Monday, November 03, 2008

Get Out There. Vote Already

Anyone who reads this blog knows my politics, which I like to classify as rationalist-progressive, perhaps known to those on the far right as Godless Commie. ;-)

Regardless of whether you've agreed with me in the past, regardless of whether or not we think each other are idiots for our worldviews, you should know that we stand at a tipping point in history, and this presidential (and both representative and senatorial) election will at the very least point us in whatever direction we are going to be headed for at least the next two years. 2004 seemed like a pretty important election, but the one we're facing now is even bigger. 

I'm a big advocate of free speech, but a bigger advocate that everyone should vote, and do so in an informed and aware way. If you are one of those people who think that Obama's first act will be to forcibly convert the entire country to Islam, I really can't help you and (along with those who think that Republicans eat their young) to be honest, you are the reason that the founding fathers created a representative democracy rather than a more direct form. 

For the rest of you, get out there and vote. Conservative and depressed because it's increasingly clear that McCain's going to lose? There are still a ton of other reasons to vote, not the least of which are the local measures on your ballot, most of which are written by insane people, but you still need to vote on them. Hate both of the folks running for Senate in your state (like we do in Oregon - I never need to see another ad against either Merkley or Smith again in my lifetime)? Close your eyes, pick one out of a hat, and vote. 

Think the War of Northern Aggression did more damage to the US Constitution (not the ship, the document) and that it wasn't about slavery? Vote. 

And in about 36 hours, it will all be over except for the wailing and gnashing of teeth. Assuming, of course, that the angry white people unleashed by Sarah Palin don't try something crazy, or (much less likely) every African-American decides that this country really *will* do anything to keep the black man down. It is at that point that every one of us, crazy or no, must take a very deep breath, hold in our bile and/or jubilation and/or frustration, and realize that we are in such deep doo-doo that it no longer matters what party you belong to. Because it's time to stop screwing around and start fixing the mess we're in, starting with the climate and working our way down from there. So no complaining. No one cares what the tax rate is if Manhattan is under water. 

See you in 36...


Greg W said...

Voted and am now waiting to exhale. In the meantime time for some games.

Matthew said...

Everyone should vote today, and more than that, should participate vigorously in our democracy after the election for whatever issues they feel strongly about. A functioning democracy requires more civic engagement than a couple hours every two to four years.

My top issue has been energy independence, particularly since 9/11. It touches and requires reform on everything from tax and foreign policy to education and climate change. Despite huge required investments, done properly it will yield benefits to both our economy and our environment. Importantly, it’s an issue people of all political stripes should be able to get together on; even xenophobic right-wingers can and should applaud any activities that decrease our reliance on foreign sources of energy.

Having devoted more than a thousand dollars and a hundred hours to Obama’s campaign, (mostly during the primaries as I felt the Democrats could field a cabbage against any Republican contender this cycle and still win), I expect to feel a sense of relief at the end of the day along with some satisfaction for my tiny part in Obama’s victory. But I am clear-eyed; oceans of time-release deficits will prevent him from delivering on even half of what he’s promised and I expect we’ll discover that Obama’s belief in “clean” coal is not only about winning states like Ohio and Pennsylvania. I will take time to celebrate, but rationalist-progressives should not exhale after today; we all need to hold the Dem’s feet to the fire to get the kind of changes that will heal this country and our planet.

I just got back from two weeks in Paris. The entire world is waiting to celebrate this election result with us. They are largely willing to forgive us for the last eight years and look at us again with new eyes. They want America’s leadership on issues that will require global cooperation to solve.

I’m off to the suburbs to canvass with my mom. Not because Oregon’s EVs , much less the election, is in doubt, but because I want to participate. I look forward to the smiles at my regalia, the thumbs up, and the confirmations: “already voted!”