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26 Oktober 2004 @ 17:15
Alea jacta est  

I voted yesterday.

It cost me $9.19 to send my absentee ballot by Xpresspost to the Wake County Board of Elections.

I completed the arrow beside the names of John F. Kerry and John Edwards, but this does not mean that I voted for Mr. Kerry or for Mr. Edwards. As the bright pink sheet of paper that came with my ballot helpfully explains, I cast my vote for fifteen people designated by the Democratic Party to serve as electors for the state of North Carolina. I do not know who these fifteen people are. Their names are on file with the secretary of state; I have not looked them up.

The names of the people I actually voted for are not important to me, nor are the names of Mr. Kerry and Mr. Edwards. I already knew how I was going to vote long before Mr. Kerry and Mr. Edwards received the nomination of their party. This is true not because I have any strong allegiance to the Democratic Party, but because there is absolutely no alternative.

Because of the electoral college system, it is extremely unlikely that my vote will have any effect on the outcome of the United States presidential election. Polls taken during the current campaign have consistently indicated that the Democrats will not carry North Carolina, although it is the home state of Mr. Edwards. The last time the Democrats carried North Carolina was in 1976, the year Jimmy Carter was elected president. Mr. Carter defeated Gerald Ford, a man who had never been elected president or vice-president, but who had been appointed to the latter office by a criminal who later resigned in disgrace. (This criminal was never prosecuted for his crimes, because he received a presidential pardon from Mr. Ford.)

The current presidential election campaign, which has been going on for a remarkably long time and will finally end one week from today, has been accompanied by a great deal of discussion on tangential matters of no consequence. Members of the press have commented on the disfluencies of George W. Bush; they have speculated as to what was under his coat during his debates with Mr. Kerry; they have investigated his actions as a member of the National Guard. None of this is of any possible relevance. It does not matter how well or how poorly Mr. Bush's positions are articulated, nor even whether Mr. Bush himself is responsible for their formulation, let alone how Mr. Bush conducted himself as a guardsman. None of this matters, because the positions themselves are unconscionable. Mr. Bush's administration has put forward the doctrine of pre-emptive self-defence, holding that the United States has the right to attack any country it deems even a potential threat. This is unconscionable. Mr. Bush's administration has maintained that various persons taken prisoner in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and even in the United States itself, have none of the due process rights guaranteed to United States citizens by the Constitution of the United States, nor any of the rights guaranteed to prisoners of war by treaties to which the United States is a party. The position of the administration has been that such rights are rights only to the extent that they are specifically granted by constitutions and treaties, the scope of which it construes as narrowly as possible. Mr. Bush's administration refuses to entertain the notion that these rights are enshrined in constitutions and treaties because they are necessary human rights, rather than vice versa. This is unconscionable. Mr. Bush's administration has attempted to amend the Constitution of the United States so as to prohibit any state from granting equal rights to homosexual couples. This, too, is unconscionable; if it sounds less so in juxtaposition with the foregoing observations, this is merely because it has not resulted in the death or torture of any person. It is still completely impossible to justify on any rational or moral grounds. Furthermore, Mr. Bush's administration proposes to despoil a wildlife preserve for the sake of increasing in the short term the supply of a non-renewable resource, and to spend tremendous sums of money in deploying a missile defence system that constitutes an ineffectual defence against an implausible menace. In light of all this, I feel that I have a moral duty to support the only likely means of removing Mr. Bush and his fellows from power.

Mr. Kerry has his flaws. He has been known to waffle, to equivocate, to flip-flop, though these are not the grievous faults Mr. Bush's allies make them out to be. As Mr. Kerry himself has said, it does no good to be consistent if one is consistent and wrong; Mr. Bush has been wrong with astounding consistency. Or, as William Butler Yeats put it:

The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

I am not sure Mr. Kerry is the best, but he is the best we have before us.

So I do not feel that, when I voted, I exercised my right to choose: I had no choice. Nor do I think for a moment that my vote will affect the outcome of the race: it won't. I do not even know the names of those I voted for.

But I voted yesterday, nonetheless.

Nuværende humør: pessimisticpessimistic
w1ldc47w1ldc47 on 27. Oktober, 2004 02:50 (UTC)
I would like for you to take this post out from behind its cut so that anyone happening upon it on someone's friend page is more likely to read it.

I would also like the rest of us to Googlebomb in with the word 'bush'.

Since this is not a malicious Googlebomb, I hereby request permission. May I attempt to start this bomb?
Q. Pheevrq_pheevr on 27. Oktober, 2004 13:46 (UTC)

I've removed the cut.

As for the Googlebombing idea, given the size of A Roguish Chrestomathy's readership, I think it's likely to be more like a Googlesquib. But please feel free to link to this post in any way you think appropriate.

Q. Pheevr: Tieq_pheevr on 29. Oktober, 2004 22:33 (UTC)

I see I'm not the only one thinking about "The Second Coming."

At this point, I can't help wondering whether "mere anarchy" mightn't be an improvement.