Friday, November 30, 2012

Yes, it's a relief but…

Like so many other Americans I was very afraid of four years under the leadership of a cynical, callous capitalist like Mitt Romney whose only real interest is piling up more money at the expense of American working people.
Yes I'm glad that Obama got elected. I'm glad that enough white Americans were ready to resist racist pressures to vote for him. (Romney voters were 88% white.) I'm glad that women made a strong showing in a campaign where women were assigned the traditional role of smiling wives in the background of the two great men.
Yes, I am glad that money cannot completely buy elections yet.
But as citizens of the United States we must also look this fact very clearly in the face: In re-electing Barack Obama president of the United States, we all continue to be guilty of mass murder of innocents around the globe.
According to reliable estimates, American unmanned aircraft – the so-called “drones” – have killed about 3500 people in the last year among whom as many as 25% may have been noncombatants. One in four of the victims of our drone attacks have been innocent bystanders, about 900 people or so.
According to some estimates, as few as 6% of the remaining 2500 victims of drone attacks were high profile terrorist enemies of the United States. The others are what observers describe as “foot soldiers,” who are no more a threat to the security of the United States than ordinary soldiers in the military of other countries. But they were Muslims.
Four of those killed were American citizens. One of them work for Al-Qaeda; one of them was his 16-year-old son who was not accused of anything except being his father's son. Al Awlaki was not a good US citizen, for sure. But constitutional guarantees of a trial by your peers are not reserved for the innocent. It is a constitutional right for everyone. The constitutional lawyer in the White House has limited respect for our Constitution.
In voting for Obama, we have unfortunately also voted for the drone war and other infringements on our constitutional liberties. If the president can kill al Awlaki without arresting or trying him in a legitimate court of law, he can do the same to you and me.
We must be clear how bizarre this situation is. After 9/11 our government has repeatedly violated our Constitution. The security in the war against terror that our government promises us is not security for us as free American citizens because we are being asked to give up those freedoms. The security they promise us is the security of the all powerful state – of totalitarianism.
In line with this disregard of American liberties, and of the entire issue of clearly illegal assassinations of American citizens and citizens of other countries, this whole issue was not mentioned but once in the entire campaign. For a year or two Romney and Obama battled it out and tried to sell themselves to the American electorate but our program of illegal assassination was not mentioned. Neither candidate pointed out that one of the many things we voted for was a continuation of America as mass murderer.
When it comes to matters of security the government is extremely close lipped. Not much is known about the drone war. Not much is known about how the government selects its victims. Not much is known about whether there is any way of getting off the presidents kill list.
Democracy is impossible if citizens do not know what the government is doing they are asked to vote for. Our government once again asked us to vote for it, but they asked us to vote for it blindly. They are not telling us what they do.
So, yes, this election made some space for democracy over lies, over obscene amounts of money, over racism and gender prejudice, and religious intolerance. But it was also a vote for secret, illegal mass murder, of violations of our constitutional liberties.
I am relieved, but…