endorse: to express approval of or give support to, especially by public statement; sanction
—American Heritage Dictionary
Tomorrow we will be voting for Barack Obama. And yet, we will be doing so for reasons that do not befit the power we are willing to bestow upon him. The fact is, we feel that Barack Obama will do less damage than Mitt Romney. We do not believe Barack Obama, as a Democrat in a two-party system, has the ability to implement substantial social change in this country, the kind that can be felt at the furthest margins. We merely believe he will do less harm.
Recently, Matthew Remski posted an article asking yoga practitioners to endorse Barack Obama. While we believe Remski’s intention is good (yoga peeps with their can’t-take-a-stand-on-an-issue verbal absenteeism has gots to go!), we believe his use of the term “endorse” proposes a mono-belief (asking people to come together and “approve” of another person) and puts those in agreement in a dangerous disadvantage. For we believe that by “endorsing” Obama, a person encapsulates themselves within the State, rather than voting from outside of it as a pro-active strategic maneuver against it.
We believe people should vote for Obama not because we want them to support or approve of Obama. To ask a person to endorse another, is to ask that person to take on your own beliefs. Rather, we want people to vote for Obama because we think people will get more of what they desrve from him. We want people to vote for Obama for selfish reasons! (Gasp). He, as president, as a representative of a largely infiltrative structure, owes you big time!
Tomorrow (some of) you will have the opportunity to vote one of two men into a position of power the likes of which you have never experienced (unless you are an ex-president). This man will have access to information and dotted lines you will most likely never encounter. Many people around you are going to tell you that voting for one man over the other will have an inevitable effect on the course of this Nation State we find ourselves in. While we are of the belief that the presidents differ markedly on most issues, and that these differences have significant immediate effects for many people, we do not believe, that by choosing one over the other, that we will find ourselves in an irreversible world of better opportunities.
The reason we feel this way is because we believe people, not presidents, create change, usually irregardless of who is in power at the time they are creating it.
Many people believe that it takes a president, a strange man you have never met, sympathetic to your ideals to enact change. And yet, history shows that social progress—defined here as a continued expansion of rights and equalities extending out to encompass greater and greater diversities of peoples—has come about during the presidencies of political parties that were both against, as well as for, it.
So, while it is true that The Civil Rights Act (1964) was signed into law during the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson, a sympathetic Democrat, many people forget that the movement began and matured during the presidency of Dwight Eisenhower, a Republican (Malcolm X met with The Honorable Elijah Muhammad at the very beginning of this presidency). The Weather Underground, a radical far-left political group, began in 1969 during Republican Richard Nixon’s presidency, and was ultimately dissolved in chaos during Democrat Jimmy Carter’s term. Politicized hardcore punk music and culture came and went during the Republican Reagan years and resurfaced as vegan straight-edge (a largely socially conservative movement) during Democrat Clinton’s term. Allan Ginsberg‘s long poem “Howl” was published, put on trial for being obscene, and subsequently cleared all during a Republican presidency. The largely successful WTO protests in Seattle, WA in 1999 occurred during an era of neo-liberal politricks, and found itself having to deal with the start of the overtly hawkish double terms of George W. Bush only two years later. Today we have the Occupy movement, begun during the Democratic presidency of Barack Obama. Will it end during a possible Mitt Romney reign of terror, only to be reborn under a different guise during a different presidential era?
What’s significant is that a brief history such as this shows how the response of people to injustice does not vary according to the presidential party in office, but rather to the degree to which people find it necessary to make a sustainable difference. If history is any proof, this will continue to be the case regardless of who comes to power on Tuesday.
As for tomorrow, please consider this: Presidents are symbols. And, while that may seem to belittle the potentially disasterous effects a president can have on human beings, it’s important to remember that symbols can kill. Symbols have power. And yet, it’s a power that more often than not, we bestow upon them. Presidents are no different. They are signifiers and represent whichever hands roll the bones best. Our advice? Vote for the symbol that has been given the power to inspire direct action for social justice and spiritual exuberance. Perhaps a Romney presidency will invoke the deepest rooted revolution in progressive-minded people. Perhaps Obama. Either way, you needn’t worry about progress. Progress isn’t a matter of presidents. It’s a matter of you.