Pre-Election Musings

Surfing on BlogExplosion, I ran across this post on the Progressive Blog Alliance, asking everyone to post their reasons for supporting John Kerry. Here are my top 3 reasons for opposing George Bush:

1) Ramming through the massive tax cuts at the cost of everything else in the federal budget — education, health care, job training, veteran’s beneits, you name it. The deficit he’s created won’t evaporate when the economy picks up — it’s structural and will cripple the government for years to come, as well as burdening my kids and theirs.

2) Rushing into war with Iraq, driven by pre-existing ideology rather than evidence, and alienating all of our allies in the process.

3) Using all of its power to tilt the regulatory framework in favor of business, with total disregard for the environmental consequences. If you missed this Washington Post story about the proposed regulation they’ve issued on dams, which would let dam owners cut private deals with the Department of the Interior, cutting out the states, tribes and environmental groups, please read it. And then send a comment to oppose the proposed rule (deadline November 8).

Kerry won’t do any of these things, he’s smart, and his voting record in the Senate is consistently progressive.

***

I spent most of yesterday morning going door-to-door for the local Democratic party, putting notices on people’s doorknobs reminding them to vote tomorrow. I’m not sure if it really gets anyone to vote who wasn’t going to, but it keeps me sane to know that I’ve done everything I could. I sort of feel the same way about it as I do about prayer — I don’t believe in a God who changes people’s fates based on the presence or absence of prayer, but I think it’s a valuable thing to do nonetheless.

I’m taking tomorrow off from work. In the morning I’m selling donuts at the elementary school, which is my polling place, raising money for the PTA. We’ve ordered 50 dozen donuts from Krispy Kreme. Then I’ll be doing whatever is needed — probably going door to door again, reminding people to vote and offering rides. And then I’m working the polls until they close. I probably won’t get a chance to blog.

***

I got an email forwarded today that’s from someone volunteering in Florida. He or she wrote:

"My job is to get people to the polls and, more importantly, to keep them there. Because they’re crazily jammed. Crazily. No one expected this turnout. For me, it’s been a deeply humbling, deeply gratifying experience. At today’s early vote in the College Hill district of East Tampa — a heavily democratic, 90% African American community — we had 879 voters wait an average of five hours to cast their vote. People were there until four hours after they closed (as long as they’re in line by 5, they can vote). "Here’s what was so moving: We hardly lost anyone. People stood outside for an hour, in the blazing sun, then inside for another four hours as the line snaked around the library, slowly inching forward. It made Disneyland look like speed-walking. Some waited 6 hours. To cast one vote. And EVERYBODY felt that it was crucial, that their vote was important, and that they were important. "

I’m also moved that people are willing to wait that long — I keep thinking of the photos of the people waiting to vote in South Africa that first year — but am concerned that it’s necessary. I’d love to hear reports tomorrow about how long people wait in different areas; if you’re reading this, why not post a comment?

***

After reading all the polls, I have no idea who is going to win the election. I’m guessing that we won’t know the winner by Wednesday morning; I’m hoping that it’s because they’re still counting absentee and provisional ballots, rather than because it’s going to be decided in the courts. If it goes to the courts, I think a lot of people are going to doubt the legitimacy of the election, whatever the results. And I think that’s bad for the country.

Also on the Progressive Blog Alliance is a call for mass action to protest in the case of "another stolen election." This worries me deeply — particularly since the coalition calling for protests doesn’t define what constitutes "systematic violations."

As Matt Bai wrote in the New York Times Magazine this weekend,

"Before 2000, most American voters generally viewed the political process in much the same way that avid fans view baseball. Yes, the umpire will blow a call now and then, and the manager will kick some dirt around, and he may even lodge a formal protest that has exactly zero chance of succeeding. But baseball fans come to see most of these incidents as isolated quirks. There is an underlying faith that the umpire is an honest broker and that his inability to gauge fractions of a difference (the milliseconds, say, between the time a ball hits a glove and a foot hits a base) is entirely human. Without this faith — if the umpire, say, wore a Yankee cap in Fenway Park — the game would devolve into pandemonium over every close strike. This is very much like what’s happening in states across the country as Democratic partisans vow to prevent a repeat of the last election. The voting process, once presumed to be a reliable, if fallible, arbiter of the public will, is increasingly seen, even by many more sophisticated voters, as a tainted instrument of partisan conspiracy."

I think this is truly bad for the country. I want Kerry to win, but I think I’d rather see Bush win with 300 electoral votes than see the election disputed in the courts, leaving 40+ percent of the country feeling cheated.

I conclude by pointing out a posting by Robert of Let’s Try Freedom, a conservative blog I found through BlogExplosion. He writes:

"If John Kerry wins, reasonably fair, reasonably square, then he will become my President and I will support him. That doesn’t mean I won’t fight him like the devil on all the many, many things he will do that are wrong and bad; I will. That doesn’t mean I won’t criticize him ferociously and with a partisan growl; I will.

But I won’t declare that he is an illegitimate leader.

I won’t undermine him in front of the national leaders that he has to relate to in order to do his job.

I won’t call him President-Select Kerry if the Supreme Court has to intervene, again, to keep the electoral machinery moving.

I won’t print up bumper stickers in 2008 saying Re-Unelect Kerry.

I won’t, in short, do any of the things that the nauseating anti-Bush left has done in the last four years. I did that stuff with Clinton, and now that I’ve grown up a little bit, and now that I’ve seen what it looks like when the other side does it to my guy, and now that they’ve held up a mirror, it’s a little bit sickening, and I’m more than a little bit ashamed."

I’ll sign onto the converse of that.

One Response to “Pre-Election Musings”

  1. Chris Says:

    http://www.stoptheinternet.org/2004/11/stop-internet-voters-guide.aspx
    Stop the Internet Voter’s Guide
    Just a few tips for those that are new to the process, and want to make sure that they’re voice is heard. :-)
    -Chris

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