There is all the difference in the world between politics and advocacy.
Those of us who are trying to improve the lives of animals do not have the luxury of selecting candidates with whom we agree on most issues. We must prioritize what can and cannot be accomplished politically. Animal lives hang in the balance while the self righteous throw away their votes on candidates who have not a prayer of winning.
Occasionally we do have the opportunity to vote for a candidate who we feel is perfect.
But that is rare, and usually one who does not make the final cut. For me, such a candidate was Dennis Kucinich, a vegan, an animal rights advocate, a political progressive.
For animals, Sanders is the lesser of two evils.
This election cycle I am supporting Sanders over Clinton. For animals, Sanders is the lesser of two evils, as he is not vegan, supports family farms and meat production, and supports hunting. But his policies on trade make him a better friend to animals than is Hillary. She supports free trade agreements that have been a disaster for animals. Free trade agreements make killing animals easier and cheaper, and make animal corpses more profitable. US animal cruelty laws are overridden by trade agreements, and under them the US cannot block the import of animal corpses no matter how horrifically they were treated or how cruelly they were slaughtered.
The general election will also be a question of the lesser of two evils.
A vote for the Humane party or the Greens is throwing a vote away.
If Sanders is nominated, animal activists will have the choice of supporting him or voting for Clifton Roberts of the Humane party or Jill Stein of the Green party. In my opinion a vote for either is throwing away a vote. Neither has a snowball’s chance in Hell of being elected.
Third parties are doomed to failure in the American political system. The system is rigged against minor parties. To support a third party candidate is to deal oneself out of the game. Your vote and your candidate will be mere footnotes to the election cycle, totally irrelevant the day after the election.
Some argue that supporting the Humane party will afford the opportunity to educate the public and recruit animal activists. Given that the media totally ignores minor party candidates, I do not see how outreach or education could be accomplished without a huge expenditure of funds, money which would certainly do more good for the animals if spent on rescue and programs.
Absent pissing away money on advertising, outreach for the Roberts for president campaign will require turning to animal activists, diluting their effectiveness in the movement. And even those outreach efforts will be a waste of time and energy, as most people reached will already support animal protection and animal friendly legislation.
Basically, the Humane party will be preaching to the choir, and to no one else.
But what happens if Hillary is nominated?
The two evils presented are much harder to distinguish. Neither Hillary, nor Donald Trump (or whomever the Republicans nominate) can be considered animal-friendly. Both are capitalists. Both support Big Agriculture.
It is in just that sort of a matchup that the animal movement can exert influence and gain some advantage for the animals.
Clinton has vowed to continue the policies of the Obama administration. Obama has been no friend to animals. Obama has continued the Bush program of rounding up wild horses to remove them from lands used for cattle grazing. The Department of Agriculture runs an agency called Wildlife Services, whose entire mission is to kill any and all wild animals that cattle ranchers deem to be inconvenient. The Obama administration also permits the Navy to kill and maim whales and dolphins. The National Institutes of Health murders millions of laboratory animals each year. The Environmental Protection Agency has delisted wolves and supported hunting on federal lands.
Trump is no defender of animals. But his position on trade agreements makes him a better friend to animals than is Hillary Clinton.
Trump opposes trade agreements.
Clinton supports trade agreements.
She supported NAFTA. She lauded the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which she reluctantly repudiated in the face of overwhelming opposition of rank and file Democrats.
Trade agreements kill animals.
Both wild animals through environmental degradation, and those trapped in the food system through currency manipulation and trade incentives. Trade agreements abrogate US environmental laws, labor laws, and food safety laws. Trade agreements are written by lobbyists for the benefit of multinational corporations and Wall Street.
Trade agreements allow trade disputes to be tried in tribunals that override US courts.
On paper, Trump is a better choice for animals than is Hillary Clinton.
But that is hardly good enough for the animals.
Animal activists must use our voting power to coerce Hillary Clinton to pledge to stop wild horse roundups and to abolish Wildlife Services if she is elected.
Absent such a guarantee, animal activists should stand as one in voting for Donald Trump or whomever is the Republican nominee.
The animals have nothing to lose with a Trump presidency. And unless Hillary changes Obama’s policies, the animals will continue to suffer under a Hillary Clinton presidency.
Unless we work to impact the presidential elections, the animals will have been betrayed by our inaction.
For those of us for whom animal issues are of paramount importance, we must wield our votes as weapons on behalf of the animals.
To use our votes as palliatives to assuage our consciences would be both cowardly and criminal.
Votes are weapons to be used to reward or punish candidates for office. They should not be used as moral labels we wear on our sleeves in moral superiority or for pious self gratification.
This article was published yesterday under the title Eyes Only: The Nuclear Political Option.
A particularly ignorant or malicious person complained about a link I posted which linked to this article. I was sharing this article to a number of friends’ walls when Facebook blocked me. They said the content was blocked by their security software. Quite apparently some idiot complained about it without actually reading the article.
Next time, they should just unfriend me rather than compromise my work for the animals. Of course the more reasonable thing to do when they find something they don’t like would be to tell the person who posted it.
More than 300 posts across Facebook to friends, pages, and groups have been deleted by Big Brother at Facebook.
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