Howard Zinn on why he’s voting for Obama
As you might guess, I love the activist scholarship of Howard Zinn. My first post at Vox Nova was a short one on the family as domestic church, referencing Howard Zinn’s view of the power of families to be “pockets of insurrection” in the united states. I thought of this post recently in my own personal reflection on becoming a “radical Catholic dad,” which will take place at the end of the month. I expect my blogging will explore entirely new themes with the coming of this new phase of life.
Here is an excerpt from Zinn’s article in the Progressive on why he is voting for Obama:
One might assume from the above that I see no difference between McCain and Obama, that I see them as equivalent. Not so. There is a difference, not a significant enough difference for me to have confidence in Obama as President, but just enough for me to vote for Obama and to hope he defeats McCain.
Whoever is President, the crucial factor for change will be how much agitation there is in the country on behalf of change. I am guessing that Obama may be more sensitive than McCain to such turmoil, since it will come from his supporters, from the enthusiasts who will register their disillusionment by taking to the streets. Franklin D. Roosevelt was not a radical, but he was more sensitive to the economic crisis in the country and more susceptible to pressure from the Left than was Herbert Hoover.
Even for th e “purest” of radicals, there must be recognition of differences that may mean life or death for thousands. In France at the time of the Algerian War, the election of DeGaulle—hardly an anti-imperialist but more aware of the inevitable decline of empires—was significant in ending that long and brutal occupation.
I have no doubt that by far the wisest, most reliable, with the most integrity, of all recent Presidential candidates is Ralph Nader. But I think it is a waste of his political strength, a puny act, to expend it in the electoral arena, where the result can show only weakness. His power, his intelligence, lies in the mobilization of people outside the ballot box.
So, yes, I will vote for Obama, because the corrupt political system offers me no choice, but only for the moment I pull down the lever in the voting booth.
Before and after that moment I want to use whatever energy I have to push him toward a recognition that he must defy the traditional thinkers and corporate interests surrounding him, and pay homage to the millions of Americans who want real change.