I recently had an email exchange with a fellow liberal who is in the process of vetting the Democratic candidates for disqualifiers w.r.t. her personal list of priorities. I am tired of listening to people seek for reasons NOT to vote for a particular Democrat and told her to "hold her nose and just vote"!
The exchange started with a query to me about Ron Paul and how he only seems reasonable because (to quote her):
"how many right wing assholes has Bush turned into decent people by bulldozing over the limit of asshole behavior?"
After that our conversation turned into a list of reasons she couldn’t vote for one particular candidate or another – always finding something that she just couldn’t support and asking how I felt. My first response was:
I really don’t know what I think right now. The only thing I know I want is a NON-Republican – I don’t really care who. I like the idea of a woman in the office and Hillary probably has the best organization. Edwards would probably do the most to undo the damage the Bush admin has done to actual working people (erosion of benefits, loss of real wages, health care, etc.), but I think he’s probably too "left"-ish for mainstream ‘merika. Obama sounds good until you start listening really close. Nobody else has a real chance – so I’m not going to fixate on someone who matches what I want all the way down the line. I know that’s not going to happen, so I’ll hold my nose and vote for the not-Republican – whoever it winds up being.
I know it’s good to stick to your ideals, but that’s what the re-thugs count on. Spread enough confusion about your opponents and you can fragment the opposition enough to get your man in office. They hold their noses and vote their party in – dems need to do the same this time or we won’t have a constitution at all in 4 years!
Her response to this was:
"I didn't think about that - but I personally would rather not vote than vote for somebody that actively promotes what I think is very wrong."
And then listed all the "reasons" why she couldn’t vote for most of the leading Dems. I won’t get into the specifics, but I’ve heard listed in one comment / diary at some point on DailyKOS.
My ultimate response was:
OK, just remember while you’re keeping your vote "pure" – you will be enabling another for years of hell. People like Rove depend on this and fan that seed of doubt – that "one thing" that gets publicized that caused you to stay home – that gets their puppet in place.
They did this last election by finding the "one thing" that would motivate the fundy base no matter what: fear of fags. Black religious leaders just jumped in bed with white southern racists and far right bigots of all stripes just because of the homo hatred. And not enough reasonable people voted against this obscenity because it wasn’t important to them. Kerry was, after all a "flip-flopper" / "fake war hero" / "lib-rul" / "snob" / etc. (pick one...), so they were completely justified, right?
All of us in the "reality based community" (as opposed to the freak-show shadow "reality" Rove creates) need to get off our collective asses and caste our votes against this sort of cynical manipulation next cycle. I don’t care if he or she doesn’t match everything on your check list. It may be our last chance to do so... EVERY VOTE COUNTS (except in Florida ... or Ohio ... or any place Diebold voting machines are in place...).
My point applies to everyone here: If you don’t vote for whoever is chosen as the Democratic candidate – you voting for their opponent, no matter how you rationalize your position. Shut up / hold your nose / whatever it takes and !
"<"/rant">" OK, I’m better now – back to herding cats at a new house construction site I’m supervising. Thank you for listening...