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Who is a Peace Voter?


A peace voter is someone who treats the life-and-death issue of war and peace as the defining issue in American politics. Peace voters put peace before party and vote for and support true peace candidates.

The American public by a large majority opposes the continued occupation of Iraq and a military attack on Iran. We do not want the United States to serve as the world’s policeman. Yet, American voters continue to elect candidates who support an expanded military and continued use of U.S. military force around the world.






The Challenge of Being a Peace Voter Today


Being a peace voter is challenging in the United States of America because the two established political parties often putforward candidates who support military expansion and the illegal projection of military power around the world. Often one of the two parties, usually the Democrats, will put forward a candidate who waffles on the war or pretends to be anti-war while voting for war funding, an expanded military budget and other pro-war positions. In this environment the peace voter must be:

1. Informed so they can tell the real peace candidate from the fraudulent peace candidate.

2. Engaged as citizen peace voters who let candidates know their views, engage them in dialogue, support peace candidates who are not only with the established parties but who are insurgents in those parties as well as third party and independent candidates. Sometimes it means that the peace voter must become a peace candidate in order to give people a real choice.




The Lessons of History


Sometimes it can be disheartening to be a peace voter in a time when half the discretionary spending in the federal budget goes to the military, when the U.S. spends as much as the rest of the world combined on military activity and when the weapons industry is a major contributor to both established parties. But take heart – history is on our side and over and over history shows that voters who hold true to their beliefs at the ballot box overcome the obstacles of the present and create a new world that at first seems impossible.

It can be hard to see how voting for peace is an expression of political power when the peace candidate often loses. This leads some to vote out of fear of the greater-evil candidate and give their vote to someone who is not really a peace candidate. But if you back away from today and step back into history, it is easier to see the potential power of the peace vote.

If it were 1840 and you had been trying to end slavery for decades (abolition was older than the nation), but the two established parties were bought and paid for by the slave “business” — slavery was more valuable than all other businesses combined — what would you do? The Democrats were dominated by plantation owners and the Whigs were dominated by northern industrialists who profited from cheap cotton. As a result of these political realities the abolition of slavery was “off the table” in Congress. What would you do if you opposed slavery? Would you vote for the lesser-evil slave profiteer? Or, would you vote for the various abolition parties that had no chance of success - that generally got votes in the low single digits? Some anti-slavery voters had the courage of their convictions and voted for the abolition candidate. Indeed, in retrospect most Americans would say they would have voted against slavery. Those who voted abolition were the heroes of our history because they forced the issue into the electoral arena, forced the parties to confront it, and led to the most successful third party president in history, Abraham Lincoln. Those voters who voted for single-digit candidates and for their hopes and dreams — a country without slavery — had more power in U.S. government than was evident at the time. They changed the direction of America while voters who compromised their beliefs helped slavery survive.

Now, flash forward 75 years into our own future - finally the world has come to recognize war is obsolete and not a successful approach to disputes between nations or people. How did this happen when there were two parties that were funded by the defense industry, the right wing Israeli lobby, the oil industry and others who profit from war? How did this happen when at the beginning of the 21st Century the two major parties were calling for a bigger military, pre-emptive military attack and favored developing tactical nuclear weapons so the U.S. could use them?

One key tool that will make war obsolete is if both political parties know they will not get the 5-to-20 percent of the voters who care enough about ending war to vote for it. When those parties see a solid block voting against ANY pro-war, waffle-on-war or fraudulent peace candidates then the parties will change or be replaced. Peace voter power will be a key ingredient to making war obsolete. A big reason the peace voter could fail is if they continue to give votes to war candidates.




What Peace Voters Can Do in 2008


Take action. There are many things that peace voters can do to educate the public, move the U.S. government toward a foreign policy based on diplomacy not militarism, and advance peace in 2008.




Peace Voter Power


The major change needed to create peace voter power is for peace advocates to recognize that war and peace is a life-and-death issue that should be our top priority for picking candidates. But more importantly, we need to realize that the achievement of “Peace Voter Power” will come only by voting for peace and supporting peace candidates - even if they seem to have no chance of winning — even if they will get 5 percent or less. When peace voters give their vote to candidates who do not recognize that war is obsolete, we empower the empire builders who use military intervention as the primary foreign policy tool.

Voting for pro-war/waffle-on-war candidates strengthens war as a tool of foreign policy. Voting for peace candidates is the only way to change the mistaken direction of the United States.



 
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