I know I’m not the only person who asks from time to time, “WWJD?” Now with a US presidential election less than a week away—and with so much at stake—I ask myself again, “What would John (Lennon) do?"
A political provocateur in his day, Lennon was finally granted US residency a few years before he died and could have achieved full citizenship—including the right to vote—had he lived. How he would have subsequently voted in the presidential elections is anyone’s opinion. But I gave mine four years, in a lengthy and controversial post.
THIS time around I’m not so sure. Here’s why…
Assuming he retained his basic value system, one can credibly make the case that the former Beatle would be disinclined to vote for either of the two major party choices in 2012. Lennon the give-peace-a-chance activist would have been appalled at the military escalation in Afghanistan, the thousands killed by CIA drone attacks in the Mideast (including civilians), and the rapid and stealthy expansion of the US homeland security apparatus—among other policies. All of this occurred under Barack Obama’s presidency and was fully supported by the Republican challenger, Governor Mitt Romney. That would suggest that Lennon would sit out this election—or perhaps vote for Green Party candidate, Jill Stein, who is campaigning on issues such as these.
That should be the end of the story, right? Well, except for the fact that Lennon was also a champion of civil rights, especially women’s rights. While President Obama may have been late to the party on gay marriage, his record—compared to that of his challenger—is closer to the concerns of most American women on reproductive rights. (Governor Romney, unlike the President, wants to see the overthrow of the Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade—that protects women’s right to choose—and would like to defund Planned Parenthood.) Also, the President supports the Fair Pay Act for women, while Governor Romney has avoided taking a position on it.
Regarding other issues of concern to minorities—especially the Dream Act (enabling immigrants to earn citizenship through military service or college attendance) and protecting minorities’ equal access to voting (including early voting)—Lennon would almost certainly have supported them, which the President has done, in contrast with his challenger.
Of course John Lennon was also a capitalist (and reluctant businessman) who, despite his poetic yearnings for a fully shared commons (expressed in "Imagine"), admitted on more than one occasion that he would have preferred to NOT part with his considerable wealth. (You might say he was a realist—and not the only one.) Someone in his economic tax bracket would understandably be concerned about increased taxes on the wealthy, which President Obama espouses but Governor Romney does not.
But, in the end, Lennon’s concern for the rights of women and minorities would probably outweigh his other concerns. In this independent voter’s opinion, John Lennon would likely cast his vote for Barack Obama.