by Evan Lyne
I admit that I was once very much in bed with the enemy. This past November, I worked for President Obama’s re-election campaign as an “Early-Vote Organizer,” also known as an “E.V.O.” For those of you who don’t know what it means to be an E.V.O, it basically means you’re the campaign’s bitch. I worked sixty hours a week (bare minimum) canvassing a county that was over 60% Republican, helped organize the main Democratic headquarters, trained volunteers, handled their petty complaints, and made late-night runs to the regional campaign office for supplies. One Friday night I drove through Chapel Hill, NC at 12:30 AM, through Franklin Street. For any of you familiar with the UNC campus and what Franklin Street is like on weekends, you know my pain. I got home at 2:30 that night and came in later that morning at 10:00 AM. Bear in mind that I lived half an hour away from the local office where I started each morning.
They only paid me $2,000 for all of my efforts, but I didn’t care. I was a loyal Democrat at the time, why should it matter? I wanted the president to be re-elected and I was willing to do anything in my power to make sure that happened. As the smoke cleared after the campaign, I felt like an immeasurable weight lift off of my shoulders. After working fourteen-hour shifts daily for the week leading up to Election Day, I didn’t have a single fiber of my being that wasn’t crying out for relief. The campaign had pushed me far beyond my limits, but I was proud of the work I did. Despite the fact that my home state suffered a huge blow when Pat McCrory won the governorship, there was pride that I had contributed to the president being re-elected.
I remember when I spoke to my friends about politics and most of them brought up what they held against Obama. At the time, I just convinced myself that it wasn’t significant enough to really concern myself with what they were saying. In retrospect, this was the same kind of dedication to a politician that fundamentalists and fanatics show to their religion of choice. The facts didn’t matter because I couldn’t hear them over my own bias. The same can be said of a lot of people who consider themselves far-left liberals, but still inexplicably support the president.
Once I had the time to catch my breath, I made a point to look into what the president and the Democrats as a whole were doing, deeper than I had a chance to look at it before. No one was kind enough to tell me about Obama-sanctioned drone strikes on innocent men, women and children that were going on in Pakistan and several other countries. I didn’t bother to research the absolutely inhuman crimes that Israel had committed against Palestine, which Barack Obama and countless other “liberals” proudly stand in favor of. They think they’re taking the side of Judaism over Islam, as if it were really that simple. Now, Obama has compromised social security and has shown that he will gladly agree to unmake the New Deal. At the Democratic National Convention, countless speakers presented their views on economics, so much to a point that I was sick of hearing it. “We’re not punishing millionaires for their success; we just want them to pay their fair share.”
“Their fair share,” really? The Democrats want to raise their tax rate by 4%, not a dime more than that. Why in the world is that their “fair share,” if you take in to account that they make more money than over 90% of the United States combined? It’s asinine to imply that the Democrats have our interests at heart over Republicans, just because they support one issue over another. Of course, you have the social issues too. God, this election was driven entirely on petty social issues and I can’t believe I fell into that trap myself. Abortion, marriage equality, immigration, etc.; all of which are issues very near and dear to my heart, all of which I will fight for until the day I die. Nevertheless, Republicans and Democrats did what they do best: they ignored the real problems that BOTH parties are subject to by burying them in social issues.
I have friends who I know for a fact would not give a damn about politics for anything, were it not for the social issues, particularly marriage equality and abortion. No one makes a point to inform them about the damage Democrats and Republicans do to each and every one of us on a daily basis. No one makes a point to tell them about economics and how much of an imbalance there is. When it comes to economics, I can’t help but quote Jill Stein. Republicans are wolves in wolves’ clothing and Democrats are wolves in sheep’s clothing.
When I came to realize all of this, I was absolutely disgusted with myself for doing what I had done, for taking that job and putting my own body and sanity at risk to serve Barack Obama and the Democratic Party. They paid me a criminally small amount, judging from the sheer amount of hours I worked, never mind the suffering from having to canvass in such an area that was crowded with Tea Party conservatives. It took more than courage to do so much of that, I honestly put my own life at risk in the process. I had countless doors slammed in my face, received scorn everywhere I went during that experience, and I was literally chased off of someone’s property by attack dogs. I’m not exaggerating; a couple of Dobermans ran after me as I approached one person’s house.
All of this for a president who didn’t hold any of Wall Street’s criminals accountable for what they did to the American economy, all of this for a president who orders drone strikes on Pakistani men, women and children who haven’t done anything wrong. I couldn’t believe it, to be honest. I felt more of a sense of betrayal than I had ever anticipated, especially considering that politics mean so much to me. Especially considering that job fueled my decision to change my major in college to political science (and I intend to keep it as such). I still believe that it taught me plenty of useful things and I still plan on being involved with campaigns and politics for the remainder of my life. It taught me how to organize; it taught me how a society of the working class rationalizes voting for a man like Barack Obama. It helped me understand more about the corruption in American politics than I ever would have learned on my own.
I will use every inch of that knowledge and that experience together combined with an uncompromising passion, but I will not use it for the Democratic Party. I will use it to serve whichever party stands behind REAL reform, whichever party stands behind REAL justice, whichever party stands behind REAL equality and REAL peace. I will use it to stand behind a party that has a genuine concern for the people; I will use it to stand behind a party that will NOT unmake the New Deal by dismantling social security. The Democrats have proven to me that they will never be that party, after how much I trusted them and put so much energy into their cause.
Therefore, the time has come to stand with a new party. After I took the time to read their platform in depth, and took the time to listen to Jill Stein’s speeches and her debate with Gary Johnson, I chose the Green Party. The party has proven to me that they will work for equality, economic justice, peace, and political reform. This is why I am a proud Green.