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Counter Punch - September 24, 2020

The presidential election is once again upon us, and, once again, I am wondering if I should sit on the sidelines. I have never casted a vote for a president even though I became a US citizen a long time ago. This is not just because I am lazy. That, I might be. But laziness has not prevented me from doing a lot of things in life that I dread, such as going to the proctologist. So, what is it that prevents me from voting for a president? Is voting for Donald Trump or Joe Biden worse than having a colonoscopy?

Ever since I arrived in the US, I have heard people say that they will vote for the “lesser of the two evils.” My first experience with this bizarre logic was in 1968, when Americans had to choose between “Tricky Dick” Nixon or “Dump the Hump” Humphry. I had just arrived in the US and was being inculcated in a high school “civics education” class into believing that voting in America is a duty. As a teenager I wondered what kind of civic duty forces you to choose between two evils. I also wondered what people expected to happen if instead of an evil an angel became president. More than half a century later, after spending a lifetime studying political economy, I am still wondering. But this much I can say without getting bogged down in complicated, theoretical arguments.

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