Standing Up

by Evan Lyne

morning-afterI 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.”

obamapowertothebankers-article“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.

This was first posted on the Green Party Forum

5 Comments on "Standing Up"

  1. Peace&Justice Lady | May 13, 2013 at 10:05 pm |

    Forgive me for not being more enthusiastic about your conversion. But people like you were the problem. What did you think your vote meant? Why didn’t you invest the time, energy, resources to learning what your candidate stood for, before you stood with them?

    I hope people like you work twice as hard, for Green, for Libertarian, for whatever, but this is for liberty now, liberty from corruption, fraud and fascism. Glad you are awake, sorry you waited so long, sad that you helped empower a criminal to get re-elected.

  2. independent | May 14, 2013 at 7:18 am |

    Maybe if you had bothered to check Obama’s record before doing all that work to get him elected things would be different. Anyone who did their homework could figure out what he’d do as president (the same as he did as senator–nothing). It’s not the party that’s the problem, it’s the idiots in the party. As you prove. Next time, do your homework.

  3. I agree with the Green Platform but I fear even this Party is just another special interest that if ever truly in power (which is highly doubtful… considering the overwhelming attitude of the U.S. voters) that the very issues that are considered of high importance (social issues) would swing the proverbial pendulum as far askew (to the opposite side) as it is now. I dream of true change in this Nation, the change that was well under way before the Republican party regained power in 1980 and Ronald Reagan decided we as a nation should be back in the 1950’s (which included a societal prejudice against “other peoples”, “women” and liberal thought)… The state of politics in this nation is so disgusting it appears any alternative would be preferable, however what guarantee do I have that legal action would be openly pursued against those in Government and those who put us in this mess in the first place? I would also like to see the term to big to prosecute dropped from the political vernacular. I am sick of knowing and hearing about U.S. citizens being incarcerated for crimes significantly less severe or less impacting to the national economy, yet they are given unbelievable large sentences, yet Politicians, Bankers,Large corporate Officers, etc. can ruin the economy and steal citizens retirement funds, refuse people simple and basic health care and yet get our tax money to save their butts after they have misused , abused, and brazenly stolen money from every one in the U.S. ……. What do we have to rest assured on that power and money won’t pervert the green party politician to the same degree those money whores have done to the Republicans or Democrats already? I am asking the real questions…

  4. Though my moment of clarity came earlier, it is not an exaggeration to say Obama and the democrats broke my heart. I empathize with your pain. In 2009-2011 they could have done anything, but they consciously betrayed us all. It is time to vote for the Green Party or any other third party candidate. It does not matter if we win, it is the moral and right thing to do.

  5. Jack Reich | May 15, 2013 at 2:26 am |

    I totally agree. But before Greens are going to appeal to voters in any meaningful way, we have GOT to stop with the flamewars and endless navel-gazing on our listservs and begin creating public pressure for voting reform (such as same-day registration and Immediate Runoff Voting), genuinely fair taxation, conversion from military to civilian spending priorities, single-payer health care, an end to cronyism in business and government, and full employment at a livable wage for all. THAT is what the public cares about, not who represents Calif. or North Car. on the Steering Committee!

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