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October 25, 2004

WHY I'LL VOTE DAVID McREYNOLDS FOR U.S. SENATE

For readers of DIRELAND who live in New York, I thought I'd tell you why I'll be casting my vote for U.S. Senator from the Empire State for David McReynolds. I've known David since I was a very young teenager, when I came to political consciousness in the early '60s: David was, at that time, co-director of the War Resisters League, a post he held for over three decades. A principled democratic socialist, David played a key role in godfathering left activism after the quiescent years of the domestic Cold War and the stifling Eisenhower '50s. He was an essential leader of the protest movement against the U.S. war in Vietnam from its beginning, a tireless teacher of the tactics of nonviolent protest and civil disobedience to the young in the civil rights and anti-war movements of that time, and a principled opponent of both the totalitarian sectarianisms of the ultra-left and the hysterical, Cold War collaborationist redbaiting of a certain element of the right-wing social democrats.

Chuck Schumer, the incumbent--whom I've also known for some three decades--is a pandering publicity hound (his sharp elbows at photo ops are the butt of much humor in the halls of Congress) who is spending a fortune on television commercials this year, against an unknown Republican opponent who hasn't a chance in hell of beating him, because Chuck is raising his profile for a race for governor. Chuck desperately needs a higher profile because he has little to point to in progressive legislative accomplishments from his Senate tenure. Schumer's an opportunist, a rapacious PACman who has sucked up to every special-and-corporate-interest dollar he could to overfill his campaign coffers, a slavish supporter of every indecency perpetrated by Ariel Sharon's Likkud government in Israel, and a pro-Iraq war demagogue prepared to compromise on our basic civil liberties. Moreover, he's part and parcel of the Democratic Leadership Council crowd, whose dead hand has strangled the Democrats' progressive wing.

Schumer will win overwhelmingly, of course, but as a personal matter of conscience I'll register my protest against this ambiant mediocrity by pulling the lever for David McReynolds, who has the Green Party's nomination this year. I'm not a fan of the sectarian leadership of the Green Party in New York, led by the dreadful Howie Hawkins (a leadership group whose reputation among the national Greens couldn't be lower). The tiny cabal that runs the New York Greens would prefer to be big fish in a small pond rather than engage in rational attempts to broaden the party's base and build coalitions with others. There are enclaves of more or less sensible Greens who do good local work in various cities and towns around the state, where they've even won some electoral victories. If I lived in one of those places, I might support them. But the statewide Green organization is so hopelessly self-limiting in its sectarian purism that even my old friend and sometime sparring partner Stanley Aronowitz, who was the Green candidate for governor the last time around (and whom I supported in print) walked away from the party in disgust after his campaign was over.

So, my vote for Dave McReynolds is a personal one. Let me add another reason I admire Dave: at a time when the U.S. left was still mired in dreadful homophobic prejudices (the cliche in those days was that same-sex love was a sick byproduct of "capitalist decadence"), David had the guts to make known his homosexuality before the gay liberation movement succeeded in blazing the way for the large and open cultural space for gay people that exists today, helping youth on the activist left then to come to terms with their same-sex orientation.

I have not always agreed with Dave McReynolds on every single issue--nor do I today--but I'm glad he's on the ballot so that those of us who can't stomach Chuckie the Trimmer have a place to register our protest. If you want to know more about the tireless elder statesman of the democratic socialist left Dave McReynolds, check out the McReynolds for Senate 2004 website. And, I hope, you'll join me in voting for him. Trust me--if, like me, you'll be putting a clothespin on your nose and voting for Kerry to try to chase The Twit from the White House, if nothing else voting McReynolds for Senate will make you feel better as you leave the voting booth.

RECOMMENDED READING: Blogger Saucerful of Secrets has a sharp eyed post pointing out the contradictions between the Bush administration's complacency in the face of Russia's murderous campaign in Chechnya, and the views of the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya, whose members include a raft of prominent Bushies--like Richard Perle, Elliott Abrams, Michael Ledeen, Frank Gaffney, Midge Decter and more...

Posted by Direland at 01:53 AM | Permalink

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» A worthy vote of conscience in NY Senate race from Red Harvest
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