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Wednesday, July 28, 2004

INDEPENDENCE DEFERRED 

THE CASE FOR ADVOCATING KERRY

By Jack Random

“The American nation has been cheated out of self-government by a system that allows itself to be bought and sold to the highest bidder. There is no democracy where the only candidates are those who have already signed the party loyalty oath.” Jazzman Chronicles, Volume I.

There is no stronger advocate of the Independence Movement (third party and independent candidates) than the author of the Jazzman Chronicles. It is the first cause and primary motivation for my entry into the forum of American political discourse. I believe – as Tom Paine, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and even the aristocratic John Adams believed – that party politics is a scourge on democracy and the greatest enemy she will ever confront. I believe that the only means of securing true democracy in America is to break down the stranglehold of the major parties on the political process. I believe that Republicans and Democrats are no longer ideologically or qualitatively distinct and that both are controlled by the same corporate interests.

Believing as I do that a reaffirmation of democracy is dependent on the success of the Independence Movement, how then can I arrive at the conclusion that now is the time for deference?

I condemn with little compassion the philosophy of so-called progressives who decry all votes for independent or third party candidates as meaningless. One could as readily dismiss all votes for Republicans and Democrats as meaningless for, on the grander scale, they only perpetuate the status quo and no action is required for such a result. I hold this as a fundamental truth in the core of my being and still I advocate deference.

There is such a thing as a greater wrong.

I am against not only the war and occupation of Iraq; I am against the policies that have produced the most dangerous acceleration of American imperialism in history. We are confronted with a doctrine that has already declared forty years of war. Now that declaration is being transformed into a war of the century. Shall we remain ideologically pure as uncounted thousands of innocent dead are transformed into uncounted millions and generation after generation falls beneath the shadow of that fateful September morn?

There is such a thing as a greater wrong.

I appeal to you as a member of the human race. The current administration has unleashed a plague upon the earth. It is our solemn and united duty to eradicate it while there is still time. We cannot conquer Rome in a single day but we can stop this administration in its tracks. If we continue down the path of divisiveness, we will not only render ourselves powerless once again, we will give credence to the tired cliché: the left always destroys itself.

A banner at the protests in Boston reads: NO TO BUSH, KERRY, NADER. Is this the logical conclusion of the antiwar movement? Is this where we have arrived? Shall we advocate boycotting the election? Is there some other choice that evades me? Where are our candidates for Congress? Where are our candidates for City Council? Where are our benefactors? Why is there no National Independence Convention? Have we retreated to some imaginary realm where those who are most pure are delivered roles of leadership?

I agree wholeheartedly with Howard Zinn when he argues that those who do not live in battleground states are free to vote for whomever they choose without fear of consequences. I have come to recognize, however, that it is a dangerous line. To split our advocacy according to geography, however well founded in fact, is self-defeating. Common citizens (and I count myself among them) wish to believe that their votes matter. They desire something and someone to vote for, not a pragmatic rationalization. If we cannot offer them a clear, well-reasoned alternative (and this time we cannot), then we must advocate the candidacy of John Kerry.

Swallow hard. Do whatever you must do to acknowledge the political reality of the day: John Kerry is infinitely better than George W. Bush. Securing a Kerry presidency is the logical next step toward achieving our objectives: An end to the war and occupation, progress in the Middle East, a more enlightened foreign policy, an improved economy for the working class, an end to the erosion of civil liberties, greater tolerance for all communities, better education for all our children, a return to the separation of church and state, media reform, electoral reform, environmental protection, and the development of alternative energy resources.

While John Kerry is not the solution to systemic failure, while he is not the answer to America’s greatest needs, he is the man of the hour and his success will move us forward on all fronts.

There is such a thing as a greater wrong.

We are called upon to defer the cause, not to sacrifice our souls. We are called upon to swallow our pride, not a poison pill. We are called upon to compromise in order to move the cause forward, not to bury it. We are called to move – if only temporarily – from the cause of Independence to the cause of peace. We are called to the greater good.

When we have delivered the White House, we will stand before the new president and demand to be heard.

I give you this solemn promise (which is nothing more than the promise I give myself): When George Bush is defeated and his doctrine of war is permanently etched in the annals of archaic thought, I will be among the first to take to the streets in protest. My voice will cry out as never before:

Bring the troops home now!

End the occupation!

Independence now and forever!


Jazz.

The War Chronicles (Jazzman Chronicles, Volume II) is now available at City Lights Books SF and Amazon.com.

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