Monday, November 01, 2004


With the Big Day o’ National Enfranchisement looming, some final thoughts on why I will vote for Kerry:

First, Bush’s presidency has been an economic disaster. Under his administration, the economy has tanked (yes, I know it was starting to happen during Clinton’s run, but that’s not the point. Under Clinton, the economy had had the longest sustained run of growth ever. An adjustment was inevitable) and jobs are streaming overseas. Bush responded with a tax cut. Not a one-shot tax cut for stimulus, but a permanent one with the greatest benefits in the higher brackets. Look, I know that the wealthiest among us pay the highest dollar amount in taxes. I don’t mind if they get some relief...but we no longer have a budget surplus, and so lower taxes only serve to put our children in debt up to their ears. We now have humongous deficits, and they’re getting bigger by the day.

On environmental issues, Bush has done his damnedest to weaken environmental protections and give corporations a free pass to dump more arsenic in our water and mercury in our air.

On church-and-state separation, Bush has presided over a frightening encroachment of government on religion - and vice versa. Faith-based initiatives sound like a good idea, but they're really just a way to funnel government money to churches. And if you start mixing the two, the results begin to get unpleasant, especially when you’re not part of the majority religious culture.

On the matter of reproductive choice, a woman’s right to choose is under threat, with several critical Supreme Court appointments looming in the next few years. In addition, the shortsighted and foolish hyperemphasis of this administration on abstinence-based sex education, and its unwillingness to fund the efforts of population control organizations unless they cleanse abortion from their slate of offered options, has actually resulted in an increase in the number of abortions nationwide, and in the level of human misery worldwide.

George W. Bush was elevated in the eyes of the nation after his unexpectedly Presidential performance in the immediate wake of the 9/11 atrocities. In the three years since then, he has smashed the Taliban (good) but allowed himself to get sidetracked in a bloody war that has no immediate bearing on the struggle against terrorism. More to the point, his decision to prosecute this war with poor advance planning, no exit strategy or nation-building rubric, and inadequate materièl and personnel support bespeaks a reckless mind unconcerned with consequences. Saddam was evil, but he was hemmed in on all sides by regimes that distrusted and hated him. He was contained...and today’s insurgents are not. Meanwhile, the brief period of international goodwill and empathy following 9/11 has been squandered.

But the most important reason to vote against Bush is that he is a “true believer” who surrounds himself with like-minded people. Dissent is not tolerated. Compare this to John Kerry, who engages those who disagree with him in this piece I found at Ethel the Blog:

Charles Pierce: THIRTY DAYS OUT
Day 1 -- November 1, 2004

...It occurred to me over the weekend that I haven’t given a good reason why I will vote for John Kerry, and why I would vote for him even if he were running against, say, John McCain. (And even if McCain still had a political soul, which I’ve come to doubt.) Once, in Iowa, Kerry dropped in on a group of Vietnam veterans. Some of them liked him. Some of them didn’t, largely because of the whole VVAW thing. (And, trust me, this was my first beat at the Boston Phoenix, and I discovered that the politics within the various Vietnam veteran’s groups were desperate and bloody.) Kerry dismissed the staff, locked the door, blew off the rest of the schedule, and sat there and talked and argued with these guys until they were all exhausted. He wanted to talk to the people who disliked him more than he wanted to talk to anyone else. He gave them the respect of open debate.

Imagine the incumbent doing that. Imagine him sitting down in a room where half the people truly loathe him and everything he stands for, him and his ticket-only rallies, and his coddling staff, and his use of the Secret Service as cheap sidewalk bouncers. Imagine him hearing them out, debating them, giving them the respect of his knowledgeable disagreement. It is inconceivable. One can more easily imagine C-Plus Augustus’s flapping his arms and flying to the top of the Washington Monument. Imagine that “character” is even at issue between these two men.

Somebody who was there in Iowa told me that story, and told me I couldn’t use it, but that’s too damn bad today. I am voting for John Kerry because it is a time for serious people who are strong enough in their heart to listen to anger and slander and calumny and to respond to it, not with the tinny bombast of an unearned office, and not with the cheesy legerdemain of concocted eminence, but with the strength to stay long enough to try to redeem it...
So there you have it. In three paragraphs, good reason to vote against George W. Bush. And for John Kerry.

But however you choose to vote, VOTE.

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