I was having a conversation with a stranger on Facebook about a week or two ago about the current presidential election in the United States. The stranger, who shall not be named, was making the argument that I was wrong for refusing to vote, that I was wrong for being cynical about American politics. He tried to tell me how Hillary Clinton, the war criminal, is somehow better than Donald Trump, the racist and potential fascist.
I tried to explain to him that neither was better than the other and that, by voting, we are just acting under the illusion that these elections have any legitimacy. I do not believe that they do. He responded by saying that I pay taxes, and do other things that give the government legitimacy. I was very frank with him: I pay taxes because I am threatened with prison if I do not, the government cannot punish me for not voting. Therefore, I choose not to vote: I refuse to operate and live my life under the illusion that I actually have a choice, and I refuse to believe that there is any such thing as a “lesser of two evils.” The country in which I live has a lot of issues, both systemic and cultural, and we cannot solve them within the confines of liberal politics.
This lesser of two evils argument only exists in politics. I do not see it in any other field. For example, how would it sound if someone were to ask you: “do you want AIDS or cancer?” It’s the same exact thing with politics: a Democrat is no different from a Republican, except in how they oppress you. The Republican will overtly oppress you – he overtly represents the bourgeoisie and will let you know, whereas the Democrat will pretend as if he is your friend while he is making deals with the bourgeoisie in private.
However, the only person I have ever seen make these rationalizations is the American liberal. The American liberal will somehow try to rationalize that Donald Trump is worse than Hillary Clinton because he says racist and divisive things, and because he is an irrational, jingoist, and militaristic buffoon. They’ll talk about his crazy rhetoric about “building walls” and “bombing the hell” out of other countries. They ignore the fact that Hillary Clinton supported most of America’s imperialist wars (has anybody seen the interview when she gleefully celebrated Gaddafi’s death?). She supported the policies that have led to mass incarceration, and evidence has come out that she rigged the Democratic primary election, courtesy of Wikileaks.
The African-American liberal who will blindly vote for the Democrats is even worse. Of course, I say this as an African-American critically analyzing the state of Black America. The African-American liberal will talk about how racist Republicans are, how they promote neo-liberal policies that keep the Black underclass in poverty, but they’ll ignore the fact that the Democrats are no different. They’ll ignore the fact that Bill Clinton put more Black people in prison than any president prior; they’ll ignore the fact that every predominantly-Black city run by Democrats is a corrupt, crime-ridden, decaying death trap. They’ll ignore the fact that all of the unemployment, crime, and police brutality that has seemed to plague the Black community in the past eight years has been perpetuated under the administration of the first Black president.
What’s even more unfortunate is that they’ll rationalize Obama’s failures by making distinctions between the Democrats, Republicans, the various branches of the federal government, etc, when the truth is that there is no difference. Any institution, person, or law that keeps the working class and minorities in the position that they’re in is a part of the government. There is no such thing as a lesser of two evils, it doesn’t even make sense; there is only evil.
Liberal politics also limits our imaginative scope to what currently exists. We are unable to see past the Democratic-Republican dichotomy, and all opinions, even those not even considered to be mainstream, are limited to said dichotomy. Anything outside of the confines of the two-party system is not accepted or supported. The most notable and recent example of this is when Bernie Sanders, an independent social democrat, was forced to run as a Democrat in order to have mass appeal. This two-party cage prevents us from seeing alternatives to the current way of doing politics. Liberal politics are not working for us. The possibilities we have are endless, and we have a wide variety of alternatives. We need to take politics to the grassroots, from the ground up. We need to come together amongst ourselves and decide how we are going to run our country. We do not need politicians, we don’t need voting, what we need is direct action. Malcolm X once said the street is the only place where we can receive justice. It was true in his time, and it is certainly true now. We do not have to accept the political system. How can we accept the current political system when it is clearly not working for us?
What has this current system solved? In the wake of the recent police shootings, we have received nothing but half-baked solutions. We have received nothing but false promises. America is as much a White supremacist nation in 2016, as it was in 1776. Fifty years after the Civil Rights Movement, the same arguments are being made, the same things are being said, and the same conditions still exist. The very same wars of imperialism have continued from George W. Bush and his predecessors, through to Barack Obama.
The fact of the matter is that liberal politics merely perpetuate these things. Politicians perpetuate the corrupt and oppressive structures that exist within America. Liberal politics do not provide us with any real solutions; at this point, the only real purpose of the current political system is too silence us, to water down our rage, and to perpetuate oppression. Anyone with even a modicum of political intelligence knows that this is the case. So therefore why do we continue to make these, quite frankly, illogical “lesser of two evils” arguments? Let me make it plain: this is just evil, there is no lesser of two evils. Maybe it’s time for us to do politics in a different way. Maybe, instead of from the top down, instead of having our lives decided by bureaucrats in DC, we can do politics from the ground up. We can decide, ourselves, the direction this country is going to go in.