including all people who are attracted to the ideas of the Green Party. But what I see here at NOC are the ones who keep saying, "both parties are rotten, vote for Jill Stein," and people who speak like that are the ones I refer to who are "uncompromising" and have "knee-jerk reflexes."

In replies to the Hedges essay I've seen a few who say they are Greens but who disagree with the position Hedges has taken. Obviously I was not referring to those Greens, and obviously I know that not all Greens take an uncompromising position.

I don't have time to reply to everything you've said, but after all, I said before that I was very drawn to Nader's comments and criticisms in the 2000 campaign, so I'm obviously not damning what he was saying. Also, I would not have voted for Green Party candidate Mondragon ( and others) in NM in a previous election if I had no regard for the Greens.

But I largely see in the NOC posts by Greens, a petulant, pouting uncompromising insistance that "I'm voting for Jill Stein, and you should too."

It is THAT uncompromising attitude, along with the many slanders against Obama, that I condemn. As I said here, Bernie Sanders, my favorite progressive voice in all of Washington, recommends that his supporters vote for Obama because he is the best choice of the two major candidates who will occupy the White House for the next 4 years. Also, I am a member of the Sierra Club, a committed environmental organization, and in their latest issue of Sierra Club Insider, they saw SUBSTANTIAL and redeeming differences between Obama and Romney in matters of environment and energy. So, there ARE sincere, dedicated and intelligent people who see a LOT of difference between Obama and Romney, yet I continue to see posts here by Greens who say, if effect, "they're both the same, no good, there's no choice between them, etc., etc., ad nauseam." I don't see that kind of attitude as helpful, honest, or realistic.

I salute those Greens who came here and said they were voting for Obama, for PRACTICAL reasons. They don't have their heads in the clouds, and they're not all wrapped up in feelings of righteousness. They're doing what they think is the best practical thing they can do in this crucial election. If you, or any other Greens, say there's no difference between Obama and Romney, as far as practical considerations of reform and environment, then I think you will be helping Romney win the election, IF you vote for Jill Stein in a contested state.

I hope I've clarified my position. I DO wish we had more than 2 parties to choose from, but if the Greens are truly serious about changing the political life of this nation, they have to start winning elections to the seats of power in America, namely, the state legislatures and the US House of Representatives and the Senate. But so many Greens who post here don't see it that way. "I'm voting for Jill Stein, and if you don't, you're a stupid voting robot of the two major corporate powers." I find that a very condescending, patronizing attitude, and I resent it. I've voted for, and worked for and supported, progressive, anti-war and environmental candidates in the only ways I could, and I don't like being dismissed by people who just come here and say my lifelong efforts mean nothing, I must waste my vote on a third-party candidate with NO HOPE of being elected. I don't see a Big Daddy or Big Mommy observing a third-party vote who will exit from the wings and make things "all better" for the disappointed Democrats, some of whom are probably younger than my sons.

I don't agree with all of your criticisms of Obama, but I've never placed him on a pedestal and I don't do so now. But I see him as a better choice when compared to Romney and his party, and like it or not, it's one of these two candidates who will be in the White House next January. I believe in having to work with the political choices I have, not dream of the choices I'd like to have, and thinking that makes any difference in government policies.

You're all missing the point,

You're all missing the point, including Hedges. You can't vote fascism out
of office. Fascist government cannot be thrown out of power via a democratic
process. You can't vote Hitler out of power. You can't vote King George out
of power.

Twos be damned, the left and

Twos be damned, the left and right, and crap on this election, fooey. I have tried to get Ron Paul in with all my effort since '06 and I was a liberal beforehand. Paul's following just doesn't learn, or learn-to-learn as Bateson puts it in Steps to an Ecology of Mind. Still, it would be soooo much better than this communism with total control over the corpus callosum. Why is it our system positions such a lousy candidate in the opposing (thumb, hardly) position to force the need for bat guano, instead, for occupation of the White House?

I have been a fan of Chris

I have been a fan of Chris Hedges, but I really disagree with his reasoning this time. If you want to support a third party candidate you should have started promoting that candidate at least as far back as 2008. To wait until the election is upon us and then vote for a candidate who hasn't a snowball's chance in hell of being elected is irresponsible.

I am not a fan of the Democratic Party but another Obama term is better than a Romney presidency. If you think the middle class has been decimated at this point, give Romney four years and you will see its total destruction.

I agree that resisting on every possible level is our only hope. I do not agree that starting that resistance by helping to elect a man we know has an agenda that will compound the destruction already in progress is a good or admirable thing to do. If you want to be a martyr for a cause, do it at your own expense, not at the expense of this country and its people.


PATRICIA PURCELL, "This country and its people" along with people around the globe are already doomed. Hedges is correct. A vote for Obama or Romney merely accelerates a process that scientists warned us of over twenty years ago. In all reality, the "total destruction" of what is left of the already decimated middle class may be the "needed" impetus for the revolution that must occur if we have "any" chance of survival. Tomorrow is not an option any longer and yesterday has already been wasted. Historically, successful massive insurrections have been the result of a sense of total desperation. I have two daughters in their twenties. I have no desire to see their world sent into a tailspin. But the "spin" is out of control.
We must, in numbers large enough to both send a message and a scare into D.C., vote for those "outside" a thoroughly debauched political machine. If not, Mother Nature will turn control of the planet over to the cockroaches by 2100. In 2016, people will be parroting the same directive again. "Only be a martyr for a cause at your own expense." Actualized change begins with a first step. It may be to late already...but I'm taking it.

Whoa, Woe! My guess is your

Whoa, Woe!

My guess is your fatalism makes Romney and other Koch-minions flash big smiles. They giggle at prospects for 'dividing' the reasoning opposition, and the more they make people feel it is already lost, the more opposition votes they cleave away. Vote as you will, but try not to lose sight of the fact that billions are spent seeking to confuse, discourage, intimidate and otherwise disenfranchise. It is a growth industry. For our daughters, we need to rise up NOW and make the system work ... not wait until a deeper collapse.

Hi Jeff, I have to ask: Did

Hi Jeff, I have to ask: Did you read the article? You state, "we need to rise up NOW and make the system work." Do you "honestly" believe a vote for Obama is emblematic of "rising up NOW and making the system work." My "fatalism" is based on the "fact" that electing either one of these "cogs" within the system is irrevocably going to lead U.S. to disaster. I'll grant you Romney will expedite the process...but as I said in my earlier comment, perhaps that's what's necessary for what I deem to be the "stupidest voting populace in history," to come out of it's Reaganesque coma and "actually" begin a process of "real" change. Now is not a good time you will undoubtedly respond. We don't have any "time" left if Climatologists are correct and I, for one, think they are. Thanks for the response.

Hey Woe, Of course I read the

Hey Woe,

Of course I read the article. I enjoy reading what Chris Hedges has to say though, as many others have commented, I fear he was a bit off in his conclusion this time. As were you.

Look, we are on the same side, just seeing a different path to hike toward arriving there. Romney/Ryan clearly deify Reagan and the steamy pile he started.

As an analogy, an earlier Congress repealed Glass-Steagall and we suffered a near total economic collapse in late 2008. We then engaged the services of the very crooks who nearly broke the economy to help clean up those toxic assets. At present, we have a narrow, wealthy plutocracy manipulating their capital so as to keep family wage-earners hungry for even part-time, no-benefit jobs. They created the jobs mess (much like Romney shipped many of those jobs overseas while generating his quarter billion plus take) and now they are offering to give us some jobs back if we just put them in office. In both cases, why in hell are we enlisted the enemy to remedy the problem THEY created?

Your 'fatalism' (IMHO) goes to the appearance that you believe, 'ah, what the hell, let R/R get into office to kickstart the pendulum swinging back'. I find that dangerous; I feel that is unnecessary. Mostly, I feel we all need to 'occupy' this political process and make it work. No more hands off and from a distance. Why wait? Why not start NOW?

Climate change? The real scientists ARE correct, no doubt about it. For what it is worth, this is perhaps my largest disappointment with Obama: that he refrains from vocally leading on climate issues. My guess is climate-disaster acknowledgement is seen by all mainstream parties as too dangerous to campaign on, so they dodge it. Sometimes politics resembles the floor of a chicken coop. No, wait, that is MOST of the time.

Hi Jeff, We could go round

Hi Jeff, We could go round and round on this forever. I "would" remind you, however, that "Bill Clinton...a Democrat" and one out there now pushing for Obama "signed" the repeal of Glass-Stegall into law. And that President Obama, not "we," "engaged the services of the very crooks who nearly broke the economy." If the "realization" that the Titanic "had to sink" before steamship companies provided adequate lifeboats is "fatalism"...then color me guilty. As for climate change, one might say "we're" going to get what "we've" been asking for. Except that a lot of "us" have been concerned and speaking out for years. I agree with you on the "chicken coop." Thanks for the response.

I concur, Patricia. I have

I concur, Patricia. I have disagreed with Chris many times, but never more than I do today. Chris demonstrates a lot of excellent knowledge about some of the most important issues facing the world, but seems to frequently miss on finding the appropriate remedies. The time to build a Green Party is not the last week of a national election, when we are faced with the prospect of voting into office an acceleration of all the phenomena that Chris correctly identifies as bad for the earth and all life. The time to build a Green Party is during all of the rest of the time, when the stakes are lower and we can build an organization that can actually make a positive difference. I am glad we have alternatives to the two dominant parties, and hope that we can someday strengthen parties like the Green Party. In the past we have seen Green Party successes at the local level. We need more of that so the party will grow from the local toward the state and national levels. But given the significant difference between Obama and Romney, and I do mean significant, a green vote at the presidential level this election could result in a movement so fast and far in the wrong direction that no party will ever be able to dig us out. We may already be at that point or very very close to it, which may account for some of the difficulty Obama has had in keeping his promises.

John C. Alessio

Hedges follows Chomsky's

Hedges follows Chomsky's recently reported decision to vote for Jill Stein. These are two very bright men whose point of view and analyses on just about any topic I often tend to agree with wholeheartedly, but this is an argument that I can't jump on board with, because though many claim there's not a bit of difference between Republicans and Democrats worth debating, there is no denying that a Romney/Ryan administration would be an entirely different animal from an Obama/Biden one.

I am not an Obama sycophant; on the contrary, I agree with Hedges on just about every point he makes against Obama. He has been, on these issues alone, a bitter disappointment. It is hard to imagine, in fact, any way that this broken system is going to get reformed by either Republicans, Democrats, or any combination of both. Which brings us to the need for a third party. But I agree with those here that this must start at the grassroots level and that it will take time.

So, yes, in some fundamental respects, Obama IS the lesser of two evils, but neither Jill Stein nor Rocky Anderson have a snowball's chance in hell of replacing them at this juncture. You can feel good on principle, I suppose, by voting for Stein or Anderson, but unless you're voting in a safe state, your feel good vote may, in fact, have the unintended consequence of voting in the greater of two evils for at least the next four years. And what about a thoroughly conservative SCOTUS? The consequences there are likely to reverberate for decades.

Saying Chomsky has decided to

Saying Chomsky has decided to vote for Stein is more than a little misleading.
His position is that in a swing state he would vote for Obama; however he lives in Massachusetts and so can vote his preference without aiding Romney.

Yes, Robert, you're correct

Yes, Robert, you're correct about Chomsky position on swing states; I should have qualified that fact. Apparently being in a swing state would not sway Hedges to alter his vote for a third party candidate.

Voters in deep red states

Voters in deep red states like mine, or in deep blue states like N.Y. can afford to vote Green. Pair up with a disgusted Democrat in a swing state.

Tip to Obama: When you get

Tip to Obama:

When you get re-elected, give some power to Stein and others. Cultivate a relationship with Greens that brings the Dems into the environmental mainstream while isolating Romney-Koch types as environmental destructionists.

Just a tip...

i am so angry at the

i am so angry at the idealists out there who would draw votes from President Obama and increase the possibility of a Romney/ rethuglican victory.
join the real world and conider how much worse a Romney presidency would be as compared to Obama.

get Obame back in office---he can not run again and so might be able to act more forcefully.

Dont be a Ralph Nader and a spoiler!!!

act AFTER Obama gets in office again.

I have many disagreements with some of the things Obama has done but Romney and the tea party would be a disaster for the country.

In swing states, voting for a

In swing states, voting for a green candidate is voting for Romney....And no matter how much you deny it, deep differences exist between the Obama and Romney ....Here's Daniel Ellsberg on the matter: Green voting should start local (we have a green candidate on the town council....) It takes time. Four or 8 years of Romney would be like the 8 years of Reagan (when liberals wouldn't go for Carter) or 8 years of George W--only worse, because the stakes rise with each passing year.

Will there be a difference

Will there be a difference between an Obama Presidency and a Romney Presidency?

Jill Stein, Rocky Anderson, Chris Hedges, etc., say there is no difference between Obama and Romney and have given compelling arguments to support their positions.

The Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson, Paul Singer, etc. think there is a lot of difference and have given upwards of a billion dollars to Romney to support their positions.

I agree with the latter but will vote for Obama. If Romney is elected we shall have to expend all our efforts to try to hold on to the gains of the last 50 years.
If Obama is elected we can put our energies into making progress--single payer health care, a just solution for the Palestinian people, a decent raise in the minimum wage, etc.
Finally does anyone seriously think that having Al Gore instead of GW would have made no difference?

I'll really be glad when all

I'll really be glad when all this election B/S/ is over.

I simply don't understand the logic of those, in "toss-up" states, who would vote for Jill Stein or any third-party candidates. Look, in Europe, Green Party candidates have gotten into the national legislatures. Where are our Green Party Representatives or Senators?

Does anyone really think that voting a protest vote is going to improve the outcome of this election? Every 4 years the Green Party gets on the ballot to offer a "none of the above" option, and what has that accomplished? Are our Green Party members so naive that they think it's enough to, every 4 years, say "both parties stink, vote for us"?

I have voted for Green Party candidates here in NM, because I agreed with what they were saying, and though the odds weren't great, at least they had SOME chance of getting elected.

In the 2000 election, I really liked what Ralph Nader was saying. He sounded like a Democrat from the "old days." He was saying what Al Gore wasn't. I really liked that about Nader.

But when I cast my ballot, I voted for Al Gore, because, even though Ralph Nader had a national reputation, I didn't feel he had a chance of winning, and he had no Green Party legislators to support him in the Congress, so he probably couldn't get anything done, unless the Democrats cooperated with him.

Well, Gore had the election stolen from him, and I thought that was too bad, because I REALLY feared what a Bush presidency would give us. I already knew what this spoiled spokesman for Big Oil was capable of, and how little he had accomplished on his own.

Well, Bush ignored the warnings about bin Laden. Then 9/11 happened, while he was reading a book to some kids in a schoolroom. So we got attacked, and when millions of Americans waited for him to ask them for sacrifice or service, he told them to go shopping in the mall. Then he invaded Iraq for no valid national security reason, and we lost thousands of good fighting men, and billions of dollars, for no valid reason. And he made a mess of Katrina, while spending money like it grew on trees. He ran up the largest trade and budget deficits in our history, and appointed conservative judges to the Supreme Court, justices who gave us "Citizens United" to pave the way for a Republican candidate to oust the Democratic president.

And now Chris Hedges says we should vote for Jill Stein? Wow, I guess all it takes is a pious and self-righteous posture when you go to vote, and "damn the consequences." Right, Chris? If Romney gets elected, I'm going to blame Green Party voters, at least those in contested states. Then we can have a Romney Iran War, to surpass the Bush Iraq War. And more conservative appointments to the Supreme Court. And a Tea Party dismantling of the New Deal and its successors.

But, hey, Greens had nothing to do with that, did they? They voted their conscience, ignoring consequences.

You all know Jill Stein has no chance of winning. And even if she did, by some outrageous miracle crafted by she even qualified? And who would support her in the legislature? Presidents don't rule by fiat, like medieval monarchs. So, in this fantasy, Jill Stein sits alone in the White House, with NO POWER to do anything.

But then, all those voting for Jill know she won't win, but they have this fantasy that someone, somewhere, will notice their dislike of the two major parties, and somehow this will miraculously change something.

If the Greens are serious, they'll build a party, step by step, invade the legislatures at the state and national level, and THEN maybe they'll have the gravitas to run a candidate for President.

Bad people are elected by people who don't vote, and by people who toss their votes into transient third-party black holes.

As a long time supporter I

As a long time supporter I must say that this is one time when the possibility of Romney and the teapots having free rein is too important to make a vote of dissention. I am too old to be forced to leave my country of birth and can't imagine staying for the fall out. Perhap Uruguay would grant me asylum?

From a Green Party

From a Green Party Member:

Chris Hedges what the *F* is wrong with you???

Why not Nader-trade (or Green Party trade) if you're disappointed with Obama? I'm not 100% with Obama either, and basically have always agreed with your criticisms. But this junior Senator has inherited the biggest financial mess in human history, and has done an above average job.

No candidate is perfect - using your logic, you would have been arguing against presidents like Abraham Lincoln or FDR. They had their flaws, too.

I have *never* voted a Democrat for president (I'm too liberal, I've always voted Nader, or Green party, or Nader-traded). BUT ... this year, I'm voting for Obama outright - and against Romney.

If you thought Bush was bad ....jeez! This guy is a Bond Super-Villain. If he gets in, there goes the Pell Grant! There goes reproductive rights! There goes Social Security, Medicaid, Food Stamps, Medicare...and god knows what else!

Christ Hedges you're a D*Bag for posting this. Progressives need to unite & protect our country against Romney and his billionaire boys club. Blood is on your hands if we don't stop Romney from getting elected and starting a whole new war with Iran.

I agree, this article is

I agree, this article is politically irresponsible with so much as stake. Chris, you are an idiot for even thinking of wasting your vote. Support change, but don't help Romney win just to make a statement to Democrats! We have made too much progress to throw it all away!

I see that others have posted

I see that others have posted exactly my thoughts. While I agree with the premise offered by Hedges, a vote for Jill Stein (who happens to be from my town) is a vote for Romney (who happens to be from my place of birth). We all remember how votes for Ralph Nader tipped the election for GWB. Jill Stein is great, but she doesn't have a chance. She should do the right thing and encourage her supporters to vote for Barak Obama.

Like lots of other folks,

Like lots of other folks, I've wavered between voting for 'the lesser of evils', or going Green. I sure as hell can't see Romney as President and Ryan as VP!

I like Chris's analysis -- best summary I've seen to date comparing Obama and Romney. As he points out, it's hard to grasp that Obama is any 'less evil' than Romney. And that BOTH of them are actually, in various ways, on the SAME PAGE (corporate state, among other things). So it probably won't matter much 100 years from now who wins the election.

Back in '08, Obama talked a good game, but he broke most (all?) of his campaign promises. It's like Lucy and the football -- except that I'm not falling for it again.

It is time for the voters to PROTEST, to Occupy, etc. -- all else is futile. Chris: "I will invest my energy now solely in acts of resistance, in civil disobedience and in defiance." Me, too.

My friends tell me that I'm "wasting my vote" if I go Green. My response is: "voting for Obama or Romney is MUCH WORSE than merely 'wasting a vote'!!"

There's another way of

There's another way of looking at this -- that many have mentioned: If I were to vote 'for' Obama, I would actually SEE IT as a vote AGAINST Romney. That way, voting 'for' Obama won't be on my conscience because if he is 'lesser', it's not by much.

Obviously, the Greens will never win the election, so in that respect voting Green is 'a wasted vote'.

But maybe a vote AGAINST Romney is the least 'wasteful' way to vote.... It's a way to protest, resist, defy some of the worst aspects of the Corporatocracy.

We'll see...

I'm calling out your b.s. on

I'm calling out your b.s. on saying no difference between Obama and Romney. What planet do you live on?

Obama: ACA  Dream Act  Tax cuts for poor, middle class, and small businesses  cutting out banks as middle-men on student loans ; revocation of DADT; stop enforcement of DOMA ; serious investments in clean energy ; protecting women's rights ; supporting our veterans ; and more.

Romney: support the wealthy ; cut funding for programs that benefit society ; snobbery toward poor ; increase military spending ; give massive tax breaks to the wealthy ; doesn't support women's issues ; vastly increase the deficit ; appoint Supreme Court justices that will overturn Roe v. Wade and make corporations even more powerful .

Men and women have given

Men and women have given their lives to free us from the tyrannies that Obomney represent. They believe that it is wrong for people to have the right and liberty to choose their own destinies.These days are the Valley Forge of our Democracy. March with the Redcoats Obomney, or march with the Patriots wearing the tattered rags of Freedom's courage.

Congratulations on throwing

Congratulations on throwing your vote away or, more accurately, helping to elect Mitt Romney! It's nice to sit in your Ivory Tower and hold out for the candidate that reflects your personal set of values but those of us not viewing the world through rose-colored glasses know that the war is won in increments, not all at once. Obama is not perfect but he is a far better alternative than Romney. Please, let's not repeat the 2000 election debacle. The race is too close to use your vote to "make a statement".

"Obama is not perfect but he

"Obama is not perfect but he is a far better alternative than Romney.

REALLY? Didn't you read Chris's comparison?

Chris is way off. Gotta share

Chris is way off. Gotta share (again)

Obama: ACA  Dream Act  Tax cuts for poor, middle class, and small businesses  cutting out banks as middle-men on student loans ; revocation of DADT; stop enforcement of DOMA ; serious investments in clean energy ; protecting women's rights ; supporting our veterans ; and more.

Romney: support the wealthy ; cut funding for programs that benefit society ; snobbery toward poor ; increase military spending ; give massive tax breaks to the wealthy ; doesn't support women's issues ; vastly increase the deficit ; appoint Supreme Court justices that will overturn Roe v. Wade and make corporations even more powerful .

Thanks Chris for articulating

Thanks Chris for articulating some good points about failures by our dominant political system, including President Obama. I agree with most of your concerns.

I already voted to re-elect Obama, here in Oregon, where my vote probably would not matter. If I could vote again this year, I would again vote for Obama. I have my reservations, but really, I always do have at least some doubts about incumbents.

I hope that in key states like Ohio, others will vote for Obama, to ensure we do not tip the balance to electing the environmental/fiscal disaster Romney.


CHRIS, SORRY BUT YOU ARE WAY OFF TRACK. I know we are at war with those that would like America to become a "corporatocracy" or "oligarchy" but voting for Jill Stein isn't going to help - all you are doing is helping Romney by voting for a 3rd party that has no chance at winning. And guess what? Even if Ms. Stein got elected she still has to deal with other elected officials (yes, those elected by the people). In Obama's defense, your article is misleading. Obama is using drones to attach Al Queda - better than putting our military in harms way and causing an escelation in fighting. Obama killed OBL. Obama ended Iraq and is working to help veterans. Obama did help students by removing banks as middle-men and extending lower interest rates. Obama has helped immigrant children who no longer have to fear deportation and can go to college or join the military and be on a fast track to citizenship. Obama has focused on deporting criminal elements - and some of the deportation is a result of overzealous STATES like Arizona. Obama is compassionate about the immigration issue. He has also increased clean energy sources substantially and created green jobs here in the U.S. while also saving the auto industry which affects the employment of millions of people. He has given tax breaks to the poor and middle class and worked hard to support them. I just don't get "liberal extremism" and I think its worthless to fight corporations and banks by helping their go-to guy. VOTE OBAMA. If you want to vote for Jill Stein - you should have promoted and voted for her before the major campaigning started so she could have participated in debates, etc. Hate to say it, you need to watch the Samual L. Jackson video, "Wake the "eff" up!" This election is too important for you to be a self-righteous idealogue voting for a party that can't win.

I read and respect Hedges

I read and respect Hedges work but on this issue, at this time, he's dead wrong. Our only hope is to continue with a Democratic administration and lean on it unmercifully to make it responsive to the electorate.

I would like nothing better than to vote for a viable third party candidate who is anti-war, pro environment and has the cojones to stand up to monster capital and the national security state. When I see such a candidate or movement on the horizon I will support it, but not the week before an election with so much at risk.

I refuse to cast a vote for Romney which is what my democratic vote would be if I tossed it in with the rest of the refuse of third party ballots in this election.

exactly! If you are against

exactly! If you are against corporatocrisy and oligarchy then why would you help their go-to guy get elected? This election is too important to be the self-righteous idealogue. He should have promoted and supported her before this point. Obama has got a lot accomplished if you think about it. (see my other post).

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