Elections, Debates, and "Diverting Forces"

- by Richard Moreno

During Thursday night's presidential debate, Senator Kerry referred to Bush's failed Iraqi invasion and occupation as diverting forces, a diversion ostensibly from the so-called war on terror. Once again, however, the Massachusetts senator has verbally achieved the inconceivable. With all the flair and contortions of a professional carnie acrobat, he has managed to flip the truth and turn it inside out. For it is precisely the whole presidential election with its phony debates that is the great diversion.

This election, scripted through and through, between a couple of millionaires who represent big business is nothing but a diversion from the real war (both economic and military), that is, the one against the poor--whether in the U.S. or the Middle East. What is more, this election is a powerful tool to legitimize the continuation of this real war.

While tens of hundreds of Iraqis and occupation forces die needlessly in the name of U.S. oil interests, while our civil liberties are being eroded in the name of "the war on terror," and while poverty increases for the middle class and the number of billionaires increases exponentially from the good ol' days of the Republican administration of Reagan and including through the Democratic administration of Clinton to the present, our presidential candidates continue to boast about who would be a more effective executioner of the war on Iraq that Senator Kerry himself refers to as a diversion.

Too much time, money, and efforts of progressive and socially conscious individuals and organizations have been diverted from the real war, i.e., between the haves and have-nots, between the U.S. and the Third World, and instead have been put into this phony election. And I use the word phony here, to be blunt, because that is what you call a presidential race between a war president and a would be war president.

Although we need to engage these candidates on the issues as a matter of course, it is a strategic blunder to concentrate--divert, to borrow a term--all of our time and efforts on this election.

There is a reason why most people feel apathetic to this so-called presidential race; it is because it is not really a race at all. It is intended, rather, to be a rubber stamp that we the people are supposed to give to the status quo.

In this vein, when the people of the world, especially those under direct assault, see that the incumbent President receives less than a quarter of the eligible vote, e.g., W. Bush, they are able to distinguish between the government, which cannot reasonably claim any legitimate mandate, and the people. This factor alone, particularly in wars that depend on moral strength more than military might, is reason enough not to capitulate to the "lesser" of two evils. Now is the time to stop diverting our forces needlessly and start putting our sweat and blood, as it were, where it truly matters.

Richard Moreno is a student and activist at Mt. San Antonio College. He can be reached at info@globalresistancenetwork.com.

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