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Tuesday, November 02, 2004

I stood up to be counted today...

...And in the end, I voted for John Kerry.

There are three names for President on the North Carolina ballot: Democrat John Kerry, George W. Bush from the Republicans, and Michael Badnarik representing the Libertarian Party. And had Michael Peroutka of the Constitution Party been a choice on the ballot, my pen would have unhesitantly hit the screen next to his name (this was also the first time I've ever used a computerized voting system).

I think that the so-called "third parties" suffer from the system being rigged against them. The two major parties never worry about the hurdles that the third parties must jump... not when it was they who set up the hurdles to begin with. There should be a leveled playing field for all the parties, and any unaffiliated individuals for that matter. As it stands now America is run by a kleptocratic duopoly without an effective counter because (a) the two major parties have conspired with each other to render null any real threat to the status quo, (b) the mainstream press is too lazy to even want there to be anything beyond the two parties because it would complicate their lives as journalists if other parties gave them more news than they could cover and still get into all the cocktail parties, and (c) our present political system is based on the assumption that the American people are too stupid to think for themselves. Unfortunately we don't do ourselves any favors by complying with that demand.

Sometimes I envy the Russians who endured living during the Soviet era. At least their government was honest with its people about their lives being dominated by the state. The Communist Party did have enough confidence about itself that it didn't have to pretend it wasn't one party by putting forth a two-faction farce. For all that our Russian friends went through with severe shortages and less freedoms than we used to have here, their government had a lot more integrity than the one we have comprised by the RepubliCrats.

I'm a firm believer in the third parties: they're the only real source of new ideas and principles that could possibly compare to the two major ones. I'm going to still believe in them... but I'm not naive enough to believe that a third party candidate is going to win this round for President. I've lots of reason to believe that the Constitution Party can be a serious powerhouse by 2012 if not 2008 even, and enough of one to threaten the two-party stranglehold... but not today in 2004.

And like a lot of people are fond of pointing out, "every vote counts." We hope so anyway :-)

There's a lot of things that this pro-life born-again Christian disagrees with about John Kerry. But after studying the man at length these past several weeks on my own, with no one else to define him for me, I couldn't help but come to the conclusion that however it is that he stands on an issue, that Kerry at least considered the notion thoroughly before committing himself to that stand. I may not agree with him on something... but I've got to respect that it was something he came to on his own. We could use a lot more considerate minds like Kerry's in Washington D.C.

There wasn't a Michael Jackson's chance of keeping his hands in his pockets at a Cub Scout convention that I would have ever voted for George W. Bush. And having not voted for him twice now, my conscience is feeling pretty clean and wholesome about rejecting him. Yeah yeah, I've talked about what Bush did to me four years ago but my loathing the thought of him living in OUR White House stems from a lot more than that. For one thing, I'm my own person, the one that God made me to be. And I refuse to be like a lot of other people - including many Christians - who see Bush as the anointed carnal mouthpiece and vengeful fist of the Almighty. You know the kind I'm talking about: they NEVER question whether the things that Bush has done are right or wrong, or even stop and wonder if some of those things haven't been downright evil. These people are under a strong delusion, and I want no part of it. As for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord... and not a spoiled fraternity brat who can't decide if he wants to play the Lone Ranger or Winston Churchill.

Bush has done more to take America into the realm of blatant fascism than any other President in our history. I won't hate the guy - I never want to hate the guy - but he must be stopped and stopped now. And I'm having a very hard time seeing Kerry continue a lot of the fear tactics that Bush has held over the American people. If my vote can possibly, in even the least bit, help take the reins away from Bush, then I've definitely no problem in trusting it with a man if he happens to be John Kerry.

Which is why I voted John Kerry for President of the United States.

It was a pretty mixed ballot for me, with a generous mixture of Democrats and Republicans and Libertarian candidates. Barbara Howe got my vote for governor: I don't know that much about Patrick Ballentine and as for Mike Easley... well, let's just say that when I was a reporter in the western part of the state some years ago that I saw just how dirty Easley can get. I've never met either of those guys but I've met Barbara Howe - a Libertarian - a few times and she's a nice and astute-enough lady that I had no problem choosing her.

It's my personal policy to never vote a straight-ticket, and to never vote in a race where I know very little or nothing at all about its candidates. I also voted against Amendment 1, which would give local governments here in North Carolina the option to issue bonds without approval via public referendum. The thing is being pitched as a fast-track way to create jobs here in the state... how they figure that, I've no idea. But it's not a good idea at all to give local governments unrestrained bond power when a lot of them can't even manage paying off the ones they've issued already.

There was a MASSIVE turnout when I went to the poll, but the workers there told me that it had been far bigger early this morning: they were expecting it to pick up again as the evening approached. My wife's school is a polling location (the voting machines are set up in her classroom!) and they reported having a much higher turnout than usual when I called over there late this morning. Goes prety much hand-in-hand with everyting else I've heard: that this election is shattering records for turnout. Not even the one in 1992 - with the race between George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Ross Perot - generated THIS much voter participation.

Anyhoo, however this tale goes, my small part in it is finished. All that's left is to lay back, relax, and watch what's sure to be a very wild evening unfold. Too bad for us that it can't really be called "entertainment" though, huh?