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I’ve Cast My Vote and I’m Proud

I voted yesterday. It took about an hour and I read "How to Save Capitalism" in Harper's as I inched closer to the door every couple of minutes. I was one of those people who didn't decide until the last minute who she was going to vote for. But it's not the way it sounds. I was one of those people who just might get into that privacy cubby, as it were, and not be able to bring myself to vote for a man who is . . . who is . . . . Well, that's not the way it sounds, either.

The fact is, I cast my vote for the people I believe understand what is really wrong with this country. I voted for the people who have been working for justice and who aren't afraid to do what is right in the face of corporate America and who in fact want to do away with corporate socialism (and corporate personhood). I voted for the people who (still) want to impeach Bush and Cheney. I voted for the people who want solar energy rather than nuclear energy. I voted for the people who want to withdraw from Iraq. Rapidly. For real.

I've said, jokingly, that if McCain wins I'd move to Switzerland. My husband, of course, reminds me of our plunging property value, not to mention nearly-worthless dollar, and the reality that we can't afford to move to Switzerland even if we wanted to. But they're onto something over yonder, and it's not all about clocks and watches. The man I voted for for President realizes that and wants us as people to have similar ability to change laws with a national vote.

The people I voted for want equal rights for gays, lesbians, women and people with disabilities. The people I voted for want to make demands of the Chinese government with regard to its genocide against the Tibetan people. I voted for the people who want two-state solution for peace in the Middle East. I voted for the people who think education is for everyone, as is healthcare, and the government should provide both to its citizens. I voted for the people who believe in a living wage.

I voted for Ralph Nader (again) and Matt Gonzalez, and I'm proud.

Contrary to popular belief, a vote for Nader/Gonzalez is a vote for Nader/Gonzalez. Even in Florida. It's not a vote for McCain/Palin.

I had no strategy. In this, what I keep hearing is possibly the most important election of my lifetime, when I live in one of the few states where the election has not been determined, I did what I was supposed to do as an American. I voted, not for the lesser of two evils, not against a candidate for President or Vice President (though that was most tempting), but for the candidates I believe in and the ideas and action they stand for.

If Barack Obama loses, it won't be because of me. It'll be because though he was different, the differences between him and McCain simply weren't compelling enough for someone who thinks it's time for more than change. It's time for revolution.

19 Comments Post a comment
  1. Violet #

    You could not have summed up my only feelings any more accurately. As far as I'm concerned Obama is far, far, far too conservative to lead this country where I feel it needs to go.

    October 21, 2008
  2. Nick #

    I'm glad that you cast your vote in the spirit of democracy. I am voting for Nader as well, for the same reasons. I agree that a vote for Nader/Gonzalez is not a vote against anyone. Obama could have our votes if he wanted them. He'd just have to come out in favor of issues we care about.

    October 21, 2008
  3. Good for you. As I was reading that, I was really hoping you weren't going to tell us you voted for Democrats which seemed less and less likely as I read on.

    October 21, 2008
  4. "Contrary to popular belief, a vote for Nader/Gonzalez is a vote for Nader/Gonzalez. Even in Florida. It's not a vote for McCain/Palin.

    "If Barack Obama loses, it won't be because of me. It'll be because though he was different, the differences between him and McCain simply weren't compelling enough for someone who thinks it's time for more than change. It's time for revolution."

    Thank you for that 🙂

    I voted for Nader in 2000 and '04, and plan on voting for McKinney this year. Already I'm bracing myself for the backlash from progressives and Dems, after McCain steals the election and the third-party voters become the scapegoats.

    Yeah, I'm a cynic.

    October 21, 2008
  5. Bea Elliott #

    Bravo Mary… you said the "r" word! Indeed only a Revolution is going to turn things around – Obama will only delay the inevitable, with different policies. That's not really about "change" at all.

    October 21, 2008
  6. Bea Elliott #

    It's one thing to support Nader… another to support McCain – But to "protest" Obama in this fashion is most disturbing:

    October 21, 2008
  7. bunny #

    I voted for Nader in 2000, not knowing the consequences. I was vehemently against both Gore and Bush. And from reading books about the Bush family, I already knew Bush was a major ignorant a-hole coming from a long line of a-holes, but I was an idealist about the vote. I believed that every vote counts and that each person has a responsibility to vote for the candidate they believe in their heart of hearts to be the best suited for the job, regardless of ANYTHING else.

    No longer. At any other time in past US history…yes. Not now. Not after the rape of two elections. If my vote actually ends up counting by some miracle, it's going to the only person who *may* be able to beat the worst proponents of evil. This is not about the lesser of two evils. It's a race between someone who may be able to turn things around in a positive direction (even if it's just a little) and two people (Boris and Natasha) who will cause exponentially more grief, poverty, loss of freedoms (and on and on) to the populace. I voted idealistically back in 2000 before US citizens lost all that they have in terms of democracy and freedom.

    I vote not for myself. I vote for those people who will be be even further affected by the evil policies of the "neo-con mavericks." Those who are losing or have lost their homes. Those (Americans AND Iraqis) who have lost loved ones or will lose loved ones in the wars. Those who are standing in the unemployment lines or living paycheck to paycheck. My best friend who is just barely making ends meet and dealing with issues I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy — issues that are deep-rooted in the actions of our current government. I won't be a sellout for myself (if that is what I am). I will be a sellout for them, if it means their lives will be changed a little for the better. That is how I feel at the moment. If I can help it, I will not give these people McCain/Palin simply because of my idealist fantasy that Nader be president.

    Revolution? The majority of sheeple in America can't even get off their fat lazy asses to buy a healthy meal rather than sitting in their car eating McDonalds after work. Do you really think that they are going to get off their fat lazy asses to fight for their rights?! For the past eight years they have been spoon-fed lies that they gobble down without a second thought. There is an ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor. Many of those who have been affected the most the past eight years are just trying to survive. And many of the ones who actually DO care about what is happening, don't have the energy or time to stand up and make a difference – the kind of difference you are referring to. They are working hard, sometimes two jobs, to pay for their families. It will have to be people like you and me and others on this blog who initiate the revolution. And are you ready to do that? "Revolution" is an easy term to just throw out there casually. If one believes "revolution" is absolutely the only way for change to occur, why bother voting anyway? Why not get busy inciting this revolt that needs to happen? Are we waiting for others to do it?

    I thought about moving to Canada for a long time. But one day, sooner than we think, it will be merged into one entity with America and Mexico, so what's the point of moving there. And, anyway, they've got a president who bows down to Bush. Switzerland is an interesting choice.

    In any case, I do respect anyone who follows through with what their heart tells them to do. You followed your truth, Mary, and I respect that. I wish Nader was the most popular choice for America. But he will fail. And on the flip side of the coin, just as you said if McCain wins it will not be because of your vote — if Nader loses, it is not because I voted for Obama. It will be because the Republicans have yet again raped another election, and if not that, it will be because the electoral system, campaign finance, and two-party politics desperately need reforms.

    October 21, 2008
  8. Davedrum #

    I just wanted to say that was a wonderful post bunny. I agree with all you had to say. Can we as "the people" bring about both revolution and change? Perhaps. . . But it will take much more than a newly elected leader. It will take all of us that truly want and need a change. Change can and will only happen when people finally stand up and ask for the changes we all need and want. I too will vote for the one i believe is on the right path. It's not my path. . . The one i follow with my own heart and passion, but it's a change that "may" be able to help those that truly need it right now (like your best friend). . . Help those that need it right now, help those that are good at their very core, help those that need it and will work for it. Not the oil companies and the other corporations. . . that do not "trickle down" their profits with the tax breaks they recieve. . . Not the ones that take huge paychecks while they lay off employees so they can see their own stock (and personal wealth) tick up because the company will save more money (which is the reason most big public companies lay off thousands). I'm not sure what it will take to bring about the change we need. . . But i do know that it take "we the people" and not just our elected officials to make it happen. It will take personal sacrifice with friend helping friend and most of all those less fortunate. True "change" starts at the bottom. . . Not at the top. I sincerely believe that. Have we hit bottom yet? It's scary to think not. . . -david (sorry for any errors. . . I typed this on my cell phone)

    October 21, 2008
  9. I’m sure I preferred Nader’s positions over Gore’s 99 times out of 100 and, like a lot of people, I think both major parties are lackeys for the corporations, but I’m glad I voted for Gore. If Gore had won the election instead of the current president, Iraq never would have been invaded. And that alone is enough to convince me to always vote for the lesser of two evils.

    October 21, 2008
  10. Deb #

    I'm still pretty undecided. VA has a chance of going for Obama, which would be the first time VA would be blue in like 20 years. I do feel like I'm deciding whether to vote based on my fear of palin in dc (I'd have to find religion and pray for the good health of mccain), or vote for a candidate that sounds like someone I'd expect good things of.

    I think I'm actually too cynical to believe that even Nader would do good things if he got in office, no matter how good his platform sounds.

    And I'm not sure my vote would matter anyway, since tptb seem remarkably adept at fixing elections.

    October 21, 2008
  11. Nick #

    I disagree with David that Iraq never would have been invaded had Gore been elected. There were bombings and sanctions under Clinton–it's not as if the Democrats are any more peaceful. Gore probably would have invaded Iraq, or some other country that challenged the "free market," for exactly the same reasons: opening the markets to foreign investment, so that we can exploit the people and plunder the resources. Democrats got us into WWI, WWII, Vietnam, NAFTA, and plenty of other terrible things.

    On the other hand, if Nader had been elected in 2000, I can say with certainty that 9/11 would never have happened since he was the only candidate who promised to put locks on all cock-pit doors for passenger safety.

    October 21, 2008
  12. the world war I flying bunny #

    "There are three things I've learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and The Great Pumpkin."

    Words of wisdom. Linus knew his shit. I'm never discussing The Great Pumpkin ever again. 🙂

    October 22, 2008
  13. Bea Elliott #

    The Great Pumpkin, religion and politics are certainly not things most people like to bring up in social debate. We all know everyone would much rather discuss the subject of animal murder and flesh eating. Now there's a topic open to discussion by all – (please insert sarcastic smiley here).

    October 22, 2008
  14. Davedrum stop all that banging, you're giving me a headache #

    I've got a "white supremacist" pumpkin that in a way, covers all three. . . Religion, politics, and it's a great pumpkin too! 🙂 (i really do have a white pumpkin. . . So hopefully i offended none with my bad taste and humor).

    October 22, 2008
  15. Bunny, as for the long list of people on whose behalf you say you're going to vote (and I've heard plenty of others make that argument too) — have you asked them who they want you to vote for? Not that I think they'd all say the same thing, but…

    I'm unemployed, deep in debt, expect that I'll be homeless in the spring. That makes me one of your people, right? How'd a white male college grad with a genius IQ get there in a system which is designed for his success? Because I've lived over 50 years in a society which has always disgusted me, have always tried to have as little to do with it as possible, and I'm increasingly weary of playing the game and unable to do the faking I need to do to survive in it. I'm ashamed to be part of it, and frankly part of what I feel is a huge sense of relief that I'm probably almost done with it.

    The Democrats are never going to change that society. So unless you want to pick up a gun for the revolution (which I'd be willing to do if there were any remote possibility of success against the government/corporations — revolution is as American as you can get after all, but it was a much fairer battle back then), the best thing you can do within the political system is to stop supporting it by voting for either of the two parties which live off it/us.

    Personally, I think that energy, food, overpopulation, and ecological issues are going to collapse the whole house of cards this century and kill off a good chunk of us and that will be a better solution than voting or revolution. But in the meantime, I'll be voting for Nader. I wish you would too, or any other "3rd" party of your choice.

    October 22, 2008
  16. kim #

    I think Palin changed the landscape this year. That woman is so radically against animals and the environment that it's now about voting against, rather than voting for. It's disappointing that hasn't proven obvious among animal advocates here.

    October 22, 2008
  17. Dan #

    I’ve never been a single-issue voter in my life until I went vegan and became involved in animals rights. Since then (over 5 years ago), I haven’t voted once. It’s not that I don’t think other issues are important – they are. But there is no other issue as important as animal rights and widespread veganism that has been so completely ignored by politicians and political progressives in the history of the world. As a result, I have recently vowed to never cast a vote in this country for anyone, federal, state, or local, who does not embrace veganism as a moral imperative in our modern industrial society.

    What is interesting here is the question, “Does my vote matter?” Most people would laugh at the idea that my refusal to vote on the grounds that no politician’s platform adequately addresses animal rights would have any influence on any politician. And they would be right – such an idea is absurd. But of course, that is tantamount to saying that my vote/view doesn’t statistically or politically matter, period – a statement I would have to agree with as an irrefutable mathematical fact. So, since my vote/view doesn’t matter, statistically or politically, it doesn’t matter whether or not I vote from a pragmatic standpoint. From a principled (non-pragmatic) standpoint, I would vote, but I have no legitimate options available.

    It is vegan education that I focus my efforts on; not politics. Once we get enough vegans in our population of eligible voters (whether or not they vote), politicians will seek out our vote.

    October 22, 2008
  18. bunny #

    Greentangle quote: "…a white male college grad with a genius IQ…"

    Uh…no…you are not one of those people. A white male college grad wasn't exactly at the top of my list of people I had in mind. Though I sympathize with your situation, the mere fact that you are struggling financially does not make you one of "my people," as you put it.

    October 22, 2008
  19. I don't know, bunny, I qualify on several counts of your list if you go back to your post. Are only certain unemployed and homeless people of concern to you? You're only voting, not for yourself, not for all the unemployed and downtrodden unwashed masses, but only for some of them who'll say what a great bunny?

    Personally, I think liberals just like to vote for Democrats so they can feel good about pretending they're helping the poor little people while they go on living their comfortable middle class lives. Please don't make speeches about how you're voting to save others–you're keeping them right where they are.

    October 22, 2008

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