No, hope does not gallop in like Paul Revere. And it certainly doesnâ€™t arrive breathless from a corporate party convention.
Movements for peace and social justice can bring realistic hope — not with rhetoric but with the tough daily tedious uplifting work of political organizing.
Yes, weâ€™d be better off with John Kerry in the White House instead of the Rove-Cheney-Bush regime. And the only way thatâ€™s going to happen is if enough people in swing states http://www.swing04.com vote for Kerry on November 2.
But Iâ€™m already getting tired of the bulk email messages claiming that Kerry is the embodiment of progressive dreams. Please. We can simultaneously walk, chew gum and be clear about the reality that Kerry embraces a centrist matrix of militarism and corporatism — and, at the same time, in a world of contradictions, itâ€™s extremely important that George W. Bush lose the election on November 2… Letâ€™s not make stuff up. And letâ€™s not imitate the Democratic Partyâ€™s hype machine. Just because you think people should hold their nose and vote for Kerry, donâ€™t act like there isnâ€™t a stench.
Meanwhile, itâ€™s unfortunate some progressives feel compelled to claim that overall the political differences between Kerry and Bush are insignificant. Sounds righteous all right — but for anyone whoâ€™s been paying attention to the Bush administration for nearly four years, it shouldnâ€™t pass the laugh test.
I agree with the Greens For Impact http://www.greensforimpact.com organization: â€œThe presidential election of 2004 is not a debate about voting your fears or voting your conscience. It is not an academic or theoretical exercise. Real peopleâ€™s lives are at stake. Women, people of color, the GLBT community, our nationâ€™s poor, and many others, save for the privileged few, will face real consequences from the outcome of this election. As a result, we must view the effect of our votes collectively, not merely by what they mean to us as individuals.â€
I donâ€™t agree with people who say that itâ€™s not worth concerning ourselves much about who wins, that weâ€™re powerless to affect the results. Activists know firsthand that what we do, or donâ€™t do, can have profound effects. Greens For Impact (which urges support for Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb in safe states and Kerry in swing states) points out: â€œIn six states — Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, and Wisconsin — the 2000 presidential victor won by fewer than 7,500 votes. The margins in 2004 will be potentially so slim that our collective voice can have an IMPACT.â€
Will we be stuck with the likes of Bush, Cheney and Rove for another four years? For the next three months, we should do a whole lot more than hope not. We have less than a hundred days to go. Letâ€™s make each one count.
Norman Solomon is co-author, with Reese Erlich, of â€œTarget