The Bush/Gore/Nader spoiler debate is taking place again, this time in the shadow of whether people of conscience can vote for Obama. Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg recently urged people in swing states to vote for Obama over a third-party candidate because the alternative is worse (this is the “Lesser of Two Evils” argument, or LOTE).
Glenn Greenwald wrote about this issue today, here. The comments are interesting, as are the article and comments to this piece by Matt Stoller, who is urging people to vote against Obama. The commenters discussed the merits of LOTE voting and whether voting for a third-party candidate is viable and would send a strong enough message.
Then one commenter said the following, which stood out for me:
Change does not come at the top. It comes from your Selectmen, your County Commissioners, your Sherifs. That is where they create the Bernie Sanders. The ones that can Make a Difference.
Putting aside the issue of presidential politics, will better whistleblowing legislation take hold if up-and-coming local legislators–tomorrow’s national politicians–were pressured to support good legislation at the local and state levels?
What if there was a candidate clearinghouse that rated local and state candidates on their commitment to ethical conduct in government? Local municipalities and state governments need whistleblowing legislation, and the legislators that oversee these institutions become congressmen in a number of years. And whistleblowers can be found around the country.
Why not get involved and make the Congress of a future session friendly to whistleblowers on Day 1?
As far as I can tell, the National Whistleblowers Center is the only place that comes close to doing this, but on a presidential level. Here’s NWC’s questionnaire to then-candidate Barack Obama.
Another alternative is having whistleblowers and activists get involved locally and organize, organize, organize. And to put my money where my mouth is, that’s exactly what I’ll be doing in my own town of Alexandria, Virginia. Truth be told, I don’t even know what the local and state whistleblowing laws are here.
I urge anyone reading this and so motivated to do the same in your own town and state.