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Voting in Ohio: Desires, Wants, and Imperatives. My Vote Goes To…

As I’ve explained lately, I’ve been an undecided voter in a presidential swing state for the first time in my life. Well, I’ve decided.

There are a lot of things I want out of this election, things I’m not going to get. I want a presidential candidate who is capable of carrying out the duties of the office, who unequivocally supports the constitution, who unequivocally respects the environment and advocates for green investment, who will be unequivocally committed to democracy and the constitution and respect for empiricism and deliberation instead of faith in the unseen God or Gut.

I’m not going to get that. None of us is.

On the one hand, we’ve got Barack Obama, who is by his intellect, training, discipline and disposition exceptionally well qualified to carry out the duties of the office of the President. I am extremely confident in his diplomatic, negotiation and coalition-building skills. I believe he is prepared to restore empirical observation and rational deliberation to the White House. Unfortunately, he has gone for the cheap and pandering positions on government subsidies for dependent churches, on offshore drilling and on the deployment of new missile systems worldwide. Even more disturbingly, he has not only abandoned his previous position to vote for the FISA Amendments Act but has even declared his intention to use the new presidential power to search and spy on people without the constitutionally-required warrant.

On the other hand, we have the presidential tickets of Nader-Gonzalez and Moore-Alexander. These presidential tickets featuring Ralph Nader (independent) and Brian Moore (Socialist Party) adopt platforms that I agree with more than the platforms of any other presidential tickets. Unfortunately, the people at the top of these tickets couldn’t lead themselves out of a paper bag. Ralph Nader had considerable early success irritating the powers that be into action… but that’s not what a president does. A president works on the inside, bringing people into agreement to accomplish policy goals. For all his intellectual rectitude, Ralph Nader isn’t a uniter; he’s a divider. For Pete’s sake, he’s managed to alienate the Green Party! And Brian Moore? Well, consider what he lists as “experience” readying him for the White House:

* President of Irish-American Society, Hernando County 2002, 2003
* Player/Manager, NatureCoast Adult Baseball League, 2000-2007
* Flagler Museum Supporter
* Civil War Re-enactor, 14th Brooklyn Unit

Finally, completely out of hand, is the McCain-Palin ticket. In John McCain we have a cancerous man in his seventies who can’t control his temper, sings about bombing foreign nations, has been in bed with corporate lobbyists for years, and wants to take away a woman’s right to self-determination. If John McCain dies he will hand the White House to Sarah Palin, who is, let’s face it, Sarah Palin. McCain and Palin would bring with them the full stable of Republican operatives right back into the executive branch of federal government.

I support the ideas of Brian Moore and Ralph Nader, but I wouldn’t want them in that Oval Office chair. I am comfortable with the personal capabilities of Barack Obama, but he has shown a disturbing tendency to engage in Clinton-style triangulation at the expense of the environment, peace and liberty. I am wholly opposed to a McCain-Palin administration on the basis of individual unsuitability and policy priorities.

When it comes to the position of the President, I most want to prevent John McCain and Sarah Palin from capturing the White House. When it comes to federal policy, I most want to see the constitution restored to its rightful place as the basis of our laws, I want to see diplomacy displace war as the primary tool of foreign policy, I want a cleaner Earth for my children, and I want to see government stop being used as a tool for the distribution of corporate welfare. I also want to communicate support for those policy priorities.

No matter how I vote, I’m not going to see my policy ideals straightforwardly implemented. McCain and Palin actively oppose them, Barack Obama doesn’t straightforwardly support them, and neither Nader nor Moore has a snowball’s chance in Hell of being elected.

Completed Election 2008 Ballot for the State of Ohio, with a Vote for Barack Obama and Joseph BidenIf I vote for Nader-Gonzalez or Moore-Alexander, I’ll make a small communication of support for liberal ideals but I won’t help block the election of McCain-Palin. I’ll make a righteous statement but be more likely to see an administration in power that is wholly unresponsive to my righteous statements.

If, on the other hand, I vote for Barack Obama, I’ll use my vote to help block the election of McCain and Palin but will also by that act inappropriately communicate support for the somewhat wrongheaded policy mandate of Barack Obama.

If I vote for Barack Obama, my vote will be misinterpreted as support for the Obama agenda but I’ll be more likely to see an administration in office more responsive to liberal pressure.

I can make righteous statements and engage in liberal pressure activism any day. I can vote once every four years.

My solution? I’m voting for Barack Obama. Hang on… there, I’ve voted for Barack Obama.

There. That’s done. Now as a citizen I’m going to work like a dog to pressure the better-than-awful but hardly-ideal Barack Obama into doing the right thing. As a writer, I’m going to spend my time giving you information about how you can do the same.

4 comments to Voting in Ohio: Desires, Wants, and Imperatives. My Vote Goes To…

  • Bob S-K

    Well written. My process has been similar to yours. I’m in North Carolina, and while I’m going to vote for Obama, I’m not enthusiastic enough about his centrist leanings to encourage others to do the same.

  • tom

    i’m with you, after coming to the same conclusion. i know you’ll keep me and others like us informed of what Obama can do, should do, does, and doesn’t do when and if he’s elected. He needs to know that we’re going to be on him to correct the lengthy list of bad policy decisions, horrible laws, and illegal secret crap that Bush and the fucked up Congress we’ve had has perpetrated on us. Congress better buckle down and get away from K-streets play book. First things first – let’s get Obama elected (i’m volunteering @ a Move-on get-out the vote campaign in a neighborhood i grew up in on Tuesday afternoon, after work). Also, research all the Congresspeople in your area and vote for the most progressive.

  • HareTrinity

    Obama’s a politician, of course he’s not perfect. It’s sad how democracy works like that in this time period, but it is how it is.

    But much as you’re right to look at his political statements for deciding factors, let’s not forget his symbolic value.

    Voting a black man into power is a clear symbol that America isn’t just made up of the racist extremists they’re often painted as, and due to how presidents are treated (like divine beings) in the US may make REAL CHANGES to the ethnic barriers. It’s a big change from Bush and the rest of the world would see it like that.

    Generally England seems pretty convinced that he’s likely to be assassinated, but that he’s willing to take that risk just makes him even easier to respect.

    He’s like the “good president” represented in films/TV series, a fatherly figure who can get people to agree.

  • Fed Up and Shamelessly Righteous

    If I vote for Barack Obama, I will block a vote for McCain / Palin (and block a vote for Nader, the one person who has an actual track record of doing ANYTHING positive for this country)

    If I vote for Barack Obama, I will just be another mindless shlub who doesn’t vote their conscience, just votes for the lesser of two evils.

    If I vote for Barack Obama, I’ll be voting for another Republicrat in a different skin.

    If I vote for Barack Obama, I will help eliminate funds for social programs while I help promote corporate welfare.

    If I vote for Barack Obama, gay marriage will be another topic that’ll get little credence.

    If I vote for Barack Obama, I’d better realize that his definition of helping the middle class doesn’t include people who make less than $90,000 per year.

    If I vote for Barack Obama, I will sit idly by while my job goes to India, or the small business I’ve worked tirelessly for just flat-out folds.

    If I vote for Barack Obama, I’d better down-grade from an efficiency apartment to a cardboard box.

    If I vote for Barack Obama, I will have blood on my hands while I help promote TWO wars.

    If I vote for Barack Obama, I’ll be voting for someone who will win whether I vote for him or not.

    If I vote for Barack Obama, I will vote against my own interests.

    If I vote for Barack Obama, I won’t be able to live with myself. Just think of the sleepless nights the Bush voters must / should have.

    The GOOD NEWS is that I CAN vote in another four years. The question is will Nader still be with us? And worse yet, how can we live with ourselves when the ONLY person who has been fighting like a pit bull for us for the past 40 flippin’ years goes on / dies knowing that we’ve dismissed him as a crackpot who doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell. He surely has a heart of pure gold to not give up on this naïve, ill-informed, ungrateful society.

    What kind of ‘democracy’ do we live in that excludes other candidates who do not bear the title of Democrat or Republican? What kind of lemmings are we that allow the exclusion of anybody who doesn’t bear either of those titles?

    What if all the people who say “it’ll never happen” were to say, “I’ll MAKE it happen.” What if people actually used their minds AND hearts? Ugh…for the love-of-whatever, if NONE (yes, there are more than two—even more than three) candidates appeal to you, then please, exercise your right not to vote.

    If we don’t change the way we vote, the disappointment (and believe me, there will be disappointment) will lay on our own shoulders. Well, you’ll know who NOT to blame.

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