Elections are different for anarchists. We've already made our peace with the basic fact that representative democracy is a sham even when it's not rigged by moneyed oligarchs. So when we do actually take part in the process, it's usually for purposes of propaganda and/or Machiavellian strategy. One thing Trump was right about is the influence of the deep state, though it's hardly the shadowy coalition of dope smoking lesbian Bolsheviks the Alex Jones-set imagines them to be (I wish.) Rather, they're more of a loose coalition of rich old white men who travel back and forth between unelected positions in the federal government and the numerous industrial complexes of the Fortune 500. At the risk of sounding like a member of the tinfoil hat brigade, these are the people who really run this country. Elections, especially at the presidential level, are largely just theater, a glorified reality TV show designed to feed the masses the illusion of living in a democratic society beneath the steel boot of a rapidly decomposing empire.
I personally subscribe to the Murray Rothbard philosophy on elections, which basically goes that since the state is defined by it's monopoly on the use of force, the best we the people can do when we're not loading rifles is to support the most antiwar candidate available. To me, this school of thought is made doubly relevant by the fact that theoretically the only thing the president has direct authority over is the armed forces. To say that this philosophy has brought me to some strange places is an understatement. I have personally changed political parties no fewer than three times and counting. And I've found myself openly backing everyone from Jurassic goldbugs like Ron Paul to New Age hippie vaxxers like Jill Stein (who's 2016 campaign sticker continues to haunt Hillaryites from the bumper of my Ford Taurus.)
The DNC's bottomless clown car of milquetoast morons doesn't exactly provide a lot of options for the Rothbardian voter. Most of the candidates seem to come from the Oprah School of social democracy, chumming debt besodden millennials with the promise of an endless procession of free shit, payed through taxing super-villains without offering to cut a single missile. The only solidly antiwar candidate was 89 year old former senator Mike Gravel, but since Mike has called it quits after essentially being banned from Cable TV and screwed out of his rightful place in the latest debates, that only leaves contrarian powder-keg, Tulsi Gabbard.
An active duty National Guardsman who has recently become one of Washington's last critics of the American regime change addiction, Tulsi is kind of like a young Hawaiian Smedley Butler, only with way better tits (What? I'm a feminist, not a monk.) Aside from good Old Man Gravel, she is the only candidate running a campaign centered on peace, denuclearization and detente in an age when the Cold War is back with a bipartisan vengeance. And with our dear old empire lurching closer to nuclear holocaust than it has since the Cuban Missile Crisis, this candidacy has become a necessity of existential proportions. Tulsi, as I will later address, is far from a perfect peace candidate. But her willingness to take on her own parties derelict leadership and throw partisan horseshit to the fan makes what may have previously been a rather mild candidacy downright revolutionary.
So then why has the congresswoman become persona no grata across the spectrum of the left-wing zeitgeist? Whether she's being banned on Google, ambushed on CNN or skewered by every progressive organ from the Nation to the Jacobin, it appears to be open season on the only underdog candidate not allergic to peace. But why? What is so damn dangerous about this woman that even the anti-establishment left finds her too toxic to touch with a twelve and a half foot pole? Well, lets unpack some of the most common gripes from my comrades and see if we can't come up with an answer to this conundrum.
An early arrow in Tulsi's tire is the idea that she is some kind of raging homophobe. On this I have to concur that Tulsi Gabbard's views on queer folk like myself were repulsive, in the fucking Nineties! Tulsi is the daughter of a wack-job, fag-bashing, zealot named Mike Gabbard who has long served in the Hawaiian State Senate. The bastard has earned an unsavory reputation as a kind of Fred Phelps of the South Pacific. The fact that Tulsi actually managed to climb out of that familial cesspool of hate and has still gone on to recieve a 100% rating from the Human Rights Campaign on queer rights issues speaks volumes about her character, all of it good. Who the fuck wasn't an asshole when they were 23? I was a goddamn Leninist suffering under the delusion that my penis made me a man. The fact that Tulsi may still hold some social conservative values related to her devotion to Hinduism is rendered further irrelevant when you consider that she has very openly voiced her belief that these values should not be a matter of public policy, a decidedly libertarian position that she adopted upon seeing what her father's brand of mass theocratic skulduggery leads to during her service in the Middle East.
Another popular swipe taken at Tulsi is the theory that her foreign policy is motivated primarily by latent Islamaphobia. I held this position myself at first, stemming largely from my uncomfortability with her past relationships with some pretty blatantly anti-Muslim Hindu nationalist organizations. But if you listen closely to Tulsi's positions in regards to 'Islamic Terrorism', you quickly realize that she's not anti-Muslim but anti-Wahhabi and there is a strong difference between the two. Islam is a huge and diverse collection of Abrahamic philosophies that are largely peaceful and anti-authoritarian at heart. Wahhabi Salafism is a pseudo-Islamic death cult propagated by our clients in Saudi Arabia in order to spread violence and instability across a population with a totally rational disdain for western-style capitalism. It's an inherently imperialist and supremacist philosophy just like Zionism and American Exceptionalism. I believe that Tulsi's position could benefit greatly from re-branding 'Islamic Terrorism' as 'Wahhabist Terrorism' but I'm not about to cut my support for a candidate based on something as petty as politically correct semantics. At the end of the day it really doesn't matter what motivates Tulsi's foreign policy, be it the troops or Wahhabism, as long as that policy is peace.
None of this is to say that Tulsi Gabbard is some kind of spotless dove. She may be among the last of the McGovern Democrats, but she's no Ilhan Omar. Her views regarding the genocidal apartheid state of Israel remain alarmingly inconsistent and her connections to arch-Zionist creep-a-zoids like the Addelson's are nothing short of disturbing. Her positions on torture and drones are also disconcertingly opaque. But her overall values still speak to the experience of a grizzled warrior who would rather break bread with the enemy than to pick back up the sword. Her short comings are part of the reason I had hoped that Old Man Gravel would find a way to hack the debate stage and hold Tulsi's feet to the fire. Tulsi's inconsistencies remain very bridgeable in light of the fact that they're contrary to her overall world view and this is what makes the left's concession to the radical center's demonization of her so infuriating.
Tulsi's independent streak has earned her a very diverse cheering section, including not only libertarian lefties like myself, but so-called 'Sputnik Leftists' and even a few lapsed Trumpsters who feel cheated by a president who promised them detente with Russia and an end to the endless circus of suicidal regime change wars. The diversity of Tulsi's appeal should be considered a strength in a country that has grown dismally weary of our long outdated left-right partisan paradigm. But this very appeal to diversity appears to be exactly why even the ostensibly antiwar left remains allergic to her campaign. The left in this country has become infected by a bitter strain of bigotry that views any interaction between their rank and file with the white trash deplorables in Trump Country as tantamount to treason. This isn't just offensively closed minded, it's cripplingly counter-revolutionary and precisely what the cretins of the deep state rely on to keep poor and disenfranchised people of every color divided against each other.
What makes a truly successful campaign in a hopelessly corrupt empire? Is it some safe vanilla centrist poster-boy for banality who we can hope against hope grows a spine in the Oval Office for just long enough to have it severed by a sniper's bullet from some foggy grassy knoll? Does anyone remember what Humphrey stood for? How about John Kerry? That's what I thought. But people remember the wildcards like George McGovern, Ron Paul, Ralph Nader and Ross Perot. Not because they won, but because they lost with dignity on their terms and succeeded in changing the national conversation. And right now, Tulsi Gabbard is the only candidate pushing that conversation towards peace. I don't know if that's enough to earn my vote but it sure as shit is a good start.
Lets have that conversation, dearest motherfuckers. Let make some goddamn noise for peace.
Peace, Love & Empathy- Nicky/CH
Soundtrack; songs that influenced this post
* Buffalo Soldier by Bob Marley
* Monkeywrench by Foo Fighters
* Broken Face by the Pixies
* What's My Age Again? by Blink 182
* Fortunate Son by Creedence Clearwater Revival
* North American Scum by LCD Soundsystem
* See No Evil by Television
* Freedom of Choice by Devo
* Forever Half Mast by Lucy Dacus
* Power to the People by John Lennon