[Em] Obama, “Puritopians,” and Privilege

Let me put a big disclaimer on this now: These are my personal views and they are not representative of our system as a whole. If you disagree with me, it doesn’t have shit to do with anyone else here. Also, here’s a content warning for warfare.

A lot of us, including me, hang out on political blogs. Most of them tend to range from moderate to far-left, which is reflective of our individual political beliefs.

What I’ve noticed is this disturbing tendency to reflexively label President Obama as “evil,” and lambaste him constantly because of some of his foreign-policy stances, and opposing him at every turn. Any time a pro-Obama post appears, they show up in droves, complaining about Afghanistan, drones, or Yemen, and endorsing Jill Stein, Ron Paul, or some other fringe candidate. These people are often called “puritopians” by more moderate Democrats and leftists: they want purity among left-wing voters and politicians, and they want their presidents to establish a utopian society. And they’ll sit down tearing Democratic Presidents, representatives, and senators apart. Most of these people are white. Most of them aren’t disabled. Most of them don’t stand to lose much if Republicans dominate all branches of government. (And even more oddly, some of them support Ron Paul, who’s notably racist and homophobic—but he’ll end the wars, you see!) Not to mention that the “help the poor kids in Pakistan” talk has a “pity porn” tone to it. It feels as though they’re using it as a pretext to criticize the Obama Administration without actually being attached to the issue.

They generally claim to be fighting for all of us, and want to make society a more equitable place. Yet they tried to convince Obama voters that he was “evil,” and that making it easier for Mitt to win by voting for Jill Stein, Gary Johnson, or other ostensibly anti-war candidates was a viable solution. Some of them have these scorched-earth fantasies, in which they wanted the Republicans to win so that they could prove that the system was fucked up. You realize how many people would get screwed if Romney won? Say goodbye to Roe v. Wade, LGBT rights, the social safety net, avoiding war in Iran…Sorry, this is not a motherfucking GAME where you can toss people under a fucking bus to make a cute little political point. Why not put pressure on Obama, rather than threatening with a swing-state vote (it’s less of a problem for folks in solid red or blue states) for Jill Stein or some other candidate who will never fucking become president and will just make it easier for a Republican to take office…and you KNOW Romney or Gingrich or whoever won’t fucking listen to you. I’m not saying “My President right or wrong.” I’m saying that it’s better to put pressure on a more receptive leader than it is to say “I’m taking my toys and going home, and fuck anyone who might be affected by a Republican winning the presidency.” I’m right there with you on wanting the Administration to cut this stuff out, but that doesn’t mean that I’d make it easier for MITT FUCKING ROMNEY to win.

I’m not saying that I don’t care, or that I endorse all of Obama’s foreign-policy decisions. I’m saying that the alternative would have been far worse, and Romney winning the election would have had damaging effects on many of the people we personally care about, especially those who happen to be disabled. We have friends who have “pre-existing conditions” that would prevent them from getting healthcare if Mitt were to get in office and repeal Obamacare, as he said he’d do on “Day One.”

Look, I get that these folks are tired of the Middle Eastern wars. I’m tired of them too and I wish that they’d stop. But I don’t think that it’s fair to castigate a candidate for one issue alone, especially when the alternatives are much worse. The only other person who could have actually won, Mitt Romney, would have been worse. If you were complaining about Obama’s foreign policy now, Mitt as commander-in-chief would have been much, much more frightening. As I said above, better to put pressure on a Democratic President than to make it easier for a Republican to win and return to the disastrous Bush-era foreign policy that the world so deplored. It won’t just be assassinations of al-Qaeda operatives with unfortunate civilian deaths to go with them; it’ll be bombs dropped on Iran, with MORE civilian deaths.

It’s frustrating to see these people go “Think of the children in Pakistan/Uganda/some other far-flung country” when there’s a ton of social strife at home. And as I said before, the people who hand-wring about Obama’s foreign policy tend to be white, well-off folks who wouldn’t lose much if Romney or any other Republican candidate won. They wouldn’t have to worry about another economic downturn spurred on by trickle-down voodoo. They wouldn’t have to worry about losing health care or Social Security. They can continue to sit behind their computers and blog about how horrible “President Romney” is without actually being affected by him and his policies. So they can say that Obama is “as bad as Bush,” or that “Obama and Romney are the same,” since they’d never even know the fucking difference. Obama isn’t perfect by far, but he was the most viable candidate that we agreed to support. Jill Stein’s positions are great, for the most part, but she wouldn’t have won. Gary Johnson had good social policies, but his economic views were busted and put too much faith in the free market and trickle-down economics, which would have been just as bad as it would be under Romney. Romney, of course, was obviously out. Ron Paul? An extremist to the core.

Fortunately, roughly 51% of the country didn’t listen to the puritopians. Otherwise, we might have a President Romney on our hands.

Do I think that Obama’s perfect? Hell no. Nobody is. But he’s miles better than Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Gary Johnson, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, or any other Republican or Libertarian candidate they put up this year. And like it or not, a vote for Jill Stein wouldn’t have changed a damn thing. I am incredibly happy and relieved that Obama won reelection, and that Romney will fade into well-deserved obscurity.

4 thoughts on “[Em] Obama, “Puritopians,” and Privilege

    • I’m glad you appreciate it! And your article was great, especially after coming across so many articles that had this tone of “OMG WE MUST STOP OBAMA, VOTE FOR JILL STEIN/GARY JOHNSON even though it’ll make it easier for Romney to win!” ~E.

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