A friend of mine recently wrote about why she believed voting no longer mattered because the Oligarchy controls everything in politics and who you vote for makes no difference. Despite the recent setbacks we have seen, including the large disappointment in Obama shown by Progressives, I believe nothing could be further from the truth.

It is true that in many ways Oligarchs make the real decisions and even those elected to fight the Oligarchy have to do a song and dance just to make changes on the edges. That said, there are three factors that I, a disillusioned Progressive and former Obama-ite, that lead me to continue to vote and suggest others do the same.

The first is those “edges” I mentioned. Those edges are huge. If McCain had been elected…

…stem cell research would not have resumed.
…troop levels in Iraq most likely would have increased, not decreased.
…two Supreme Court appointments would have assured the reversal of Roe Vs. Wade instead of assuring its survival.
…the war against medicinal marijuana users and suppliers in medical marijuana states would NOT have been suspended.
…we would almost certainly be at war with Iran and possibly even North Korea.

And all of that is just off the top of my head and only the first factor.

The second factor is that the con tinned growth of the Oligarchy is largely OUR, the Progressives, fault. WAY too many of us took a “we won” instead of “now we begin” attitude when Obama, who has ALWAYS been a moderate, won. When he made decisions about Health Care and Afghanistan that we did not support, we convinced ourselves and argued to others that it was all part of some master long term plan. He never said it was. We made that up to excuse his behavior instead of more strongly challenging it. Only in the very last days of this election cycle did we start to challenge him, and by then it was too late. When he finally went out on the trail and spoke to our concerns (including finally challenging the republicans stalling strategy, and not just their agenda) the independents had already decided to switch gears and the progressives to stay home. When the Tea Party came along we mocked them but we did absolutely nothing to defeat the growing right wing counter-reaction to progressivism. The only white demographic that Obama won in ’08 were college students, but their turnout was so high it made the difference. So how is it that the enormous outreach to colleges that marked the ’08 campaign was all but absent in the ’10 campaign? The youth vote dropped from an all time high of over 25% to its usual 6%. In other words, voting is a HUGE factor in where we are today.

Finally, the fact that it makes a difference to the Oligarchy means it should make a difference to us. If the Oligarchy did not believe that one party accepts its control while the other tries to fight it, it wouldn’t spend overwhelmingly more on Republicans than Democrats. The unheard of sums being spent to defeat a progressive agenda are proof enough that a progressive agenda is real enough to scare them. That is why now is the time to learn our lesson and truly begin, not retreat.