The winner of this election will be one of two terrible men.
President Obama filled his administration with Wall Street lifers, who have instituted pro-Wall Street policies. He redirected the bailout toward big banks and away from struggling homeowners. He let the people who engaged in highly damaging and probably illegal behavior – see the Levin-Coburn report if you’re interested – walk away scot-free. This is just the tip of the iceberg. In short, he has favored the interests of the wealthy over those of everyone else, and he’s given Wall Street no incentive to avoid committing the same abuses that led to the recession.
His appalling civil liberties abuses are well-documented. The president has a secret kill list. Those aren’t my words – those are from the New York Times. He has claimed the right to kill anyone he wants, including citizens, with no judicial oversight. Obama has prosecuted whistleblowers to an unprecedented extent and has imprisoned one of them – Bradley Manning – under conditions the United Nations special rapporteur on torture found to be cruel and inhumane. Guantanamo remains open, the Patriot Act is still enforced, and the president has signed indefinite detention into law. These are things Democrats once claimed to care very deeply about.
In terms of war and peace, he’s been a disaster. He has ramped up the drone campaign that has killed or injured thousands of innocent civilians. As documented in a Stanford and New York University study, this program has inflamed anti-American sentiment. He’s engaged in bombing campaigns in Muslim countries and let the war in Afghanistan drag on far too long. Many, many innocent people have died thanks to Obama’s policies.
His education policy is chock-full of standardized testing and charter schools, and his support for unions has been lukewarm at best. He has failed to make climate change a priority. He has continued the destructive war on drugs. He has deported thousands of people, tearing their lives apart, for the high crime of wanting to live here.
It’s not all bad. His recent decision to decrease deportation of young undocumented immigrants is admirable, he’s mostly supported women’s rights, his record on some LGBTQ issues is decent, he’s been okay on student aid and parts of the deeply flawed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the too-small stimulus have helped people in meaningful ways. However, the president has done some awful things that have made the lives of millions of people demonstrably worse.
As most of this campus recognizes, Mitt Romney as president would be horrific. Voting in a swing state is very complicated, and ethically I don’t know how to sort that one out. But in the other states, it’s simple. If you vote for Barack Obama, you are throwing your vote away. You are supporting the stranglehold that corporate America has over our government. You are propping up the status quo.
The Green Party’s presidential candidate Jill Stein is on the right side of every issue discussed above. She has spent her life fighting for social justice and has put forth several excellent policies, including single-payer health care and a new federal jobs program. No, she won’t win. But that’s all the more reason that after this election we need to work harder than ever.
Daniel Moraff ’14 can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.