It recently dawned on me that there was a larger election going on than just the presidential race. Arguably, none of the other races matter as much or have as much opportunity to directly influence your life and the health of the country over the next few years, but they deserve some attention as well.
I thought I’d share my election day philosophy with regard to these other races. It’s not how I typically choose candidates. I usually select carefully based on the individual’s merits, ideas, and relevant track records. But not this year. This year I am using my votes to send larger messages.
Message 1: To the NYS Legislature
You are a supremely disfunctional organization incapable of managing probably the most important task before you – the state budget. Year on year you demonstrate incomprehensible incompetence. Albany needs an enema. If you are an incumbent, you lose.
Message 2: To the Republican Party
Where have you gone? I used to laud Republican ideals of small government, fiscal conservatism, and “big stick” foreign policy. (Granted, your desire to encroach on my personal rights and sacrifice the environment for corporate interests were always disquieting, but those tendencies could be kept in check.) The Neo-Cons have transformed you into something I no longer recognize, no longer respect, and often fear. You have become masters of political marketing. You have constituted leadership by preying on the emotions and passions of those who would be sheep. You make policy for it’s political advantage alone.
While I recognize that the Neo-Con transformation is largely a national party happenstance, I need to get your attention. And that will only happen by influencing the local branches of the party. No Republicans will get my vote this year, regardless of their qualifications.
And finally, some advice on the presidential race. If you vote for Nader, you are an idiot. He is not electable. Given how close the presidential race is likely to be, voting for Nader is simply choosing to not vote. There have never been two more dichotomous candidates in a race for president. Pick one.
While you’re choosing, consider that presidents should not be chosen because they are tall or Christian or you like their wife and kids. Nor should they be chosen based on ideological issues which are largely outside the purview of the Oval Office such as homosexuality, religion, abortion, or stem cell research. There are ample substantive issues on which to base your decision. Frankly, it comes down to two of them: The war in Iraq. The economy. Boil it down to a handful of questions. Are you glad we went to Iraq? Are you proud of that? And to paraphrase Mr. Reagan during his campaign, are you better off than you were 4 years ago? Answer those questions, your choice should be clear.