This is not "fear" talking. This is simply the way things are. It is important to stand against the people and the forces to which Willard Romney owes his political career. It is more important to do that than it is to do anything else. It is more important to do that than to salve my conscience, or make a statement, or dream my wistful dreams of a better and more noble politics. And that is why, today, I will vote for Barack Obama, not because of the man he is not, but because of the man his opponent clearly has become. I will do so without enthusiasm, and without a sliver of doubt in my mind.
Mr. Pierce will not vote his conscience or use his power to force his party to respond to his wants or try to change politics. He will vote for Obama because Romney and his followers are evil and we should avoid the "fearsome" consequences.
On the other hand, Willard Romney owes even more to the Wall Street crowd, and he owes even more to the military, but he also owes everything he is politically to the snake-handlers and the Bible-bangers, to the Creationist morons and to the people who stalk doctors and glue their heads to the clinic doors, to the reckless plutocrats and to the vote-suppressors, to the Randian fantasts and libertarian fakers, to the closeted and not-so-closeted racists who have been so empowered by the party that has given them a home, to the enemies of science and to the enemies of reason, to the devil's bargain of obvious tactical deceit and to the devil's honoraria of dark, anonymous money, and, ultimately, to those shadowy places in himself wherein Romney sold out who he might actually be to his overweening ambition. It is a fearsome bill to come due for any man, let alone one as mendaciously malleable as the Republican nominee. Obama owes the disgruntled. Romney owes the crazy. And that makes all the difference.
Bush jokes about weapons of mass destruction and we were shocked. Obama joked about drone bombings and we ignored it. Bush bails out Wall Street and he's serving his masters; Obama does it and he's saving the country. Romney panders to his base and we are supposed to be afraid; Obama insults and ignores his base and we are supposed to be supportive of him anyway. No matter what we do, we lose.
When you lose even when you win, continuing to play the same game is not the right choice. Mr. Pierce is right; this is simply the way things are. And they will never, ever change, because we do not try to change them. We do what we are told, vote for whomever we are told to vote for, ignore whatever we are told to ignore. Because deep down we know that we do not have a choice. Not in the sense that most people think of the situation, in which we must either vote for Romney or Obama. We don't have a choice because we would have to lose so much more before we started to win, and we are afraid.
We would lose the emotional support of our tribe, our friends and family and ideological allies. They will turn on us with all the means at their disposal and immediately cast us out of the tribe, as loudly and viciously as they can.
We will lose money. The pundits would lose financial support from the party and donations from ideological supporters. We would lose even more jobs, even more services.. We would see more of the burden of supporting society shift onto our middle class shoulders.
We would lose our feeling of superiority and hope for our future. If we acknowledge that were are victims of the rich we admit we are powerless, that we are likely to become more poor and miserable, kill more foreigners, die sooner in a dirty and hot planet that cannot support our lifestyle anymore. We would have to look at our children and think, you might die sooner because of my choices. You might not be able to have a future, a family, a decent life. This is unendurable.
We would lose our sense of security. If we ignore Obama's drone wars we can ignore the fear that one day those drones will be used against us, that they will patrol our cities from the sky recording everything we do just as Obama now patrols our communications, recording everything we say. That the police state, which now ensures no massive protests will ever get off the ground will also ensure that we are never able to fight back in any way. We would watch the iron fist discard the velvet glove, and feel the oppression that only the victims of our success now feel. We would all become Muslims, and our worst nightmare has always been that one day we would be treated as we treated others; the Native Americans, Blacks, foreigners, the very poor, women, children.
But in the end, after we have fought and lost and fought again, we would win. We are The People and our elite are afraid of us. The only thing keeping them alive is our complicity, our unspoken agreement to let them do whatever they want to us as long as we can go on dreaming and pretending that things will get better even if we do nothing to make them better but fill out a ballot every few years.
We will not fight, however. We are afraid. We are terrified. And we will do anything, no matter how much it hurts us later, to pretend we are not.