"Politicians and diapers should be changed frequently and all for the same reason."
- José Maria de Eça de Queiroz
"There is no such thing as not voting; you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some Diehard's vote."
-David Foster Wallace
"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any."
Some would argue the upset of the century was the New York Giants ending the New England Patriots' undefeated season in 2008. It could've been the 4-3 defeat of the USSR in the 1980 Olympics by the US hockey team. But one upset could dwarf both of those -- Jill Stein getting elected president in 2012.
It's estimated that both President Obama and Mitt Romney will draw out anywhere between 45 and 60 million apiece in November, according to 2008 turnout numbers. But according to one USA Today poll, an estimated 90 million people who could vote this year probably won't, as they're disappointed in both candidates and major political parties. What if just two-thirds of those 90 million people turned out for a candidate with a truly bold vision, who isn't beholden to corporate donors or bought party elites? It would be a colossal upset for the establishment, and a big win for citizens.
Even though the left was upset at Obama, they didn't produce a primary candidate to pull him away from his conservative tendencies. Despite filling his cabinet full of Wall Street and U.S. Chamber of Commerce types like Tim Geithner, Eric Holder and Bill Daley, persistent violations of Pakistan's sovereignty with CIA-sponsored drone strikes, extrajudicial assassinations of US citizens abroad, and openly appealing a federal judge's decision that the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens without due process rights was unconstitutional without producing one witness or shred of evidence to argue the contrary, this president is running unopposed in his own party. Democratic Party officials urge us to cheer for whoever is wearing the blue jersey, only because the guy in the red jersey would be even worse.
We all watched with horror as the Republican Party desperately made a front-runner out of every sorry candidate they fielded, from Rick Perry to Michele Bachmann, all to watch their campaigns burn out in flames of stupidity and scandal. Even outright preposterous candidates like Herman Cain had their time in the #1 spot in the anybody-but-Mitt freak show also known as the 2012 Republican primaries. As Rachel Maddow documented, even those at the highest level in the Republican Party have an open disrespect for Mitt Romney. He's the right's John Kerry -- an out of touch mega-millionaire from Massachusetts with a penchant for flip-flopping on any issue to appease the current crop of voters to whom he happens to be speaking. And by picking noted big-spender turned deficit hawk Paul Ryan as his running mate, Mitt proved he's willing to placate the far-right instead of appeal to independent and undecided voters.
Obama's most notable accomplishments, like a health care reform law that did away with pre-existing conditions, a $90 billion investment in the green energy market and the killing of Osama bin Laden, are overshadowed by the fact that his own Department of Justice refused to press charges against any executives of the biggest Wall Street banks that played a part in the 2008 financial heist, despite ample evidence of fraud on a truly massive scale. Any promise of environmental stewardship by this administration should be taken with a grain of salt, as Obama has approved the first leg of the Keystone XL pipeline in spite of numerous environmental disasters caused by similar pipelines in very recent history. And one Republican Party spokeswoman openly admitted that Romney's economic proposals, upon which he's basing the entirety of his candidacy, is the same as George W. Bush's program, "just updated" -- more tax cuts for the rich in return for the elimination or privatization of government services. It's like DEVO's co-creator said -- choosing between Obama and Romney is like choosing between Coke and Pepsi.
Jill Stein is a candidate that the other 90 million of us can get excited about. Picture the populist candidate Barack Obama once was in 2008, minus the financial support from Wall Street banks and oil companies, and the fawning coverage from mainstream media outlets. In her Green New Deal, she's vowing to end drone strikes, tightly regulate Wall Street, halt all government-funded construction of fossil fuel-dependent projects, and end all foreign wars and occupations. She unabashedly calls for higher top tax rates like we saw in the days of FDR and Eisenhower, and the immediate closure of corporate tax loopholes that bleed out billions to overseas, tax-free bank accounts where the elite have stashed anywhere between $21 trillion and $32 trillion. As president, she would appoint Supreme Court justices who believe corporations are corporations, not people, and fight to get corporate money and influence out of the political process. She's even been recently arrested protesting Fannie Mae in Philadelphia. And unlike other Green Party candidates of the past, she's running not to speak on certain issues or get mainstream candidates to talk about doing the right thing. She's actually running to win, and has ballot access in nearly every state.
I used to say I'd hold my nose and vote for Obama because a Romney presidency would be an even bigger disaster than an Obama presidency. But I'm voting for Jill Stein, because I shouldn't have to hold my nose to vote for someone. Imagine if two-thirds of those 90 million disillusioned voters did the same thing by voting for Jill Stein and ousting tea party Republicans and corporate Democrats from the House and Senate. Isn't that worth showing up at the ballot box on November 6th? It would be the upset of the century.
Follow C. Robert Gibson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/crgibs