Wednesday, May 28, 2008

"I'm Mad as Hell..."

Echoing John McCaslin this morning:
"I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel's work, banks are going bust ... and there's no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat ... as if that's the way it's supposed to be. We know things are bad -- worse than bad. They're crazy. It's like everything everywhere is going crazy ...

"I want you to get mad! I don't want you to protest. I don't want you to riot -- I don't want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the depression and the inflation ... all I know is that first you've got to get mad. You've got to say, 'I'm a human being ... My life has value!'

"So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, 'I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!' " - Howard Beale, Network (1976)

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Why I'm Voting for Bob Barr for President in 2008

This shouldn't be much of a surprise to anybody with whom I've talked politics recently. I was a vocal supporter of Ron Paul and voted for him in the Ohio Republican Primary. I have been conservative/libertarian in my policital views for quite some time now, and I learned a hard lesson in 2004 about voting against someone (John Kerry) instead of voting on principle. I make no excuses about voting for George W Bush in 2000. While I had some questions about just how conservative Bush really was, he certainly had every appearance of being so, particularly when juxtaposed against Al Gore. I maintain that a Gore presidency would have been nothing short of disastrous, especially following the 9/11 attacks.

I gave Bush the benefit of the doubt after a rocky but decent first term. He had already shown signs of what was to come though, and his second term has been an unmitigated disaster. The political spine he showed to the world following the 9/11 attacks apparently disappeared when it came to special interests and lawbreakers within our own borders. His support of amnesty for illegal immigrants, his recent pandering to the perpetrators of the Manmade Global Warming Hoax, and his willingness to increase the size of government (and worse, the amount of my money they spend) with reckless abandon showed him to be a fraud of a conservative.

I will not make the same mistake with John McCain. McCain may be "strong on defense" and an "opponent of wasteful government spending," but his McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law was patently unconstitutional, his support of amnesty for illegals was indefensible, and his tendency to be a maverick and join liberal causes simply doesn't make him trustworthy. He is a centrist, not a conservative. He proclaims a few central conservative values...sanctity of life, sanctity of marriage, need to reform and scale back government spending...but he is so very weak in supporting them. He's simply another member of the establishment who is enjoying his turn.

I quite honestly thought in elections past that it was reasonable to vote for the lesser of two evils because of the dangers posed by the greater of the two evils. Perhaps I was correct that electing the lesser avoided catastrophe...or at least postponed it. Now that I've seen more clearly the general direction this country is headed in, and seen a party I had supported because of its conservatism fail to distinguish itself from liberals by abandoning its values left and right, I can't but vote strictly on principle. Expediency is nothing more than the compromise of one's principles for a perceived short term gain, and it always ends up costing you in the long run. No matter that I fear what damage an Obama or Clinton presidency, coupled with Democratic control of Congress and in view of upcoming Supreme Court appointments, could do to this nation; I cannot reward a party who fails to stay securely moored to its principles by continuing to give them the consent of my vote.

It is probably no coincidence that I write this while in the midst of reading David McCullough's John Adams, in so doing recounting the circumstances of the birth and infancy of our nation. However, these are thoughts which have continually stirred within me for the better part of the last several years as I've watched our nation descend into wretchedness at an ever-quickening pace. It's not only at the national level or even the state level that I've seen this. I've seen clear signs of it in the rural community in which my family and I live, and in the mid-sized city in which I work. This society is dying...morally, politically and educationally.

So, all this to say that barring an unforeseen turn of events I will be voting for Bob Barr for President this November. I am doing so because I cannot in good conscience vote for ultra-liberal Obama or Clinton, nor can I trust that McCain will be anything other than what he has been: a maverick legislator who has demonstrated a willingness to compromise most of his principles whenever it is convenient. I have no loyalty to the Republican Party as they have shown no loyalty to me as a voter and constituent. Bob Barr is a decent man with whom I agree on the vast majority of issues and who has a track record of sticking to his principles.

Let me say now that I refuse to accept one of the most pervasive lies ever told from one citizen to another: that a vote for candidate X is really a vote for candidate Y because candidate Z is the only one who can beat candidate Y. My vote for Bob Barr will not be a vote for Obama or Clinton; it is a vote for Bob Barr. I will not be throwing away my vote, I will be casting it for the person I feel best suited to the job.

And it WILL make a difference.