Okay, this is rather funny......my current status message on Facebook, as of last night, is as follows:

Kagen is hoping that civilization will prevail over lies and humanity move forward tomorrow -- voting for Obama as if my future depended on it.     (10 hours ago)

I had no idea whatsoever until I heard it on the The Daily Show that Obama had, in his 'closing argument' speech just the other day, used the climactic clause "work like our future depends on it."  

I know that it does...I wish I'd been able to get more done, more said in terms of getting out the word of what I see and know to be true about this campaign and this moment in time.  I don't see how people can actually still be undecided at this point, and if they are...well, let's just hope they can't make up their minds to get to the polls.  And I can only pity those who are so vision-impaired by the wool (or milfy hockey-mom, or religious dogma) over their eyes that they can't see what this country really needs and deserves after eight years of the Bush regime, financial elitism and regressive culture-warfare.

Yes, I am an idealist, and I think that this nation is heavily populated this election year with idealists like me, who are aware of our domestic and global society's problems and have long been waiting for a chance to be actively part of the solution -- in a way that doesn't just involve shopping and maintaining consumer confidence, mind you. 

This is the most participatory I have seen American democracy in my lifetime, and I'm damn glad of it.  Creating a better world and a better future together? -- yes, emphatically yes.  I want the grassroots to rise and topple the trickle-downs and fact-twisting gladhanders and smiling, smiling villains who have no regard for truth or decency.  Not to mention to quell and humble the torch-and-pitchfork-wielding crowds of the late-stage McCain-Palin campaign rallies, an accumulation of real live vitriol and hatred that outstrips anything ever rhetorically thundered from the pulpit by the Reverend Jeremiah Wright.  The difference in energy between rallies (not to mention the national conventions) has been immense -- and the dominant vibe of the Republican events, like it or not, has been hate and meanspiritedness, and the communal hope not of achieving some positive dream but of crushing down the dreams and aspirations of others in order to defend the status quo as permanently as possible.  I have been feeling this all along and it makes me more certain than ever that this is a pivotal moment for the United States, in which we must decide what sort of a nation we want to be: one of social principles or one of self-defensive materialism -- one of humanism and cooperation or one of militaristic paranoia -- one of truth and responsibility or one of sanctioned deception and the ends used and warped to justify the basest means (let alone all the ends that a "President Palin" would seek under sanctimonious cover...).  This is our chance to regain the high road and salvage our honour among nations, and to be again (and possibly as never before) "government of the people, by the people and for the people."

And so no, I'm not putting this under a cut despite its length and politicality, because I want people to take this election seriously and not just as another day, same-old, whatever, business as usual, see-ya-when-it's-all-over.  I know this is a crucial point in history, and I'm not going to downplay its significance and potential consequences.   Hell, they've got Christian-cultural-conservative "prayer warriors" fixing their invocations on defeat for Obama / victory for Palin-And-McCain-Too -- so why not pull out all the stops on our wills and put them where our hopes are? 

Or, to coin a phrase, put your mana where your mouth is, my fellow Americans -- and be sure that you've exercised your civic power and voted by this day's end.  Even if you don't get a free coffee or ice cream scoop out of it.

I suppose it's about time I got political and stated exactly why I'm for Obama over Clinton, seeing as others have been having their say openly. I'm usually not that open about what I'm in favour of so much as what I'm against, but in this case I can explain both -- to my mind, Barack Obama shows a deep-seated drive of public service, while Hillary Clinton shows a deep-seated drive of ambition, pure and simple. Her main selling point is that she is a woman (rather than making the detail as little of an issue as possible, considering that the voting population is kinda split fifty-fifty there and one needs to deal with both halves fairly) -- and as for being a Democrat, I barely even see how she qualifies to be on the left of the aisle. Forcing people to buy health insurance is not the same thing as "achieving universal health insurance", for example, especially when one talks of garnishing wages as penalty (and when one has close corporate backing in the pharmaceutical industry)....and if, as Lurkitty excellently pointed out, Hillary shares in the presidency of Bill in professional experience as well as in political reputation, then why would I vote for the life partner of a man who advised John Kerry that if he wanted to be successful in running for the White House he ought to set his campaign platform against gay rights?

More of my argument... )
People keep talking about the gender issue and the race issue swaying people predictably and irrationally -- but really, how predictable is it? Obama isn't just black, afterall, and the way that people respond to both candidates is not just reducible to which traits define them most strongly. Some people do think that simplistically -- some don't. And if I, by this time in my life, didn't think long and hard about why I was inclined to support people and make sure that it wasn't just based on kneejerk identity politics, I'd be a pretty irresponsible voting citizen.

[Adapted (and corrected) slightly from my latest posting at hyperlucidity] --

In Illinois we have an interesting situation for the governor's race, because the dissatisfaction rate is high for both major-party candidates (incumbent governor Rod Blagojevich (D) and state treasurer Judy Baar Topinka (R)...though dissatisfaction is still slightly higher with Topinka than with Blagojevich, even with accusations of cronyism and arranging jobs in return for alleged personal "gifts".

There is a third-party candidate, though -- Rich Whitney (Green Party), whose campaign mailing was extremely persuasive...he also has a campaign website, though I haven't looked it up yet. The question, though, as with many races including the 2000 presidential one, is whether a principled vote for him will wind up being a self-defeating one, taking away from the Democratic side only to bolster the Republican margin.

I'd like to see a Green Party candidate take the governorship in Illinois, but I don't want to see Judy Baar Topinka getting in on account of a split upset (even without taking into account her horrendous 'rich conservative businesswoman' makeup, which looks as if she gets it done at the local embalmer's, I do not like nor trust the woman in the least).  

And I know most people will say the pragmatic thing to do is to vote for the candidate of your choice that you actually think has the best chance of winning (well, except in presidential primaries, where the party votes aren't actually running head-to-head and you *can* safely "throw your vote away" on a conscience-candidate like Dennis Kucinich, as I did in 2004, just to make a point).  

And then some liberal/radical activists are fond of saying that there can never be a good outcome to elections unless people stop choosing the lesser of two evils and go totally third-party....but then, who is it they're preaching to with this message but people who would more likely vote to the left side of the aisle than to the right?

And of course, there's the infamous Nader split of 2000, inconsequential as it may have really been in the final count....

So....my plan is to do some grassroots/guerrilla promotion of Rich Whitney in my area and then watch the polls closely before Election Day to see how the cards lie. In the meantime, though...okay, I do assume you all vote wherever you live, otherwise it'd be pretty silly to be in an online group that deals so much with politics and govermental ethics and constitutionality and all that. So what is a situation you've been in, or followed closely/vicariously, where there was this kind of a decision to be made?--and what did you do (or what would you have done) in order to try and make sure that your vote was not cast in vain--nor your principles abandoned?



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