Here are my thoughts on Chris Hedges’ article “Voting With Our Feet”

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” That is my favorite quote from John F. Kennedy. And, we all know what became of President Kennedy.

I was thinking of that quote this morning, while on my morning power walk, after reading the most recent article by Chris Hedges, for truthdig.com, “Voting With Our Feet”. To read his article, here is the link: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/voting_with_our_feet_20160320

Mr. Hedges was talking about the Bernie Sanders campaign’s inevitable demise. And, how liberals are already urging Sanders’ supporters to “flee to Hillary Clinton” to avoid a Trump presidency. Mr. Hedges doesn’t see Hillary as necessarily a lesser evil than Trump, however. Incidentally, neither do I. I think Hillary might trump Trump in the evil department. But, that doesn’t translate to me supporting Trump over Hillary, either. Before I get into what Chris Hedges means by “voting with our feet” and what I would suggest for peaceful revolution, it would be good to spend a bit of my time explaining both the Sanders and the Trump “phenomenon”.

Both Sanders and Trump are touted as anti-establishment figures, who are taking advantage of the anti-establishment sentiment (anger) coming from both the left and the right of the political spectrum. That is the narrative we are being fed by the mainstream media. But is it true? Let’s go back a little ways to see.

First, in the months leading up to the 2016 presidential election season, the establishment “floated” their choices to be the next president. The left said they wanted Hillary; and, the right said they wanted Jeb Bush. These were the pre-selected choices. Either one would satisfy the establishment, because there is no difference between Clinton and Bush. Both would maintain the status quo. And, believe me, that is all the establishment longs for. It really doesn’t matter if the public perceives one to be more liberal, or more conservative, than the other one, as long as the status quo remains.

Shortly after this announcement, in steps Sanders on the left, and Trump on the right.

Sanders from the get go stated quite clearly his purpose. I am not going to take the time to give you direct quotes, this isn’t intended to be an academic article. But, I am confident I have Sanders paraphrased accurately. He made these points clear over and over again. He didn’t intend to win the nomination. Not early on, anyway. He only wanted to get Hillary to move more to the left, she is too centrist for his liking. But, ultimately, it wouldn’t matter if he was successful in getting her to move to the left. He would still support her, in the end. Now, the fact that Sander’s anti-establishment rhetoric resonated with liberal Millennials may or may not have been a shock to Sanders, but it only served the real purpose of his campaign: Energizing people who have been apathetic to get involved in the political process. Sanders’ role is to energize young people. Then, to persuade them that Hillary, while maybe not perfect, is a whole lot better than any Republican alternative.

On the conservative side, there has been a whole lot of anger for quite some time. The Republican establishment knew they were in trouble. If they can’t get people “excited” about their candidate, Hillary will win. That is where Trump steps in. His role is much the same as Sanders. Though Trump may, or may not, understand that. He certainly hasn’t stated his acceptance of that role as readily as Sanders has. But, make no mistake, that is the purpose of Donald Trump. Get the people on the right energized to vote for whoever the eventual Republican nominee is, the alternative is Hillary.

But, can we be honest with each other, here? Neither Sanders, nor Trump, are actually anti-establishment figures. Both have been active members of the establishment for decades. Sanders will say he has been fighting within the establishment to effect change. Trump says he “used” to be establishment, but now, he isn’t, trust him, listen to his rhetoric, no one in the establishment would dare say what he is saying. The establishment gets all apoplectic over Trump. That is all part of the charade. Convince Trump supporters he really is anti-establishment. The bait and switch is on its way.

Now, no doubt, some will believe the bait and switch will never work. Sanders supporters are not all that likely to be persuaded to “flee” to Hillary. And, the Donald may not be stoppable in securing the republican nomination. So? The bait and switch is still in effect. Why? Because it still won’t matter who gets elected come November, as long as people got persuaded to vote. Remember, that is the point. If Hillary wins, we can be sure the establishment got exactly what they were after. And, if Trump wins? Well, then, we will get to see just how part of the establishment he always has been. Those who are dreaming of Trump doing anything different than the establishment wants, are going to be sorely disappointed. The fix is on. It always was. Voting is not a revolutionary act.

Let me repeat that once again, for emphasis. Voting is not a revolutionary act. I have a friend who is running as an independent for State representative in Missouri. She might not like me to say that voting is not a revolutionary act. For she truly intends it to be, in her case. She is running as an independent, so she won’t be beholden to any political party. She is also not taking any campaign contributions or “gifts” from special interests hoping to continue the status quo in Jefferson City. I could not be more supportive of her campaign. I have signed her petition to get on the ballot. And, I will be voting for her, come November. I wish her all the best. And, I hope she can make a difference in Missouri’s General Assembly. But, voting is not a revolutionary act.

So, what is a revolutionary act? And, getting back to Chris Hedges’ article “Voting With Our Feet” what is that about? Also, let’s not forget the JFK quote I started with. I want this to be a peaceful revolution. Will that be allowed?

Chris Hedges, has, in a previous article endorsed Jill Stein for President. Ms. Stein is running as a candidate of the Green Party. I would certainly encourage any Bernie Sanders’ supporters who still want to vote, to consider Jill Stein as an alternative to anything being offered by the two major parties. Those who lean more Republican would do well to consider Gary Johnson, the Libertarian party candidate.

But, voting is, still, not a revolutionary act.

In his current article, Chris Hedges advocates “voting with our feet”, and by that he means, hitting the streets in active protest. Thousands, or tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of people peacefully protesting against the establishment. That is certainly one way peaceful revolution can look. And, I am not going to strongly discourage it. My one concern is that we would still be engaging the establishment with this kind of protest.

I would propose something a bit different. I call it opting out. And, not temporally. But, permanently. This isn’t something that can be done in a day. It takes time. You can do a little each day, as you opt out of the establishment. But, it does get radical! Opting out of employment within the establishment. No more steady corporate paychecks. You have to earn your, whatever you want to call money, in self employment. And, speaking of whatever you want to call money, it does mean opting out of the fiat currency, and the banking system. It also means living off the grid. The point of all this is to no longer prop up the establishment with your participation. If thousands, or tens of thousands, or (dare I dream) hundreds of thousands, opted out, where would that leave the powers that be? They need us a whole lot more than we need them.

I know this is a radical approach. And, it seems almost impossible to achieve. We will need to get back to learning how to be self-reliant. And, on taking care of our families, our neighbors, and our friends. Living in community together, but an alternative community, one that is off the corporate grid. We will need to learn how to love each other again. To love, and to be loved. I happen to think this is something we all are born with the power to do. I have talked about this before in an early blog post (see my daily posts on the Tao Te Ching).

And, in case anyone wonders, I am far from achieving this goal in my own life. It isn’t easy. It is very hard. The powers that be may need us a whole lot more than we need them, but they have certainly designed things in such a way to make all of us a whole lot more dependent on them, than we should be. It is going to take weaning. I get that. We need weaning off that establishment teat. The less we suck, and the more we get what we need from some place else, the better we will be. Let’s start working towards that goal. And, let’s hope that this peaceful revolution will be allowed. Because, I don’t like the alternative.

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *