"Ah, Judge, your damn laws -- what good are they? The good people don't need them and the bad people don't obey them." -- Amon Hennessey

Fri, 01 Aug 2003

[12:22] Why I'd Probably Vote for Howard Dean

Actually, I'd rather vote for Dennis "We Did Not Authorize" Kucinich for U.S. President, since his avowed politics look more like mine, but I really don't think Kucinich has a snowball's chance in middle America, sadly. Nebraska just isn't Ohio. Also, as Rich points out, Kucinich really isn't running as savvy a campaign as Dean seems to be: last month, Rich donated money to Dean's campaign, and his wife an equal amount to Kucinich. Rich heard back from the Dean organization within 48 hours; Heather (to my knowledge) still hasn't heard back from Kucinich's.

Having said that, I think I could live with voting for Dean, in spite of his relative hawkishness -- he's been quoted as saying that he disputes military spending cuts "when we're in the middle of difficulty with terror attacks" -- even though we already spend far and away more money in on weapons, etc., than much of the rest of the world has to spend on anything, period. Still, I think I could vote for the guy, because he seems to have a somewhat realistic picture of the world, and, moreover, he seems to have a conscience about his role in that picture. Here's an excerpt from a recent Slate article that forms the cornerstone of my opinion:

[Dean] wants to renegotiate NAFTA to include labor and environmental standards--his lone departure from Clinton-style Rubinomics.... (Dean's theory in a nutshell: The structure of wealth in the United States before labor unions resembled that in Third World countries today, so in order to create middle classes in the developing world, we need to bring labor unions to them.)

Won't Dean's plan make the price of goods go up? "Yeah," he says quietly. "But so what? .... Because in return for making the price of goods go up, you've fixed the illegal immigration problem, you've fixed the drain of jobs problem, you've created a middle class that can buy American exports. There's a lot you get for that."

Now that is laying it on the line. It is a fact that Americans, and probably western Europeans, too, enjoy an artificially inflated standard living brought on by the availability of goods manufactured with inexpensive foreign labor. It's a fact. Any commitment to world peace involves globalizing our standard of living, because enforced economic inequalities will necessarily result in violence sooner or later. Now, of course, in the same breath, I have to add that said standard of living, be it higher or lower than what we currently enjoy, needs to be environmentally sustainable, or it, by definition, will never last. And yet it's not clear that helping Third World workers unionize will necessarily solve the root issues of corporate globalization -- for example, the total abolishment of immigration laws, whereby the freedom of trade can be matched by the freedom of labor to go where the jobs are, as Christina Noren once suggested, would probably go a lot further towards that goal. But which of these two options is more likely to gain traction on the global political stage in 2005?

The point that I'm trying to get at is that America today needs leadership that, first, has the vision to see that the survival of the "American way of life," whatever that is, is inextricably bound to the fate of the rest of the world; and that, second, has the courage to make the hard choices that the big picture entails. The change that Dean alludes to will someday happen, whether we like it or not: either America will either lead the way to a sustainable peace and prosperity in this ever-shrinking world, or she will be torn to shreds, trying to lord her wealth over five and three-quarters billion people, and so much the worse for everyone involved. Now, you look at the cowards that run this country today, and you look at Howard Dean, and you tell me: which of them is most likely to bring about which outcome?

(Those of you who have been keeping up will probably want to know why a self-described anarchist is even considering voting in probably corrupt elections. All I can say is that, whatever your credo, when in the service of a better world, you have to use every tool at your disposal that doesn't prevent you from one day turning your adversary into your comrade. Voting, of course, is merely the beginning of democracy, and not the end of it.)

The Book

Items of Local Interest
· the lovely & talented jo
· our Mapping Hacks blog
· my O'Reilly Net blog
· jo's devlog
· geocoder.us
· Locative US
· NoCat Wireless
· UO Faculty of Cartography
· Locative Media Lab
· World Summit for Free Information Infrastructures

Items of Recent Interest
· Navigating Wilderness Areas with GRASS (Where 2.0 Presentation)
· boston craigslist > all apartments: search for "cambridge -allston -brighton -somerville -medford"
· Mapping the Neighbourhood
· World Language Mapping System: Worldwide language areas and points for GIS
· ActiveRDF
· Borders in Cyberspace: Conflicting Public Sector Information Policies and their Economic Impacts
· Life with CPAN
· TJ's KMLDocument for Google Earth (+KML Reference)
· Boston Hiking Guide (with MBTA info)
· Calcium: feeding the Coral CDN with FeedTree
· Prototype Dissected - snook.ca
... more del.icio.us links

Prior Musings
[2006] Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun
[2005] Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct Nov Dec
[2004] Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct Nov Dec
[2003] Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct Nov Dec
[2002] Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct Nov Dec

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l337 h4><0rz
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