Friday, June 01, 2012

Voting for nonviolence

If God wanted us to vote, She would have given us good candidates.
--a bumpersticker we need
So, imperfections noted, how do those who wish to promote nonviolence participate in the voting process? My take on some of the best methods include:

  • Read at least one news story each day on current events (OK, public/community radio listeners, your media counts too, and of course some alternative television, such as Democracy Now! is also great, but skip regular TV except as propaganda monitoring).
  • Prioritize your issues so that you differentiate weight and bright lines that indicate dealbreaking principled requirements from seriously desired improvements.
  • Follow votes at the fed level that mean something to you.
  • See which votes your favorite organization tallies and their analysis of what the votes mean (e.g. Peace Action, Council for a Liveable World, Union of Concerned Scientists, National Priorities Project, and more)
  • Stay in correspondence with your Senators and House members. This is not all about threats; let them know when you are happy with their actions too.
  • Use the same information to create letters to the editor and opinion pieces. This is one way to  participate in public discourse, vital to real democracy.
  • Vote.

Good grief, what a lot of work. Yes, and if you lived in a country without foreign bases and in a country that didn't export weapons, or if you lived in a country without the vote, you could probably ethically ignore most of that work. If you are an American, you cannot morally be uninformed because all those occupying armed forces who are shooting at people, all those drones whose stateside operators are killing people in various places on Earth, all the instances of arms and ammunition delivered from the US to thousands of killers around the world--all this and much more is being done in your name. Clear your name. Go on record.

We reap the benefits of the crumbs off the imperialists' table, crumbs that make our lifestyles look opulent when contrasted with the victims of all this violence. I personally am in the lowest paid class of full-time instructors at my university and earn far less than the average and I have zero complaints about that. Zero. There are billions who work harder than I do and get no health care, no decent mass transit, and no real freedom. Their children face misery. And that inequality is largely due to the violence launched from my country, the US, that enables corruption and dictatorial exploitation.

Keeping track of those who claim to represent us in making these policies is, for Americans, a duty to the planet. Direct action is often required, and so is participation in democracy, if we are serious about promoting nonviolence in public policy, where it will do the most good, or at least the least harm, for the most people. Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with you.

No comments: