Monday, October 25, 2004

Noam Chomsky on the election

Bush or Kerry?

Posted by Noam Chomsky at 11:15 AM

We should not be caught up in the massive propaganda campaign to focus attention, laser-like, on quadrennial personalized extravaganzas as if that constitutes democratic politics.

As I wrote in my one comment about this, a web post at Znet many months ago in response to repeated inquiries, we can’t ignore the extravaganzas, any more than we can ignore a hurricane, but it shouldn’t take much of our time and energy, and we should continue to work on far more important matters, creating the basis for a live, functioning democratic culture in which whoever happens to hold office will be compelled to respond to popular concerns and demands—and, some day, we may get to the stage where issues are permitted into the electoral arena and there are real choices of candidates. I have precisely emphasized [that] we should “not focus only on the individuals but on the underlying power interests that they represent,” and should be constantly working on this, not becoming obsessed with the extravaganzas, and spending only a few moments making (I think quite obvious) decisions about them. Within the existing framework of institutions, there are different options. Rumsfeld-Cheney-Wolfowitz etc. happen to constitute a radical jingoist extreme of the narrow spectrum, committed to violence and enhancing very serious military threats abroad and destroying what exists of decent government programs at home. That’s why they have received such unprecedented condemnation from the heart of the mainstream.

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