I have been arguing with some Obama supporters over in the comments section of one of PZ Myers’ posts, and not too long ago, while doing something else entirely, I realized that earlier I had written, and I quote (or, at least, copy and paste):
It would have been really easy to get me to vote for Obama this time around — all it would have taken would have been for Obama to take a stand on even one major piece of legislation (the 2012 NDAA would have been an excellent one, and originally he said he was going to veto it, before once again giving in to the Republicans and signing it) (but let’s face it, by that time, we all knew he was going to do that), and maybe actually make visible efforts to do positive things, instead of declaring defeat before even trying as he did again and again and again and again over the last four years. He wouldn’t even have to succeed, he would just have to give signs that he was actually trying.
I was entirely sincere about that, which is horrifying. I came to the realization a few hours ago that, in effect, this statement is equivalent to:
I would have voted for a man who orders the deaths of random foreigners, most of whom are demonstrably innocent, on a regular basis, provided he pretended he was reluctant about it and occasionally made an ineffectual show of working on something important.
That’s horrifying. I am ashamed of having said it, and I am more ashamed that it is really true. I would have voted for Obama, instead of Jill Stein (as I actually did, so at least I wasn’t that lost to ethics in practice), if he had fulfilled those conditions. Dear everyone: I am sorry for having held your lives in such low regard.
That being said, by using this more blunt phrasing, it has come home to me that 98 or 99 percent of Americans who voted (which is apparently around 60 percent of all registered voters, who in turn make up only around 65 percent of all adult citizens, so we’re talking about somewhere in the neighborhood of 38 percent of eligible Americans) chose to vote for someone who either:
A. Orders the murder of demonstrably innocent foreigners by bombing on a regular basis and who was not only willing to sign into a law a bill which theoretically suspends habeas corpus (the 2012 NDAA*) but has sent people to defend this power from judicial review (this is Obama we’re talking about)
B. Has not technically done any of that, but is an enthusiastic supporter of both, and in fact promised to expand the bombing program (this would be Romney)
*I have seen people claim that Obama had to sign this bill into law in order to get other results. This is not only false — if Obama actually bothered to put effort into things, he would by then have had a long history of sending right-wing bills back with a note saying “I’m not going to sign this nonsense, send me another version without the garbage” and the Republicans would have had to learn to cope with it — but he has since been trying to keep those powers by making the argument that nobody has the standing to challenge it. He didn’t sign that provision into law reluctantly, he signed it deliberately; the reluctance was just an act for the rubes.
The entire primary and campaign process left us with two major parties running candidates who are enthusiastic murderers, and most Americans who bothered to vote chose one of these instead of one of the others. (I have no love for the Libertarians, but at least they didn’t run someone who thinks murder by drone bomb is a good idea.)
And the people arguing with me were telling me that, by rejecting Obama, I was being too perfectionist.
When did American standards for public officials drop to the point where murder is something you just have to learn to accept?
I wish my fellow countrymen wouldn’t keep giving me rhinoceros moments.