Why I won't vote for Obama in November

I have no intention of voting for Obama in November. Based on what I’ve learned about environmental sustainability and the military industrial complex, as well as a series of discussions I’ve had with my wife, Elli, about this over the last year, I’ve come to understand that:

1. We are careening towards a series of environmental catastrophes in the next 50 years which will substantially diminish our planet's ability to support human and many other forms of life. These disasters we face are likely to cut the productive power of the planet by more than a factor of ten. (Deep Green Resistance, Aric McBay & Lierre Keith, Seven Stories Press, 2011, Pp 207-211.)

2. The United States military is the largest single source of pollution on the planet. The military is exempt from environmental regulation. Tightening clean water and air regulations is fine, but it will accomplish relatively little if the military is not subject to these limits. The demands of maintaining our empire pose the greatest environmental threat to the earth. (The Green Zone: The Environmental Costs of Militarism, Barry Sanders, A.K.Press, 2009)

3. In order to prevent the looming planetary climate disaster, environmental reality must take precedence over our military and security concerns. This shift will never take place unless we pull back from our empire and dismantle the military industrial complex.

4. President Obama will do neither because he is a defender of our empire and allied with the military industrial complex.

The next few generations face grave danger from drastic climate change and resource depletion. Right now there are seven billion people living on the planet. According to the authors of Deep Green Resistance and other leading environmental scientists, this number is already well beyond the sustainable carrying capacity of the planet. I suspect many of those reading this will discount this last sentence, but I fear such rejection stems from wishful thinking rather than informed analysis.

This isn't just about politics, it is intensely personal. My granddaughter was born in 2008. If this analysis is correct, the lives of over 90% of her generation will be jeopardized if we maintain the current primacy of the military industrial complex.

Even if Obama appoints better Supreme Court Justices, halts the Tar Sands Pipeline, and extends unemployment benefits, four more years of unfettered domination by the military machine trumps it all. Nothing in President Obama's record indicates that he will deviate from the dictates of empire. How could I possibly vote for someone to run the country whose policy priorities place my granddaughter's life, as well as those of your children and grandchildren, in such danger? Given this reality, it is of little consequence to me if the Republican alternative is worse.

I'm standing outside the two-party system because neither Democrats nor Republicans will challenge the military industrial complex and take on the direst threat to us all. I hope it isn't too late, and I will act as if it is not even if it might be, because despair serves no one. The last year has demonstrated the rapidity with which masses of people can transform the debate, become ungovernable, and even bring hope of a new world order.

My generation took on the military industrial complex during the war in Vietnam. We were the first to recognize the threat to our world’s environment. We held the first “Earth Day.” Now, young people all over the world are taking action. It is their turn to direct the path of this new endeavor to revolutionize our priorities. An innovative effort to change the world is underway and it is time for all of us who care about peace, social justice and our environment to get re-engaged. Whether it be organizing or third party activities, I hope we won't waste this opportunity by working, contributing or voting for Obama when there are so many better things to do with our time and money.

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You make a compelling case. But you stop short. What else to do?Are you simply going to stay home and not vote, or do you have another candidate outside the two party system to vote for?
The late Erwin Knoll thought these 4-year voting spectacles were nonsense and ignored them. Is this what you are suggesting when you say you have a lot of better things to do with your time and money?
Carolyn Oppenheim

Dear Carolyn,

I didn't make my position clear. I did not mean that I will drop out of the electoral process. I intend to vote for a third party alternative candidate in November, and will continue to support and work for progressive causes. I wish I had more answers. I won’t give up groping for them, however, since I know that four more years of Obama will just bring us closer to disaster even if the Republicans would get us there even quicker.

Robert Meeropol

Dear Robert,

You make a good case, and I would agree that Obama practices a form of elegant imperialism, however, since there is no viable third party candidate at this time, I think it's foolish not to challenge the GOP and all they stand for. At this point, you might as well say, "better dead than democrat."

Linda Norcross

Dear Linda,

My point is the reverse. I'm saying we'll be dead WITH the democrats, so the fact that the republicans are even worse is of little consequence.

Robert Meeropol

This is courageous, for you risk the ire of those wed to the Democrats and the poison of "the lesser evil." It is always harder to take the larger and longer-term view, as politics is typically wed to the short term and modest results.

The truth is that we are burning the bridges of those we say we love--the children who are ours and the world's. These bridges are not behind but in front of them, those that would lead to a hopeful future. To continue on as we are, ensures that their prospects will be for nothing but deepening misery and crisis, with an increasingly literal hell on earth to look forward to. This is not the stuff of dystopian fantasy--it is reality.

Obama is worse than useless; he has always been a corporate servant (witness the zombies he put in his cabinet of horrors), and there is nothing--nothing at all--that provides reason to believe he will radically change his direction in the next four years.

We don't know what is enough to reverse the funeral procession on the highways, in the air and oceans, but we do know enough to not endorse business as usual. You are right to stand aside from this man and the Wall Street crowd who are his supporters and effective constituency.

Daniel Raphael

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