The New Hampshire primaries are tomorrow and my son, Brycen is now just old enough to vote in his first election. Both of us, usually considering ourselves very progressive, face an ethical dilemma in 2012. The problem at hand is that NO candidate or side in any US Presidential election is for children’s rights, or for total compassion for all people and living things! Human and environmental rights have been co-opted into political “isms” and funding lobbies, with groups using propaganda and rhetoric to deceive people into believing they want equality for all, rights for all humans and respite for our planet. In actuality, they want funding for their narrow-minded political causes. Here I discuss each Party’s record on children’s rights and overall social and environmental justice.
The Left appears to support human rights but fails to work for equality for children and men. The Left supports the reckless termination of living human fetuses and does not allow a teen boy or man the choice to raise his own child if his female partner wants an abortion. The Left does not campaign against Male Genital Mutilation (“circumcision”) which is legal in all 50 states, campaigning instead for her body, her choice, but not his body, his choice. While the Left supports social services, they support compulsory schooling which terribly oppresses and harms children. The Left also supports the egregious anti-male climate of this society which fails to fully recognize male victims of sexual abuse, rape and domestic violence, the fact that women commit sexual and physical violence and the fact that men bear the brunt of the most violent body and heart-crushing burdens in our society, (Male Genital Mutilation, child abuse, suicide, early mortality, injustice in the courts, life-threatening physical labor, military service, abuse without services and impossible gender expectations).
The Right has a deplorable human rights record in all areas. All too commonly in history the Right have supported child abuse, war, religious extremism, mass political and corporate corruption, human rights violations, racism, gender stereotypes and discrimination against GLBT people and immigrants. They also support exploitation and destruction of the fragile and beautiful natural environment for business “development” and value money over the needs of human beings. Although they fight for fetuses to have the choice to live, their caring for children tends to end at the womb. Many GOP supporters affiliate with religious organizations that have had rampant child abuse scandals. Many on the Right believe that parents have a right to hit and hurt their children and that Native American and African American people should “move on” and forget the egregious trauma and losses of their ancestors.
Although Libertarians support homeschooling rights, they support the parents’ right to homeschool, not the child’s right to UNschool without a parent-driven curriculum. Children have a birth-right to direct their own lives, but Libertarians believe that only adults have the right to direct their lives. There is an assumption that children are the property of parents, therefore parents have the right to raise children as they please, regardless of whether or not that way meets the needs, desires and freedoms of children. Libertarians focus so much on individual rights that they do not believe they have a responsibility to work for human rights and social justice issues and for the environment and planet.
Independent candidates often support the ideals of the people they hope to serve, such as peace, governmental approachability and transparency, but Independents rarely have enough supporters to leverage substantial votes. An Independent vote is often viewed as a “wasted” vote.
Is the Green Party even around anymore?
My son and I are both so concerned that President Obama signed “indefinite detention” into law. It should be clear by now that United States Presidents are only pawns in an already established system with an agenda that runs so deep into the labyrinth rabbit hole that it is beyond the scope of a blog post (or my interest) to discuss it. Any viable candidate must already be a part of that system. What I do realize is that it doesn’t matter which side wins, Left or Right, because they both end up doing very little for the most vulnerable of the people they are entrusted to serve; their job is to serve political and corporate interests.
I’ve discussed with my son the importance of voting, but, like in every Presidential election, is it only a choice of determining the lesser of two “evils”? What is the choice for those of us who don’t support “isms”, political agendas, violence, or ANY argument for the oppression of ANY person or living thing? I believe that we must vote conscientiously, not for a Party, but as a statement for human rights. We can make that statement by writing-in a peace activist, such as Marshall Rosenberg. Then, after, we must not sit back and watch our TVs night after night while “other people” try to fix the world. We must become heavily involved in doing the work that leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi challenged us to do- To “be the change we wish to see in the world” (-Gandhi).