From firstname.lastname@example.org Fri Nov 3 14:40:13 2000
Date: Thu, 2 Nov 2000 21:42:52 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Feminists for Nader
The Nader Dilemma
By D. A. Clarke, written for Feminists for Nader,
2 November 2000
Have you been hearing statements like these lately?
Nader can't possibly win; you're throwing your vote away if you vote
Any vote for Nader is a vote stolen from Gore. Gore can't win if
people vote for Nader.
If we don't get Gore in, Bush will win.
Therefore, if you vote for Nader, Bush will win; a vote for Nader is a
vote for Bush.
If Bush gets in, he'll stack the Supreme Court with right-wing
Christian conservatives and overturn Roe vs Wade.
Therefore, if you vote for Nader, abortion will become illegal, and it
will be your fault.
Therefore every feminist has to vote for Gore. To vote for Nader is
antifeminist. It's irresponsible.
Many progressives in America today are facing a crisis of conscience
over their vote this November. A lot of people are disgusted with and
disaffected from the Democratic Party; and some registered Republicans
are also disgusted with their own party. The reasons are largely the
same: the moral and intellectual poverty to which our two-party system
has been reduced, the blatant corruption practised by the politicians
of both parties. For the progressive or liberal voter, the Democratic
Party's rightward slithering over the last eight years, and the
corporate ass-kissing lavishly indulged in during the Clinton
presidency, have left depression and anger in their wake. Many people
who voted for Clinton describe themselves as having been "betrayed,"
and they are looking for some kind of viable alternative, a way to
cast their vote without completely violating their personal
However, it's very difficult for a lot of us to figure out how to vote
for our principles in this election. On one level, it seems perfectly
simple. There's only one candidate out there for a progressive voter.
There is only one candidate who has anything concrete to say about any
of the issues dearest to a progressive person's heart. Only Nader has
any substantial platform at all when it comes to labour relations, the
supralegal power of transnational corporations, the flight of capital
from the US industrial sector; only Nader even admits that these
things are major issues for large numbers of people. Only Nader has
anything solid to say about environmental degradation; only Nader has
any real stance on corporate domination of media, suppression of
information, theft of the public airwaves, and many other very hot
topics that are on our minds these days. We live in times when
corporate power, not Federal or State power, is the most invasive and
frightening new force in most people's lives; only Nader is even
willing to admit that corporate power is anything but wondrous and
And frankly, only Nader has any credibility or integrity. Like him or
not, he's been consistently working for what he thinks is right for
the last 30 years. He's never been bought off, bribed, suborned,
co-opted, or watered down. He's never been caught with his pants down
and a startlingly youthful campaign aide in his lap. And he's never
been found with his pockets full of major stock holdings in companies
he just said something nice about in public. For a fellow whose word
carries a certain amount of weight, who has some degree of celebrity,
a little media exposure, he behaves rather decently. Like an honest
citizen, in fact, trying doggedly to work in the public interest.
What a concept eh? A public figure, engaged in political life, who
actually behaves rather decently. After our last sorry 20 years of sex
scandals, sell-outs, violations of the Constitution, shabby little
wars serving shabby political agendas, and open bribery in high
places, it seems almost too good to be true. Is this guy for real?
And it doesn't stop there: his running mate Winona LaDuke is (a) a
woman, (b) a woman honoured by both Ms and Time for her leadership and
vision, and (c) a Native American woman who makes strong and
unambiguous public statements about indigenous land rights, the
exploitation of women, environmental injustice, and the need to
re-enfranchise the poor and marginalized people of this country in
general. She's a co-founder of the Indigenous Women's Network, and she
helped to lead a successful campaign that prevented the massively
destructive James Bay large-hydro development in Canada. If Ivy League
name-dropping impresses you, she just happens to be a Harvard-educated
economist as well. The only woman we're used to seeing on the podium
with a presidential candidate is a Candidate's Wife; Winona is a
Her speech at the Beijing International Women's Conference is a
worthwhile read. To quote her very briefly on the subject of
indigenous women, "We, collectively, find that we are often in the
role of the prey to a predator society, whether for sexual
discrimination, exploitation, sterilization, absence of control over
our bodies, or being the subjects of repressive laws and legislation
in which we have no voice." Gee, she sounds rather like a feminist to
Of course, at that same Beijing Conference, another politically
visible woman from the US was speaking; Democrat Hillary Clinton stood
up and said, "It is a violation of human rights when women and girls
are sold into the slavery of prostitution." In Iceland, on her
speaking tour, she called for an end to the international trade in
women's bodies. She has publicly condemned many abuses of women and
girls. Hillary, in fact, has often sounded like a fairly reliable
feminist when in front of a microphone. Pity she's not running as
Gore's VP, right? Well, maybe.
When I consider how very little she has had to say about her husband's
sexual misconduct, I get an uneasy feeling about her much-touted
feminism. Let's suppose you can overlook or discount a charge of rape
from 20 years ago; many feminists can't, but let's suppose for the
moment that you can. It's harder to overlook the contemporary
incidents, Clinton's sexual harassment of campaign and White House
staff. Raving Republicans rightly pointed out that mainstream US
feminists were in a strangely forgiving mood when Clinton committed
offences even more blatant than Clarence Thomas's; and contributing to
the chorus of No Comments and feeble defensiveness was Hillary
herself. On the podium she can declaim a pretty good line about
women's rights; but on the home front she hasn't the guts to divorce
the guy for his repeated infidelities, or even to make a public
statement critical of his lousy attitude to women. It's Stand By Your
Man time, apparently, when we get too close to home. To paraphrase the
immortal Hitch-Hiker's Guide, this is clearly some new meaning of the
word 'feminist' with which I was previously unfamiliar.
So what's the point of this depressing digression? Hillary-bashing is
pretty boring; I actually don't have it in for Hillary in particular,
she's no worse than the average career politician and a bit better
than some; and so I'll leave off being mean to her in just a moment.
My point is that, just as with Gore's soi-disant environmentalism, Ms
Clinton's feminism seems to be coming in a distant second to the
advancement of her political career. In sharp contrast, Winona
LaDuke's activism is her career. Just like Nader's activism is his
This is a significant difference, an important difference, for people
who are feeling tired of the Democrats -- tired of betrayal, tired of
hearing high and inspiring rhetoric that turns out to be flak-written
ad copy as sincere as a Hallmark card, talk that is never walked and
was never meant to be. People who actually have principles and act on
them -- people like Winona and Ralph -- are an attractive novelty
these days. A breath of fresh air, in fact.
So it should be simple, right? Just vote for the guy who does walk his
talk, the guy who has some brains, some ethics, some sincerity,
genuine compassion for working people, genuine loyalty to fundamental
ideals like justice and democracy, and a real live Outspoken Female
Activist running mate who also walks her talk. Should be an easy call
for the average feminist, no? But of course, in a rigged two-party
system with a lot of big money on the table, it's never that simple.
Nader's a third-party candidate, and we all know about third parties
and the US electoral system.
It's easy to sum up the "reasons why Nader can't win." I've been
hearing them recited lately in every tone of voice from dreary
despondency to spittle-flecked ranting. The Greens don't have any
money; he's got no media coverage; he entered the race too late; no
third-party candidate has ever won a US election; he's not an insider
and he hasn't been preparing for the last 20 years; he has no
experience in elected office; he's too self-righteous; he's too smart,
the American people won't like him; the public is stupid, they think
everything is fine; everything is fine, there's no place for reformers
in a fat and happy economy. And so on. I'm sure you've heard it all.
And to be honest, no matter how keen you are on the Greens, it's hard
to believe confidently that they are going to rush up from behind and
have a runaway victory at the eleventh hour. It would be great, it
would be a priceless moment in history for us all to witness, but if
you asked me to bet my life savings on it, I wouldn't. I'm not saying
it is flat-out impossible; just that the odds are not real good.
This is why there's a crisis of conscience. If Nader seemed likely to
win, there would be no question; every progressive in the country, and
some maverick conservatives, would have their ballots all pre-marked
right now. But if you think the Right Candidate can't win, or that the
odds are bad anyway, then you're asking yourself, "Am I right to cast
my vote for the Right Candidate? Or should I be using my vote for the
Wrong Candidate, just to shore up the wall against the Worst
Candidate?" And that, beyond a shadow of a doubt, has to be the Shrub,
Dubya, the Lord High Executioner of the Lone Star State. (Now, I don't
really have to tell you everything that's wrong with Dubya, right? If
you haven't figured it out, go read Molly Ivins' book.)
When Democrats sit down to tell you why you really should vote for
Gore instead of Bush, there's an awkward pause. What can you say about
Gore, really? I mean, what's to like?
Gore's lost any credibility he had as an "environmentalist." As many
have quipped, it's as if he never read that book of his, let alone
wrote it. He sat there in DC with his fearless leader Mr Clinton and
said "Nuffin" while our national forests were (are!) being sold off at
bargain basement prices to clearcutters; while our environmental
protection laws were bent and broken for the convenience of corporate
profit-hounds; while Detroit thumbed its nose at air quality standards
and fuel conservation; Mr "Environmentalist" Gore reliably had Nuffin
to say every time. The US continued to pout and drag its feet in world
environmental councils and negotiations over greenhouse gases and
global warming; Mr Gore said and did Nuffin to change our national
stance. SUVs take over our roads, 30 thousand Americans die every year
from air pollution; Mr Gore says and does Nuffin.
Now, here you have a guy who goes to all the trouble, prior to an
election, to write a book (or have one written for him) telling us all
how concerned he is about our planetary environmental crisis. Then
after he gets elected -- when he's actually in a position of high
office, with the ear of the media and the spotlight on his desk -- he
says Nuffin so loudly that you can hear the trees falling in the
distant forests. You gotta wonder about that guy's campaign promises
this time around. You're gonna trust this known poseur and liar?
This pretty much leaves his defenders and his party with Nuffin to say
also; but they have one trump card. Bush is so awful. Bush is so
scary. Bush is even more corrupt, even more cosy with corporate power,
than Gore. Gore's pro-death penalty? Yeah, but Bush actually seems to
get a kick out of signing the warrants. Gore's a born-again who thinks
gays are "abnormal"? Yeah, but Bush's right-wing Christian buddies
make Gore look like a Unitarian Universalist. Gore's a rich boy from a
rich family with investments in companies who are messily involved in
our international policy? Yeah, but wait till you see what the Bush
clan and their interests add up to. Gore's a bit of a liar, a touch of
the sleazebag? You ain't seen nothin' folks, Bush is the Godfather
himself, with a colourful fantasy life as Attila the Hun. There's just
one wonderful, irresistible, charming, delightful, untarnished thing
about Gore: he isn't Bush.
We may remain kind of unconvinced. These are differences of degree
we're talking about here, not differences of kind. Is he really all
that different? Is one rich dishonest guy much different from any
other rich dishonest guy? Would a Bush regime be able to accelerate
and encourage corporate mergers and the consolidation of power and
wealth any faster than the Clinton regime has? Would a Bush invasion
of Iraq have killed even more civilians? Would a Bush embargo of Iraq
be killing even more people than Clinton's still is? Could a Bush
regime possibly waste even more money than Clinton is wasting on the
pathetic sequels to Star Wars?
Would a Bush refusal to discuss electoral reform be any more final
than Clinton's was? If a Bush administration sites a toxic waste dump
in your town, is it any more toxic than if Gore put it there -- as
Clinton did in Ohio, after promising voters there that he would not --
? Are 45 million Americans without health care any more without health
care if Bush is president, than they already are under Clinton? And
are the homeless people any more homeless under Bush than they are now
under Clinton, or than they would be under Gore? How can they have
less than they've got, when they've got Nuffin?
Will Bush's presumable outright refusal to allow us access to RU-486
be substantially different from Clinton's or Gore's 8-year
foot-dragging and temporizing in making it available to US women?
Either way, we still don't have access to it. A difference that makes
no difference, as the old saying goes, is no difference.
But no, there's a difference, there's this one difference, insist the
Gore defenders. There's just this one difference you can't brush off.
Say what you will about them, the Democrats still defend a woman's
right to choose.
Specifically, Gore's advocates say that Bush, if elected, will
promptly pack the Supreme Court with Bible-thumping Neanderthals who
will do their damnedest to speed up the erosion of women's right to
safe and legal abortions (an erosion which hasn't slowed down
noticeably during Clinton's Democratic presidency, we have to note in
passing). At least Clinton devoted some FBI resources to protecting
clinics from mad right-wing assassins. Reagan just grinned vacantly
and looked the other way, and Bush will do the same. Worse, Bush owes
favours to some very rich people with some very weird ideas about
women's rightful place in the world. "Afghanistan isn't that far
away," as one very sincere gentleman wrote to me recently. Keep an eye
on those Promise Keepers, folks, and dust off your copy of The
So here's the rub. Obviously the Democrats, running scared with a
candidate who's barely saleable (except to corporate backers, of
course), need to capture some electorate. Time to woo the women's vote
(gee, have we seen this happen before?) or rather, to threaten it, to
browbeat it, to bully women into voting for Gore by painting an
apocalyptic picture of what will happen if we don't.
If Bush wins, say the Democratic honchos and honchas, Roe will be
overturned. Abortion will once again be illegal in the US. (And if you
take the "Afghanistan" fellow literally, this will shortly be followed
by a loss of the franchise, imposition of the veil, deprivation of
medical care, stonings in the streets, and purdah.) And it will be all
your fault if you didn't vote for Gore. You will be personally
responsible for every woman who dies from some lousy self-induced or
back-alley abortion, because you irresponsibly and stupidly threw your
vote away when you could have helped us to fight the Antichrist!
On the other hand: if the Green party doesn't get at least five
percent of the national vote, they will lose their chance to get at
least $12 million in matching funds from the Federal government to use
in 2004. Without some more capital to buy some more media coverage and
to fuel some more outreach, the Greens are going to have a hard time
keeping it together. The two-party system that's stifling US political
life, keeping this country in a state of social stagnation and under
the thumb of an almost-hereditary ruling class, is really tough to
crack. The Greens need those votes, to get that money, to strengthen
their party, to give us some kind of freedom of choice in future
elections. Or we could be stuck with these same two
rich-people's-parties for another how many years?
If we cast our votes for Gore then we do, in a sense, tacitly endorse
the rule of the super-rich, the blatant corruption, the warmongering,
the lying-cheating-and-stealing that has distinguished our most recent
Democratic presidency only slightly less than that of its Republican
predecessor. Not appealing. Revolting, in fact. But if we cast a vote
for Nader, we feel a sense of risk; will Bush win because of my vote?
I'm no Pollyanna myself. If Bush is elected, he may indeed pack the
Supreme Court at the behest of his buddies and his bankrollers. They
may indeed overturn Roe. If that happens, there will indeed be lives
lost. There will be suffering. A certain number of American women will
go to jail for providing or attempting abortions, a certain number
will die from incompetent abortions. Wealthy women, of course, will
continue to have access to safe abortions.
But under a Gore administration that continues along the lines
dictated by Wall Street, the lines to which the Clinton administration
has obediently hewn, millions of women will have no medical coverage
to pay for an abortion; millions of women do not live near any of the
few remaining hospitals that offer abortion services in the US.
Wealthy and upper-middle-class women will continue to have access to
safe abortions. Poor women and working class women will have unwanted
children, or will risk their lives with amateur abortions or quack
Looks like we have a choice between only wealthy women having access
to safe abortions . . . or both wealthy and well-off women having
access to safe abortions. Real meaningful choice, eh? Talk about the
lesser of two evils!
Here is my own moral dilemma. The freeing of women from brood-mare
slavery hinges on women's ability to prevent pregnancy, and when
necessary, to terminate unwanted pregnancy. I'm not denying for one
second that this is a fundamental feminist issue. But surely it's not
a fundamental feminist solution to ensure this freedom only for women
above a certain income level, preserving "rights" which in practise
only the wealthy and the well-off can exercise.
What does it mean to define this constrained choice -- between access
to safe abortions for a slightly narrower, or a slightly broader, set
of fairly privileged American womanhood -- as the only choice that
matters? Does it take priority over all other considerations of social
justice for all American women? and what about all those people in
other countries in the world as well, whose lives are affected, often
ruined, by American commercial empire, aka our foreign policy? As
feminists, can we persuade ourselves to vote for the continuation of
our government-by-wealth which yearly condemns hundreds of thousands
of people to death, millions to privation and disease? When we recall
that women are foremost among those millions?
When we are told that Gore is the only candidate for the feminist
voter to consider, are we really being told that Gore is the only
candidate for the wealthy or upper-middle-class feminist voter? I have
to wonder. And I have to admire the political savvy of the boys who
have managed to back us into this corner.
Working-class feminists, poverty activists, or feminists who feel a
loyalty to all women regardless of class, are being put in an
invidious situation here; asked to ignore all other considerations,
betray our loyalty to the working class and the poor, postpone all our
concerns about peace, justice, and planetary survival, and vote the
corporate ticket in order to preserve access to abortion for what
looks more and more like a privileged few among us in either case. A
larger privileged few with access to legal abortions, or a very tiny
privileged few with access to top-dollar illegal ones; is this a
difference that makes no difference? Or is the upholding of Roe
essential, no matter how restricted the numbers of women actually able
to exercise the legal right it protects?
What's Roe worth to ya? That's what the Dems are asking us, with
cynical confidence, holding Roe hostage for our complicity in their
other crimes against women.
As feminists we are used to, and sick'n'tired of, the call to
"postpone" our feminist agenda in the urgency of a larger cause. If
the Democratic candidate for office is anti-abortion, or ignores the
issue (remember McGovern?) we're supposed to vote for him anyway;
after all, it's "selfish" to put specific women's issues ahead of
national issues like stopping the war or fighting poverty -- and of
course we mustn't let those Republicans win!
In other words, if abortion rights are not what the Dems are selling
in any particular election, then both personal and media bullying will
be directed against this particular feminist priority, stigmatizing
feminists for having too narrow a political vision. But when it's the
only card they have left to play, all of a sudden the Dems are
more-feminist-than-thou-ing it all over the op/ed pages, telling us
that the one and only issue on which we should base our voting
decision is the preservation of Roe.
That's today. Today, when the Democrats instruct women in how we
should vote, the call is to narrow and specialize our feminist agenda
to one issue, to make that our only cause. We are now being wooed as a
single-issue special interest group, and the larger polity be damned.
But we have known for decades that feminism is by its nature not a
"special interest" politics, but a consistent and inclusive political
and ethical stance. Women come in all colours, so racism is a feminist
issue. Women bear the greatest burden, suffer the most, in poverty and
deprivation; so poverty is a feminist issue. Women are consistently
underpaid, sexually harassed on the job, denied promotion, exploited;
so labour rights are a feminist issue. Women suffer most in
war-stricken countries; peace is a feminist issue. Women's
reproductive systems are sensitive to persistent toxins; environmental
degradation is a feminist issue. Women make less money than men, and
are slipping into poverty faster than men; affordable health care and
housing are feminist issues. Women are mothers, or at least all
mothers are women; child care, child support, and quality of life for
children are feminist issues.
There is hardly any social justice issue that does not bear directly
upon women and therefore rightfully engage the attention of feminists.
Even the corporate new world order, the malfeasance of the IMF and
World Bank, the machinations of the WTO, all bear harder on women
around the world; it is the women who are locked into the sweatshops,
exploited in the brothels, exported as mail order brides. The
prevailing GNP/GDP method of assessing and reporting national wealth
and productivity erases women's work and women's worth; even the way
governments do their book-keeping is a feminist issue. Feminists have
been writing and campaigning and struggling on all these fronts for
And on all these issues, the Democrats have failed and failed and
failed again. They have refused to treat women and women's rights as
anything but expendable and irrelevant, very low indeed on the
priority list as compared to really important stuff like corporate
profit and political gamesmanship. We are being asked to vote for
people who have betrayed us time and time again. They got some nerve,
Anyway, what the Democrats are asking of -- or demanding from -- women
voters today is to forget every feminist issue except Roe. If you vote
for us, for the corporate establishment, they tell us -- if you are
good girls -- we will not take Roe away. But you must not disobey your
kindly masters by voting for that other guy. (You know, the guy who
actually has something substantive and positive to say on all those
other feminist issues, the guy who actually takes women seriously
enough to share the rostrum with one... and by the way, who supports
abortion rights as well.) If you disobey us, the not-so-kindly masters
will get into power and then you'll really catch hell.
Well, no matter how angry we may feel about this hectoring from people
who have betrayed us time and again, it's not an easy call.
Bush is evil, that's pretty obvious. Gore is almost as evil, that's
also pretty obvious. They're both rich boys who don't give a damn
about anything but how their investments and their friends'
investments are doing -- that's glaringly obvious. Any comparison with
these two white-collar criminals makes Nader come away looking like
Honest Abe Lincoln -- also pretty obvious. But alas, it doesn't end
If you believe the Doomsayers for Gore, then the choice you're faced
with as a feminist voter is a classic moral dilemma. It's the moral
dilemma of, let's say, the Resistance fighter.
You know the scenario, right? You've read about occupied France or
occupied Viet Nam or occupied Anywhere. Or at least you've seen the
movies. Your country is occupied by Bad Guys. You want to run away and
join the Resistance -- join the underdogs, fight the good fight, get a
few licks in at the people who are ruining your life and everyone
else's. BUT. If you get caught and they find out who you are, they'll
kill your entire family. They'll probably do some pretty nasty things
to those you love before killing them; and that's not even counting
what they're likely to do to you.
So you're in this moral dilemma; if you do what your conscience says
is the right thing to do -- join the resistance, make the gesture,
take that potshot at the great and powerful -- then you take the risk
that you individually, or the resistance collectively, will lose. If
you lose, your actions may bring harm to others that you care about.
They may even blame you and hate you for having "caused" this harm.
And your conscience also tells you that it's not fair for others to
suffer for your actions. No matter what the Hollywood version says,
the moral character of Resistance fighters is very much up for debate.
Some of their surviving relatives and friends still see them as
self-indulgent, egotistical wannabe heroes, making their grand
gestures at everyone else's expense. Others simply see them as Heroes.
This is the moral dilemma which the doomsayers have set up for
feminist and female voters. If you vote for Nader you are increasing,
by your tiny little pico-percentage, the risk of a Bush victory; and
if Bush wins and all the threats that are made about his winning come
true, then women could be deprived of legal abortions; and that would
definitely be harm to people you care about. Yet, the other horn of
the dilemma is also a sharp pointy one: if you vote for Gore, you are
endorsing a corrupt and increasingly repressive political system which
is also harming women here and abroad, and you are diminishing the
chance of any successful challenge to that system ever being possible,
by weakening the showing of the Green party in this historic election.
There's a lot of money for the Green party riding on this vote.
Did you think I was going to tell you how to vote? You gotta be
kidding. I wouldn't presume to do that. All I'm trying to work out
here, for my sake as much as anyone else's, is the nature of the Nader
Dilemma. I'm trying to summarize all the smoke and flames and
competing claims, and bring it down to the bare bones of the issues.
People are feeling very, very passionate about this, you know. There
are progressive-type people who think Nader should just get the hell
out of the race -- now this is a real tribute to the political
deadlock that the corporate backers have engineered here, when
progressives want the only progressive candidate to drop out!. There
are also progressive-type people who are trying to get every person
they know to vote for Nader. Both are equally sincere. Friendships are
being endangered here, heated rhetoric is being exchanged. It's the
most exciting election in years, actually.
It all comes back down to the original argument at the head of this
article. You have to figure out how convinced you are by each item on
the list, and how you assess your particular voting situation. (Just
for fun, I tried to come up with a fairly brief response to each item
on that list -- the soundbite version of this lengthy essay!) Aside
from the cynical Democrat spinmeisters who are just trying to bully
you into voting for Their Guy, there are lots of good people out there
who are deeply convinced by the "Nader Kills Roe" argument, and they
will quite sincerely tell you that voting for Nader is antifeminist.
Obviously, I personally don't believe this. If I did, I wouldn't be
writing about a dilemma, because there wouldn't be any dilemma (in my
mind anyway). If voting for Nader were patently antifeminist, no one
would be agonizing over this decision. But to cast a vote for the only
candidate with a social justice platform, the only candidate who
addresses such a long list of issues all affecting the quality of
women's lives -- this can hardly be called "antifeminist". To vote for
Nader means that you've wrestled with the dilemma, and with difficulty
decided that you think that supporting the Green Party now, despite a
degree of risk, is the best investment you can make in a decent future
for women in this country and elsewhere in the world. No one can do
more with her (or his) vote than that.
Those who vote for Gore, because they have come to a different
conclusion after wrestling with the dilemma, are also trying to do
their best. It would be foolish to say (as the Democrats and the
pundits surely will) that a Gore victory implies the whole-hearted
support of the American people for another four years of presidential
malfeasance, corporate domination, and rich folks generally running
riot... or that the war on Colombia will be all your fault because you
voted for Gore. That kind of blame-throwing is silly.
Most feminists who vote for Gore will do so, figuratively speaking,
with a gun held to their heads. The questions for all of us now are,
Is the gun loaded or not? and How do I feel about voting with a gun
held to my head?
Thanks to that tremendously creative troublemaker, instigator and
rabble-rouser Nikki Craft, who coerced me into writing this essay.
Legal Malarkey: This article is copyright 2000 by D. A. Clarke. My
intention in this copyright is more like copyleft, as follows: Please
feel free, or even encouraged, to forward this text, copy it,
reproduce it mechanically, and so forth. However, don't alter the text
or misrepresent the authorship. Any copies you distribute must be
complete and properly attributed (unless specific permission is
granted to do otherwise) and preferably should preserve these
end-notes. If you quote any part of it in some other essay or article,
please provide the URL to the original so your readers can refer to
it. You're welcome to reprint it in paper media without charge or
restriction, but copyright remains with me and is not for sale. In
other words: be ethical, and have fun.