No, hope does not gallop in like Paul Revere. And it certainly doesn’t arrive breathless from a corporate party convention.
Movements for peace and social justice can bring realistic hope -- not with rhetoric but with the tough daily tedious uplifting work of political organizing.
Yes, we’d be better off with John Kerry in the White House instead of the Rove-Cheney-Bush regime. And the only way that’s going to happen is if enough people in swing states (www.swing04.com) vote for Kerry on November 2.
But I’m already getting tired of the bulk email messages claiming that Kerry is the embodiment of progressive dreams. Please. We can simultaneously walk, chew gum and be clear about the reality that Kerry embraces a centrist matrix of militarism and corporatism -- and, at the same time, in a world of contradictions, it’s extremely important that George W. Bush lose the election on November 2... Let’s not make stuff up. And let’s not imitate the Democratic Party’s hype machine. Just because you think people should hold their nose and vote for Kerry, don’t act like there isn’t a stench.
Meanwhile, it’s unfortunate some progressives feel compelled to claim that overall the political differences between Kerry and Bush are insignificant. Sounds righteous all right -- but for anyone who’s been paying attention to the Bush administration for nearly four years, it shouldn’t pass the laugh test.
I agree with the Greens For Impact organization: “The presidential election of 2004 is not a debate about voting your fears or voting your conscience. It is not an academic or theoretical exercise. Real people’s lives are at stake. Women, people of color, the GLBT community, our nation’s poor, and many others, save for the privileged few, will face real consequences from the outcome of this election. As a result, we must view the effect of our votes collectively, not merely by what they mean to us as individuals.”
I don’t agree with people who say that it’s not worth concerning ourselves much about who wins, that we’re powerless to affect the results. Activists know firsthand that what we do, or don’t do, can have profound effects. Greens For Impact (which urges support for Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb in safe states and Kerry in swing states) points out: “In six states -- Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, and Wisconsin -- the 2000 presidential victor won by fewer than 7,500 votes. The margins in 2004 will be potentially so slim that our collective voice can have an IMPACT.”
Will we be stuck with the likes of Bush, Cheney and Rove for another four years? For the next three months, we should do a whole lot more than hope not. We have less than a hundred days to go. Let’s make each one count.
Norman Solomon is Executive Director of the Institute for Public Accuracy (www.accuracy.org) and a syndicated columnist. His latest book is Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn’t Tell You (Context Books, 2003) with Reese Erlich. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.