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Thursday, March 04, 2004

The November 3 Movement
As those of you still reading this blog after my increasingly bitter posts of the past few days are undoubtedly aware, I'm not a fan of John Forbes Kerry. I've been thrashing about, wondering what I might do next. I certainly don't want four more years of Bush. I don't want four years of Kerry either. And I'm a bit exhausted from fighting the losing battle for a candidate I really like, so I can't get excited about jumping off the Kucinich bandwagon onto Nader's when both wagons seem to have four flat tires, and the parade is on another planet anyway. About the best I could come up with was that I could support candidates that I really like, like Russ Feingold in Wisconsin and my local mayor John Hieftje and councilwoman Kim Groome. If that brings out the vote for Kerry, I can live with that. I just don't think I can ASK people to vote for Kerry. But that was all the plan I had--until I read Sam Smith's latest.

Smith's article is titled The Election is Over; We Lost. Here's how it starts:

The winner is a supporter of three of the worst government decisions of our time: the war in Iraq, the Patriot Act, and the Bush education law.

He is a Yale graduate and a member of a secret society of dubious values and influence. He is arrogant with the sense of self-entitlement of the fully privileged yet has done little in life to justify this self esteem. And he is a tenured and servile member of an establishment that has trashed the Constitution, badly weakened the economy, made us hated around the world, and effectively brought to the end of the First American Republic.

To be sure there will be a consolation runoff in which we get to decide who we would rather do battle against for the next four years. This choice of battleground is not an insignificant matter but neither is it what a democratic election is supposed to be about. It is more like a cancer patient choosing between surgery and chemotherapy. We don't have to wait for Katherine Harris; this election has already been fixed.

In other words, Smith sees Kerry the same way I do. But he offers a decent option: The November 3 Movement. November 3 is the day after the election. Smith suggests that progressives should start organizing now to be the opposition to whoever wins on November 2. Smith's one rule is for organizing is that election 2004 strategy is not open for discussion. Those supporting Kerry can't criticize the Naderites, and vice versa. Agree on the progressive agenda without destroying the progressive movement over election tactics.

Smith has lots of good ideas in his article, but in my current bitter mood my favorite was this:

There are many who might vote for Kerry but who would never include themselves among his 'supporters.' If those preaching so loudly about getting rid of Bush would quiet down for a minute, they might discover that the best way to achieve their end might be to hand out airplane barf bags with the inscription, "Vote for Kerry."