American Israel Political Affairs Committee meeting in Chicago, March 2007
State Senator Barack Obama with Edward Said, Chicago, 1998
It is Super Tuesday (February 5, 2008); many voters have a choice, not only between candidates but whether to participate in the current election scheme. We have a choice to act on our conscience or act strategically. I suspect many would disagree with my decision. Here’s what I wrote today to the Obama campaign:
For three reasons I’m inclined to not vote at all and thus not vote for Mr. Obama:
His unqualified support for Israel (and thus his inability or unwillingness to challenge Israeli policies that may quite likely constitute war crimes–from his campaign website: “Barack Obama has consistently supported foreign assistance to Israel. He defends and supports the annual foreign aid package that involves both military and economic assistance to Israel and has advocated increased foreign aid budgets to ensure that these funding priorities are met. He has called for continuing U.S. cooperation with Israel in the development of missile defense systems.”),
His strong support of the US military (“Expand the Military: We have learned from Iraq that our military needs more men and women in uniform to reduce the strain on our active force. Obama will increase the size of ground forces, adding 65,000 soldiers to the Army and 27,000 Marines. New Capabilities: Obama will give our troops new equipment, armor, training, and skills like language training. He will also strengthen our civilian capacity, so that our civilian agencies have the critical skills and equipment they need to integrate their efforts with our military.”)
And my belief that Mr. Obama–along with all the candidates and Congress and elected white house officials–are so dominated by the flow of money in this country, largely generated and directed by the corporate monolith, that the probability of effective and humane action in the world initiated by any of our national leaders is nil.
Sorry, I wish I could be more hopeful on the national scene. I am hopeful on the grass roots level.
As someone said, when the people lead, the leaders will follow.