October 31, 2008
Those skeptical of voting – at least for either major party – are invariably confronted with some version of the “lesser of two evils” argument. It’s usually the last line of defense for Democrats, after they concede that their party has a long way to go on many of the issues that matter most to Americans. Indeed, whether it’s the economy, health care or the war, polls show that the policies of both parties are considerably to the right of public opinion, and have been so for a long time. This disconnect between the will of the people and their so-called representatives is evidence of a failing democracy.
Nevertheless, there is no denying that there are differences between the two major parties. Democrats would in all likelihood be slightly better on certain domestic issues than their Republican counterparts. Even Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn, who generally critique the deep systemic nature of our problems, have admitted as much in recent interviews. On issues such as foreign policy, however, both parties are virtually identical. Any honest look at our history would admit that the Democrats have been just as avid – if slightly more subtle and sophisticated – in their support of war and empire as the Republicans. To take just a brief look at their record:
• A Democrat initiated US military involvement in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam and the Balkans.
• Only a Democrat has ever dropped an atomic bomb on innocent civilians.
• During the 2000 campaign for the White House, Al Gore’s proposed increase for the military budget over the next 10 years was more than double what Bush was proposing at the time.
• Apart from the courageous Rep. Barbara Lee, Democrats unanimously voted for the
never-ending “War on Terror.”
• The subsequent invasion of Iraq could not have been pulled off without the support of key Democrats, such as Sen. Joe Biden.
• Since being swept to power in both Houses of Congress by a wave of antiwar sentiment nearly two years ago, Democrats have done nothing to end the war in Iraq.