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.
If 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.