Friday, September 19, 2008


My political philosophy, such as it is, hasn't been filtered through the loyalty of any party machine, and based more on a set of ideas, eventually worked out based on a few basic principles (Golden rule stuff, mostly, respect for personal space, a decision on which few social tasks and risks are best dealt with collectively, awareness of physical conservation laws), and a gradual (thanks to an overabundance of inadequate data and worse reporting) observation on how things might be reduced effectively to practice, such as it does the least harm getting there given that people are pretty nasty when they get to empower themselves. I've been mildly surprised to find this makes me more or less a leftist, in those instances where it doesn't make me a flaming, but suspiciously sedentary, radical.

It's not a shock to discover that neither party satisfies my ideas well, certainly not in practice, and even if I'm better informed thanks to endless dicking around on the internet, the mindset's still typical voter. My decision to vote third party, to do so in a solidly locked electoral state, is a lazy act of defiance, but a fairly uncontroversial one. You'd think. Fucked if I didn't wander into a lecture on it yesterday though, in a place where I usually visit to avoid such humorlessness. I'll happily vote for individual Democrats when they show signs of doing anything I want, but I'll be damned if there's been any meaningful environmental legislation passed since the Clean Air Act, if the insurance nationalizing bastards will ever develop a universal health care program, if a cogent energy policy appears this side of the oil crunch, or if the party will oppose a war for any reason whatsoever. If you want to blame it on a new breed, fine, let's keel-haul Nancy Pelosi, but voting for a blue dog isn't going to prevent the blue dogs pulling the party to the right. (Whatever that means. Sometimes when they pull right, they balance the budget, which is something the right is unable to do.)

Dad asks me why he shouldn't vote for a Republican president. If you aren't much the target of their noxious social views, and aren't too inquisitive about them, you can get away without noticing the bigotry. If you're a policy Republican, you go in for "fiscal responsibility," "personal responsibility," and "mature foreign policy." Those are fine nouns, modified by sensible adjectives, but the reason you shouldn't vote for America's right-wing party is that those descriptions are complete bullshit. They're pure Newspeak. Fiscal responsibility means profligate defense spending and cutting capital gains; mature foreign policy means blowing shit up first and explaining later; personal responsibility means an expensive and frequently immoral prosecutorial policy, legal sheltering of corporations from the individuals they've fucked over, de-nationalizing industries and handing the contracts to buddies, fellating PhRMA, and shitcanning those programs that actually give the hard-luck cases a shot at playing the economic game at all.

I can't support a Democrat whose antiwar platform is just as mythical as fiscal conservatism. I'll give Barryo some lukewarm credit for an inadequate and scattershot energy plan, but Jesus, these guys market the American way of life as shamelessly as any of them, and you can't squeeze an acknowledgement of unsustainable military, economic or land-use models out of a damn one of them, not in a way that actually informs policy. Just like the Republicans, they won't do those things because it's not in their business interests.

So anyway, based on their stunning inadequacy, made particularly obvious since 2006, I'm meekly registering a protest vote. I for one welcome our kooky, rainbow overlords.

I apologize for the political screed.

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