A commenter in another thread -- let's call him Muiops -- recently quoted, with apparent approval, his local representative in Congress, who had voted against the condemnation of the Goldstone Report -- which passed the people's House, incidentally, by 344-36. This Mr Smith Goes To Washington boldly uttered the following fightin' words:
"Israel is a strong and resilient democracy, and successfully investigating this episode could only make it stronger."Now the humor in this is that any reasonable person would see it as grovelling obsequiousness to Israel, not to mention bare-faced mendacity: Israel, a democracy?! For Muiops, however, it's apparently something to be pleased about and shows his local Dembro in a good light.
I read it differently, of course. The fact that feeble yesbutnik gestures like this are the best the Democrats can do seems to me ample justification for concluding that they're utterly worthless.
Perhaps even more to the point, one is personally disgraced by any kind of apologetics for these handwringing hypocrites, no matter how qualified and faint.
The concept of "chump change" needs to be invoked here. The difference that the Democrats offer from the Republicans -- granting, arguendo, that it's non-zero, a point which is far from self-evident -- is still so derisory that one shouldn't lower oneself enough to evaluate it, much less accept it in exchange for anything, even a vote.
Human action shouldn't be about the instrumental calculus all the time. There's such a thing as self-respect too.
And yes, as Chomsky says, a vote is easy and cost-free, but for me at least it's not entirely an arms-length thing. To vote for a villain is to touch pitch, and to touch pitch, we're told on good authority, is to be defiled.
One may have to endure some degree of defilement to live in the world at all, but if you're going to defile yourself, do it in aid of something substantial.