Vote. Accumulated feathers sink the boat

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Nov 05, 2012 Vote. Accumulated feathers sink the boat

For many decades, a huge percentage of registered voters in the United States have not voted even during presidential elections. The reasons are many, including apathy, registering irritation at the candidates and political system by not voting, being busy, and feeling that their vote will not count.

I reply by saying VOTE. Accumulated feathers sink the boat. If you don’t like the slate of candidates for president or other offices, then consider writing in a name of someone else, but vote.

I want to see the two-party stranglehold on American politics ended, but expect not to vote for third parties this election so as to give my vote more meaning for each office up for grabs. In Maryland, where I vote, several state constitutional amendments also are on the ballot.

As to the presidential election, I am not crazy about Obama, seeing him as no better than Bill Clinton, whom I was not crazy about. However, Romney scares me more than Obama about such matters as federal court nominations, with Romney destined to nominate judges who, on balance, are much more hostile to civil liberties than Obama’s picks, both to satisfy his conservative voting base and to reflect his own predilections. I anticipate seeing at least one to two Supreme Court vacancies (Justices Ginsburg and Breyer are advancing in age, with Justice Ginsburg’s health declining over the years, and must not be replaced by those to the right of Justice Kennedy; and Justices Scalia and Kennedy are advancing in years, and are best replaced by justices who on balance are better protectors of the Bill of Rights) and slews of federal circuit and trial court vacancies being filled by the next president. I do not want Romney making those picks.

I also anticipate Romney will be more trigger happy than Obama with militarism. Obama has been no great prize for diplomacy and other peaceful options to war (including the U.S. military’s assassination/drone missile attacks, and warfare in Libya to bring down Qaddafi), but Romney talks more like Rambo than Obama, and is likely to pursue a more bellicose, violent, expensive and jingoistic warfare and foreign affairs approach than Obama.

If Obama wins, I will breathe a partial sigh of relief, and will shrug my shoulders about four more years of a president I am not thrilled about, who has repeatedly violated civil liberties — at least with the war on terrorism — versus civil rights involving anti-discrimination; and who prefers to be the law and order president rather than one who does much to protect the Constitutional rights of criminal defendants. Moreover, the president who has admitted to past cocaine snorting and who is reported to have enjoyed marijuana so much that he would have the car windows rolled up — as a youth in Hawaii — to enjoy the smoke to the further maximum, has even backed down from preventing prosecutions of medical marijuana dispensaries in states where their operations are legal.

If Romney wins, I will acknowledge my role in his victory, with my not having donated a dime to Obama’s re-election effort (out of my refusal this election cycle to play realpolitik when it comes to political donations) and with my not having said much about the campaign other than on my blog.

In modern times alone, such people as China’s Tiananmen Square pro-democracy demonstrators (huge numbers of which were murdered in June 1989 by the Chinese military in response to the protests) and Aung San Suu Kyi (who lived under house arrest for years in Burma, despite her party’s win over the ruling party in government-permitted elections) — and countless lesser-known people — have paid stiff personal and family prices to seek the simple right to vote. It was not long ago that racists in the South inflicted violence on people who encouraged and helped African-Americans to register to vote — and on the African-Americans who sought to register and vote — and today many lawmakers have pushed laws to impose identification requirements on voters that hit legitimate voters who simply do not have such identification (seeing that the United States blessedly still does not require anybody to have nor carry an identification if not driving). Not until the early twentieth century did women win the Constitutional right to vote, much too late in American history, after African Americans won the same Constitutional right much too late.

Vote, and do so with your conscience and as a fully informed voter.

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