A couple of days ago I had a long conversation with a friend about Barack Obama and the Presidential election. I’ve put the weight of my endorsement and this blog behind Obama. As with any of the Democrats, I agree with his stance on most policies. The friend believes that no matter what their beliefs are, the candidates will always beholden to special interests; and to be sure, the candidates do get a lot of money from special interests. But this is always been the case.
Winning an election takes money and if you have the desire to change things, and if you think you have the ability to do so, then you’ll have to take money from someone to have the chance. I’d like to believe that someone will have the will to not just give the White House away. This may not be the case. Regardless of all the best intentions, yes Obama, or Hillary or whoever may not be effective as a President – but I am going to pick a side. Whoever wins, will have to compromise. They’ll break promises and side with the enemy on some issues, but I won’t give up. Part of our responsibility as citizens, is to take part in the process. We may not like the choices, we may not believe that they have our best interest in mind, but allowing these thoughts to remove us from the process, is the worst thing that can happen.
Another thing that bothers me is refusing to chose a side. It’s not that I don’t believe in being independent, it’s just that in this country, the President will either be a Democrat or a Republican – it won’t be a Libertarian, Green Party, or independent candidate. I don’t care how much money Michael Bloomberg has or how good for the environment Ralph Nader is, they won’t win, and voting for anyone other than one of the two major party candidates is throwing your vote away. If everyone that voted for Ralph Nader in 2000, had instead supported a candidate that had a chance of winning, George Bush would never have been President.
One of the things that defines people that want better, is their divorcing themselves from the system. Liberals and independents can be apathetic – wanting a better political system, better candidates, and better representatives to the point where they refuse to get involved. All the while, the ultra-conservative are insanely committed and have succeeded in moving this country to the right in the vacuum caused by the absence of liberals.
Are you pro-choice? Are you for or against gun rights? Do you want the country out of Iraq? Either party is defined by it’s extremes – who do you hate the least: Michael Moore or Rush Limbaugh? Decide – and then chose a candidate. And then support that candidate, then tell all your friends, and pay attention to the news, and finally go out and vote.
To paraphrase a great movie: The greatest trick the government has ever pulled, was convincing their citizens that their votes don’t matter.