Nothing could have made that more clear than the exposition of the Obama role in carrying out extrajudicial executions, published last week in the New York Times.
We get told that we have to swallow this behavior (and a lot more) from one or the other Presidential candidate because we have no alternative. That there are only two choices ....
What are people supposed to do?
Here is my simple suggestion for how to make the rest of the Election2012 season meaningful for you:
(1) WITHHOLD YOUR VOTE
Make up your mind right now that you are not going to surrender your vote to any Presidential candidate that does not meet your standards for moral, legal, and peaceful conduct.
Make up your mind that WITHHOLDING your vote is actually a greater expression of power than being forced to proffer it when you are getting nothing in return.
Recognize that the consequence of a large number of people withholding their vote will be to expose the lack of mandate that the President has to continue unilaterally and high-handedly embarking on wars and killing.
And now start to think of how you will apply your energy and intelligence, now that you are free of the illusion of participation in the Presidential charade ....
(2) PUT YOUR ENERGY WHERE SOMEONE IS LISTENING
Now that you're no longer wasting your time engaging in imaginary conversations with Barack Obama (or Mitt Romney), find a real person to talk to.
(2)(a) Fire your congressman
C'mon. You know you want to.
If you still have some hope left that Congress is able to represent us -- able, for instance, to exercise its war powers -- then by all means put some energy into getting rid of the current members who have been so complicit in war after war. Maybe better ones can be found.
But, at the same time, promise yourself that you won't let Congress eat up your all your energy ... because the really valuable place to spend your time is ....
(2)(b) Have conversations with your fellow citizens
Imagine if you took all -- or nearly all -- of the energy that you save paying attention to the Presidential campaign charade and devoted that to serious conversations with others about what it would take to really the US's war-making ways. Imagine conversations in which you used all of your intelligence and realism to talk honestly about why things are the way they are, and what it would really take to change them. Imagine talking about it from the standpoint not of the limited choices we've been handed, but -- first and foremost -- what our moral standards demand. Imagine talking about what we want for our children. Imagine talking about how we would make it happen if we used all of our ingenuity and determination.
(3) BE SURPRISED!
Be surprised -- be very surprised! -- at how different the landscape appears, once you step up to the plate and start to make the effort to have these conversations. Discover that, instead of being isolated in a sea of people who don't care and aren't willing to do anything, you are, in fact, surrounded by people who think and feel the same way you do, and are yearning for opportunities to work together to stop the wars and killing.
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Is this the perfect solution? Perhaps not. But at least it's a first step in getting people talking about how to make this election season different ... and to start us on the road to REAL change!
What's your solution? Let's have a conversation ....
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Check out some of the ways we've been broadening the conversation about war and peace, justice and nonviolence, and more in Logan Square, Chicago.