Wednesday, June 12, 2024

On "The Lesser Evil Gambit"


Robert Koehler at Counterpunch deals directly with "The Lesser Evil Gambit."

The election paradox looms. Do I calm myself down, steady my hand, pull the lever for Joe, even though it feels like voting for Netanyahu? Even though it feels like I’m loosing another bomb on Gaza?

I’ve had a number of intense conversations with friends about this recently, the essence of the pro-Biden argument being: We have no choice!


So here are today’s primary questions, which eventually we must all answer: Do I support Joe Biden? Will I vote for him?  And beyond that: Will we ever have another election that’s about the greater good – nationally and internationally – rather than the lesser evil? Are we stuck from now on with a two-party nation that renounces further evolution, despite the problems the planet faces? Or has the time come to truly challenge the nation’s military-industrial status quo in this year’s election, no matter the consequences of doing so?


Biden, in minimally stunning contrast to the Republican viewpoint, “delayed” a shipment of bombs to Israel on May 8, including some 2,000-pounders. As Stephen Zunes pointed out:

“Though pausing the shipment of 3,500 bombs may not be that significant in light of the estimated 90,000 bombs Israel has dropped on Gaza since October, it should be seen as a reflection of the growing popular opposition to U.S. military support for Israel and, in that sense, a partial political victory for supporters of international humanitarian law.

“This is also the first time Biden has conditioned any aid to Israel. . . .”

So here’s where we are as election season approaches. The Israel assault isn’t the only matter on the table, of course. Biden, as Sanders noted, walked in a picket line with UAW workers. He’s pro-choice. He has forgiven some student loan debt and invested money into sustainable energy.

Somehow all this matters to me about as much as a scoop of mashed potatoes – at least compared to the hell he’s complicit in inflicting on Gaza. I may go lesser-evil when I vote in November, but right now I remain uncertain. I’m still waiting to see Biden’s courage emerge, as he stands up to further militarism.

It would have been nice if Koehler also articulated a strategy to sweep aside the entire rotten system that leads otherwise decent, intelligent people to vote for the candidate committing a genocide. [And let's be honest here; Joe Biden's over-enthusiastic arming of Israel and his subsidizing the Israeli economy above and beyond the costs of supplying weapons, makes him a participant in this genocide.  His alleged "concerns" about the carnage, and the "pauses" in weapons deliveries that announces, are just as likely to be about public relations management as genuine.] Koehler does not, and therefore, his bleatings are to be dismissed.  People's lives sucked under Trump.  They have declined under Biden.  Not because Trump is better.  But because inflation has soared under Biden.  Homelessness has increased under Biden.  Things have gotten worse under every president since Lyndon Johnson.  Things have gotten worse despite all of the "victories" and "resistance" and "fighting back" of progressives against neo-liberalism.

I've said the same thing about Counterpunch's main guy Jeffrey St Clair.  The man has been at the helm of Counterpunch for 25 years and has had all that time to think about a revolutionary vision, a strategy and tactics.  And after all that, he has a website and a couple of books outlining particular abominations of the contemporary capitalist system.

I don't know why so many progressives need to have it explained to them that besides endlessly writing critiques of the system (punctuating that with peaceful afternoon protests making "demands" of our overlords that they blithely ignore) we should be spending much more time thinking, talking and acting seriously on how to get out of this mess.


Purple library guy said...

[Dinner in the officers' mess. The captain is inebriated, but asks apparently seriously]
Capt. Jack Aubrey: Do you see those two weevils doctor?
Dr. Stephen Maturin: I do.
Capt. Jack Aubrey: Which would you choose?
Dr. Stephen Maturin: [sighs annoyed] Neither; there is not a scrap a difference between them. They are the same species of Curculio.
Capt. Jack Aubrey: If you had to choose. If you were forced to make a choice. If there was no other response...
Dr. Stephen Maturin: [Exasperated] Well then if you are going to *push* me...
[the doctor studies the weevils briefly]
Dr. Stephen Maturin: ...I would choose the right hand weevil; it has... significant advantage in both length and breadth.
[the captain thumps his fist in the table]
Capt. Jack Aubrey: There, I have you! You're completely dished! Do you not know that in the service...
Capt. Jack Aubrey: must always choose the lesser of two weevils.

thwap said...

Purple library guy,

I actually laughed at that corny joke the first time I saw that movie.

In this context though, if the two weevils were as destructive to human welfare as are the Republican and the Democratic parties, I would say that we should squash both of them.

Same goes for all our neo-liberal assholes here in Canada.