Thursday, October 25, 2012

Why Not Jill Stein?

Maybe someday, Jill Stein
Some readers may remember back four years when I was an enthusiastic supporter of democratic presidential candidate Mike Gravel.  I liked how the former Senator from Alaska didn't cloud his beliefs in obfuscatory language.  He wanted to end the war in Iraq immediately.  He supported marriage equality.  He knew the war on drugs is bullshit.  He railed against the military industrial complex.  I liked what I heard, and I wrote about him several times.  I vowed to vote for him, no matter what.

On election day, I voted for Barack Obama.

A few days ago I had a quick exchange with our official aquarist, someone whose opinion I greatly value, about casting a 'lesser of two evils' vote.  As frustrated as I am with the Republican Lite version of today's Democratic Party, my friend appears to be officially fed up.  We only traded a few messages, but it got me thinking about the way I use my vote.  If my views are more in line with the Green Party candidate, why do I vote Democrat?  People lament the two-party system all the time, but the fact is, we do have a plurality of parties: Green, Libertarian, Constitution, Prohibition (wtf?).  These are mostly marginalized and only seem to be relevant when they're siphoning votes from one of the major candidates (like when Ralph Nader drank Al Gore's milkshake).  But for those of us not entirely in line either of the two largely corrupted behemoth political parties, there is a way to more adequately express ourselves, and perhaps sleep a little better at night.  Very few of us have the guts to do it.  So, if I'm not enamored of Obama and his drone strikes and his incessant rhapsodizing of 'clean' coal and his plan to more or less maintain the status quo on military spending, my question is this: is a vote against someone a good vote?

I think so.

I think a vote against the GOP is a damned good vote.  It's not particularly controversial to say that things are better for the majority of people when a Democrat is occupying the White House.  That's a broad statement, but I think it's pretty plain that, for at least the last 32 years, that GOP largesse has been reserved for the extremely well-to-do, whose campaign donations and political movements have been repaid in the form of lucre (tax cuts), power (Citizen's United) and fawning adoration (all hail the job creators).  Are the Democrats any better?  Only marginally in some areas, but in others there is a great yawning gulf separating the parties.  Gay rights, health care and climate change are a few that come to mind. And then there's women's rights.  You can see ideological differences every time Todd Akin, or Richard Mourdock, or Paul Ryan, or Mitt Romney or any of these candidates from the neolithic age of American politics opens his mouth about the opposite sex.  There is a very real possibility that two new Supreme Court Justices will be selected in the next presidential term.  The thought of Romney wielding those picks makes me tremble for Roe v Wade.

And for me, that's the bottom line: I respect my wife, mother, sister and hypothetical daughter too much to ever consider voting R.  I dig just about everything on Jill Stein's platform, but Obama is staunchly pro choice, he's committed to protecting Planned Parenthood and he knows unequivocally that rape is rape.  Call me yellow if you want to, but I care enough about keeping these GOP assholes out of office that I'll keep filling in the D for as long as I have to and dream of the day that Jill Stein is a viable contender.

Obama/Biden 2012


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