To the Editor:
Living in London throughout the bombing of World War II did not make me a “peacenik.” But in 1951, a few weeks at the Marine Corps recruit depot on Parris Island did!
I became obsessed with trying to end our wars. So Dwight Eisenhower’s promise to end the Korean War drew me to his campaign in 1952. I wasn’t old enough to vote. But I went to the Republican precinct caucus in my part of Minneapolis anyway. And they made me precinct chairman. (No one else there had read the rules.)
Since then, I have helped anti-war candidates of both parties. And, starting in 1962, I’ve run for office myself more than a dozen times – six of them successfully. But after 60 years, I still can’t understand Americans’ indifference to elections.
The most important election in four years occurred on April 24, 2012 in Rhode Island. This was the one day Rhode Islanders could officially express their choices for president.
Yet, 97 percent of Rhode Islanders over 18 did not even vote! They let others make the decisions for them. I don’t know why this continues to dismay me election after election. But it does.
Some people will say, “I don’t vote in primaries. I wait for the ‘real’ election.” What a delusion! In November, all we get to do is rubber stamp one of the choices already made by the political parties.
Some justify their apathy by saying, “There was no choice.” This too was nonsense on April 24.
Persons satisfied with endless undeclared wars based on lies could have voted for Barack Obama or Mitt Romney.
Those who preferred to restore the Constitution and the Bill of Rights could have voted for Ron Paul in the Republican primary. Or, if locked into the Democrats’ primary, they could have written in the name of anyone who supports the Constitution.
And those who absolutely don’t care who is elected president in 2012 could have at least voted for some of their friends or neighbors who wanted to become delegates to one of the national conventions.
Four years ago it was bad enough that Barack Obama promised to escalate the war in Afghanistan. But I had no idea what an extreme warmonger he would turn out to be. I didn’t know he’d start new wars in Libya, Somalia, Pakistan, Sudan, Yemen, etc. I couldn’t have guessed his enthusiasm for killing people via unmanned drones operated by remote control from Creech Air Force Base in Nevada or Langley in Virginia.
I didn’t know he’d refuse to prosecute Bush Administration officials for torture but instead prosecute suspected whistleblowers. I didn’t think he’d continue the programs of rendition and torture. Nor could I have guessed that he’d violate virtually every aspect of the Bill of Rights using the “Patriot Act,” FISA, the NDAA and various executive orders.
On Nov. 6, 2012, if the nominees are Obama and Romney, we’ll have a “choice” between continuing to violate the Constitution or continuing to violate the Constitution.