Forum: The Global Majority
What if the rest of the world could help choose the US president?
Thursday, December 2, 2004
LIMA, PERÚ—Lima taxi driver: “Everybody in the world should be able to vote in your elections since your government controls what happens in the world…”
What would the election results be if global citizens were empowered to vote in the US elections? Is the global majority, in fact, the unrepresented constituency most impacted by policies of the US government?
In a plethora of post-election expositions, many have suggested moving from the United States to countries more accommodating of liberal views and social justice. The thought of finding greener pastures may be alluring but fails to consider the global impacts of US economic, social, and political policies. Or, as popularized in the 1960s, “You Can Run But You Can’t Hide”
Bush’s re-election demonstrates that many are indeed moved by the Bush swagger, the failure of noun to agree with verb, the certainty of purpose, and the resolute affirmation of born-again-Christian conviction offered to erase all past indiscretions. Behind the pitch that Bush has been shaped to deliver, there is assembled a high-performance team of neo-con capitalists who know how to protect their interests. Tax breaks, war contracts, post-war contracts, defense contracts, outsourcing, market-dominating, environment-destroying, climate-changing, profit-generating, market-distorting initiatives are what really propel this administration. Karl Rove and company pulled a rabbit from their hat. They got the base of many working Americans to vote against their class interests.
Sour grapes or a prescription for change?
Sour grapes? Yes! The good guys lost, victims of superior spending, media domination, spin-mastery, and issue-defining, incumbent power. Karl Rove and company succeeded in characterizing Kerry as the flip-flop liberal who is weak on terrorism. They pointed the moral compass at the bedroom opposing gay marriage and abortion. The Democrats and Kerry failed to confront the immorality of war, the killing of over 100,000 Iraqis, and over 1,100 US troops. They failed to confront the immorality of war because Kerry supports it.
So, what is to be done? How about expanding the franchise of democratic-green-progressive base-building to incorporate the views of all people impacted and affected by US policy?
The global majority is largely without voice. The global majority is surviving at poverty level or below. Unrepresented by political parties or incumbent governments, the global majority is working to survive. The global majority is undereducated and without political power.
The global majority includes allies who deserve to be heard, to be included in the division of the global pie—they are globalization’s dispossessed.
Give them all the vote. Send the exit pollers into the field. Conduct some interviews when workers leave the gold mines, the sugar cane plantations, the textile sweat shops, the high tech assembly lines, and the subsistence farmers’ waterless plots of land. Ask the global majority whether they favor tax cuts or education, abstinence or family planning. Ask the surviving family members of innocents killed by precision smart bombs or car bombs if they favor war or peace. Ask the innocents if they support negotiation, mediation, or military intervention.
Give them all a vote, expand democracy, build democratic institutions, extend the franchise. Include the immigrant workers forced to leave their barren lands, their captured markets, and their families to cross armed borders as economic refugees.
Link arms and keep marching. The Republicans won their short-term return on their massive monetary investment. They will not rest, but they will feel safe in their victory. We cannot rest—the global majority never rests. The working people dream of rest, but are promised rest only in eternity when life is cut short or the body broken.
We will not rest. We will not mourn this election result. John Kerry may rest. The Democratic Party may retreat to its reduced seats in Congress, but the global majority is not allowed to rest—they look to us in the US as their hope, their eyes, their voice. Push the media to hear the voice, promote the stories of the global majority, challenge the preachers to extend the tenets of their faith beyond the narrow confines of their congregations of like-minded Christian soldiers.
Take strength from defeat. Understand the forces of power. Open our veins to the infusion of human resilience, commitment and vision that carries noble visions forward regardless of temporary impediment. Misfortune compels adaptation and shapes our conduct to more precise and focused application.
Yes, the 2004 presidential election results are a setback. We are let down, disappointed, dejected, tired, and spent. It appears that our best shot was not enough, but the sweat and blood of our toil are so minor by comparison to that of the global majority sweating and toiling day to day. No respite for the salt of the earth, no post-election day letdown, just more hard work, hot days, low pay, no pay, no hope, no say.
We are part of a historical process. Celebrate life, take strength from the connections made in the campaign, the hard work undertaken, and the power of your convictions. Tomorrow will bring an unforeseen return, a new ally, a new awareness of the challenge and opportunity ahead. Bush and his cronies will implode. Their greed, corruption, and cronyism will cause their internal collapse. It happened to Nixon, it may happen to Bush. History intervenes at times when we least expect a helping hand.
Some say it is time to leave the USA. Many in the world still aspire to make it to the USA. It is not time to leave, it is time to retrench, dig-in. Bring it on. Bring out the best in our common quest to give voice to the global majority.