COMMENTARY | Among liberal circles, Republicans have the nasty reputation of being hopelessly partisan and notoriously intractable. But San Francisco Democrats can be just as unyielding when it comes to their political beliefs — and even more so when it comes to their support for Barack Obama. Their dogged defense of the president, even when faced with incontrovertible evidence of crimes for which they’d be calling for Republican heads, has resulted in heated Election Day arguments and, unfortunately, more than a few “unfriendings.”
I am no Republican. I voted for Jill Stein of the Green Party, who I enthusiastically endorsed on my blog and touted to everyone who would listen. Almost immediately, I was bombarded by an angry liberal chorus of “wasted vote.” Well, I believe that the only wasted vote is a vote for a candidate you don’t believe in.
Try saying that in San Francisco. You can’t imagine how many friends, of both the flesh-and-blood and digital varieties, howled their fervent disapproval. I even lost a handful of those friends due to my “betrayal” of their hypocritical brand of liberalism. My vote for Stein could, they argued, hand the presidency to Mitt Romney, just as they falsely believe Ralph Nader cost Gore the 2000 election.
Never mind that a vote for Obama was a tacit vote for growing economic inequity, the erosion of civil liberties, the indefinite detention of Americans, the assassination of Americans without due process of law, unconstitutional wars, support for brutal dictators and even bankrolling child soldiers and Israeli ethnic cleansing and apartheid. These crimes are somehow acceptable because Obama is committing them instead of some evil Republican like Bush.
Therein lies the glaring hypocrisy of the San Francisco liberal. Supporting Obama when you don’t know about his crimes is one thing. But too many folks around here, who are, after all, among the worldliest and best-informed in the nation, know all about what the president is up to yet give him a free pass because he is “the lesser of two evils.”
If you ask me, the lesser of two evils is still evil.
So, how to mend fences with these “Obamabots”? I won’t. Anyone who would “unfriend” me over a difference in political opinion is no friend worth having, let along expending effort toward reconciliation. Those former friends would do well to take a hard look in the mirror. They might just realize that they’re not much different from the obdurate reactionary right they loathe.
Brett Wilkins is a San Francisco-based blogger and social justice advocate. He is the editor of Moral Low Ground.