I'm always in the mood to pick a fight, Dale ;-). As usual, what isn't being discussed (what is considered outside of the discourse) is usually more important to critically reflect upon than what was actually said. What we didn't hear about during the debates:I reply:-Climate ChangeIs Obama a better choice in light of these issues? Yes, of course. But nonetheless I feel it's incredibly important to deeply think about why global hegemony has shifted so far to the right over the past couple of decades. This shift is not necessarily the result of the processes of electoral politics, and perhaps (in line with critiques of idealist conceptions of democracy) electoral politics aren't capable of remedying this shift. Thoughts?
-National Defense Authorization Act
-NSA warrantless wiretapping
-Largest Incarcerated Population in the History of the U.S.
-Unprecedented Global Protests
I agree that it is ridiculous that these topics (and others) have not come up in the debates.
I also agree that the current electoral process is obviously unequal to these and other questions. Education, agitation, and organization as political exercises exceed the electoral even if they ultimately find their fruition in reforms and regulations and public investments implemented through partisan governance.
Since you concede that Obama is a better choice or no worse than the alternative actually on offer I don't see why you would think saying anything you do here would feel to me like you are picking a fight. I think I agree with you in everything you are saying here, even if I might not be so quick to concede there is such a thing as "the discourse" politically or maybe I don't agree with you that the electoral properly exhausts what even constituted institutions treat as "the discourse" when all is said and done, and also I would suggest that at least sometimes electoral politics do indeed address some of the things that are as important as the things they do not at the moment (which I doubt you would really disagree with, and I admit such nuance wreaks havoc on elegant formulation).
I don't think that elections are a place where deep necessary critique really is happening for the most part. I don't even think that elections are particularly suitable for such discussions. I don't think the highly partisan election-analysis to which you responded should be construed as such a discussion (though I do think I have engaged in many discussions otherwise that should be so construed). I don't think political discussions should be confined to discussions of the electoral, even tho' I think electoral discussions as they play out in our media are absurdly more circumscribed than they need be and more than even ill-educated complacent Americans would prefer them to be, bad as they are.
But I also think that voting produces differences that make a difference in peoples' lives, that sometimes it produces differences more dramatic than those that are otherwise available to collective agency in a particular historical moment in respect to vital particular causes or problems and that none of the things I agreed with you about up to now properly yields the conclusion that it is wrong or mistaken or a distraction to vote.
I think one should vote for (or organize for, or sometimes maybe even try to BE) the best viable candidate actually on offer -- AND educate, agitate, and organize politically beyond voting so that in the longer term one finds oneself, if one is patient and disciplined and lucky, voting for things that are better still.
I have the sense that you advocate a both/and vote/and attitude as well.
If yes, what's not to like?