My One and ONLY Election Post

(Warning - Long and disjointed post ahead. This post has been "in the works" for over a week now, and each time I try to "improve" it - It tends to get worse. So as to not "bore" you by making the post any longer, or to make it any more confusing - I'm going with it "as-is". Thank you for your understanding, and patience. Please forgive me.)

First, and foremost - I am NOT in any way going to try and influence anyone into voting one way or another. I am not trying to change anyone's mind about their candidate, their political party, or their vote. That is what the nauseating, disgusting, and child-like behavior of the slanderous campaign ads are for.

I will also NOT be spouting off in an uneducated, uninformed , an fanatical tirade for or against any candidate or their political party. That is what covertly slanted and biased news reporting is best at.

Yesterday, I discovered that on election day I am being forced to work an extra half shift - which puts me out of my voting district, at work, and unable to attend my polling place during it's hours of operation. My vote is important to me. It is not only my right, it is my DUTY. Many parents lost their sons, children lost their fathers, wives lost their husbands, and children lost their brothers (over 200 years ago) so that we could be (today) stand proud as a sovereign nation. They were the ones who fought, and died to provide us the rights and freedoms that this country was founded upon, and that we enjoy (or try to enjoy) today - INCLUDING THE RIGHT TO VOTE! I am unable (in good conscious) to not exercise my right (duty) to vote. I have already started the process for absentee voting.

I am not a huge "political" sort of guy. I want to live my life, and be left alone. In return, I will let you live your life, and I will leave you alone. I view MOST of our Federal, SOME of our Sate, and VERY FEW of our local laws as beneficial - I find laws beneficial when they are founded in the most basic and commonly shared worldwide morals (such as murder, theft, and laws protecting children).
On an related note... In a movie I recently watched "The Kite Runner" (which I am sorry to have seen the movie before reading the book), the main character's father, Baba, was talking to his son Amir about right and wrong. He told his son ...

"Now, no matter what the mullah teaches, there is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft... When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal his wife's right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone's right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness... There is no act more wretched than stealing, Amir."

I actually paused the movie to reflect on this quote. I found it very poignant, inspirational, and accurate. I have since told my sons this very same thing.
While some laws are important to an orderly society, I do not believe we need laws dictating every little aspect of living our life. Aspects like how long grass should be kept, how many cars you can have parked in your driveway, what hours you can "legally" have a back-yard recreational campfire, and what not. Most of the ridiculous and "liberty killing" laws come from the lower levels of government.
You can call it what you want, but I maintain a certain level of (perhaps misplaced) "pride" (?) when I commit an act of "civil disobedience". It's nothing significant. Like I said... I keep my backyard rec fire burning "after hours", let my garbage cans sit at the curbside an extra day, I store grass clippings until the quarterly "compost" pick up comes around. I just don't sweat the "small stuff".
I consider myself fiscally conservative, and socially moderate (maybe even just a "wee bit" liberal). I subscribe to the "Give a man a fish, and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime" viewpoint - but I also understand that there are members of our society that (for a number of different reasons) are unable to "fish" even if they are taught. These are the folks that we should (morally) provide for.

Our "two-major-party" system inherently causes us to polarize ourselves to one extreme or the other. You have to choose between "A" or "B". Liberal or Conservative, Left-wing or Right-wing, Democrat or Republican, RIGHT or WRONG. You're either WITH US, or your AGAINST US. (In my book) this is a truly scary way to think. In this day and age, a candidate will not receive a party's endorsement - unless they FULLY subscribe to the party rhetoric.

Given these circumstances, I am unable to (in good conscious) cast a vote toward either of the two major candidates this election. I believe neither candidate (or party) has earned (and therefore do not deserve) my vote.
If you are not going to vote Republican or Democrat, where are you going to vote FOF?
Before I answer that, permit me (if you will) to ask a couple of questions...
- Are you fiscally conservative, and socially liberal?
- Are you socially conservative, but fiscally liberal?
- Do you plan on not voting because neither of the candidate has earned your trust?
- Do you find yourself voting "against" a candidate (as opposed to voting "for" a candidate)?
- Have you ever said (or thought) something like - Why vote? It's not going to make a difference.
- Are you a single topic voter, disagreeing with some significant views of a candidate, but feel like you have to vote for them because you feel strongly about a single viewpoint (like National Healthcare, The War in Iraq, or Roe v. Wade?)
If any of these sound familiar, or maybe you are still "undecided" (as I am) on this year's presidential candidates - perhaps it is time to consider, and educate yourself (as I do) with some of the "Third Party" candidate options!
Some people have told me that by voting "third party" I am "wasting my vote", or that if I vote "third party" it means I am voting for ___________. (The blank space is filled with the candidate for whom I am talking to is NOT voting for... )

It's funny... I have Democrats saying that my third party vote is the equivalent to a vote for McCain, as it is one less vote for Obama, and Republicans saying that my third party vote is the equivalent to a vote for Obama, as it is one less vote for McCain... It all seems so... I dunno... Biased? Which is it? A vote for Obama or McCain.))
Not one single candidate (from ANY party) will match up with my viewpoint 100% of the time. My job (as an educated voter) is to find the candidate (and party) that I feel best represents what is the best for not just me, BUT FOR THIS COUNTRY AS A WHOLE.

To be honest... It is the basics... It is our basic rights, liberties, and freedoms that are at the very core of our beliefs that I feel has made this country so great, and that are in jeopardy. My vote will be cast to the candidate (and party) who I feel will best protect these most basic fundamental rights, liberties and freedoms that this great nation was founded upon.
For those of you who are interested... I am (and will be) spending time between now and the election (or when I absentee vote) checking into both the Libertarian Party, and the Constitution Party. Fundamentally, I consider myself a "Libertarian" - but there are some significant and interesting similarities between the two parties - certainly worth checking into. We shall see...
Wanting to be part of the solution (and not part of the problem), I have put together a list of some of the more noticeable third parties, their candidates (along few independent candidates), and some links you can use to "investigate" their views.

Although I have an interest in two or three candidates, I am in no way endorsing any of these groups (at least at this time).

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Socialist Party - (Also affiliated with the Vermont Liberty Union Party)
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I hope you have found this list to be helpful, or at the very least - interesting. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

I'll be stepping down from my soapbox now, returning to my regularly bland observations of life as The Father of Five!

8 comments:

  1. I avoid election posts like the plague being that there is so much hate and discontent associated with this election(which seems to have gone on and on and on even longer than that song at the end of "Titanic"!) but this post is a good one because you make some very good points.

    I have always believed that if you don't exercise your right to vote then you had better not ever exercise your right to complain about the government. You are right in that many, many people over the years gave their lives to give us this right and we're beyond foolish if we don't use it.

    Luckily I'm off on Election Day (at least from Job #1, I'll be at Job #2 but that's only six hours) so I will most definitely be at the polls casting my vote whether it's the right one in other people's eyes or not.

    Oh, and as far as the Two-Party system goes - it needs to go in my own humble opinion!

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  2. We need to shake things up a bit!

    Great post!

    I sent in my ballot on Sunday . . . I actually giggled and said "WTH?!" when I read the candidates for the Boston Tea party. I just found it funny. Yes, I'm immature like that.

    Oh, and your employer - I thought they HAD to allow you time to go vote?!

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  3. Yes, employers must provide time off to vote.

    The time off would be at the expense of another employee who is already working a 12 hour shift. They would have to work an extra two hours.

    I volunteered to absentee vote so that employee would not have to stay (after working an all-nighter) for me.

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  4. Thanks for posting without getting petty and vindictive.

    One (and maybe the only thing as far as some people are concerned) to love about Texas, No Reason Required Absentee voting. We get about two weeks to vote IN PERSON at any precinct in our county. (But on election day you must go to your own precinct.)

    It is a good system that works for THE VOTERS!

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  5. Great post! I loved that you listed all the parties with presidential candidates because without any media coverage, they get lost in the shuffle of Dems and Republicans. Also, the quote from the Kite Runner was truly inspiring. I had to just sit and think about that for a while.

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  6. I love your thoughtful post. I hope everyone cherishes and exercises their right to vote. Your post is inspiring! I will try and get on the library list for Kite Runner, too!

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  7. Nice post.

    I don't think that voting 3rd party is wasting votes. Each vote keeps them alive. We have some crazy laws that make it difficult for 3rd party parties to keep in good standing for things like debates and ballots. You need to have gotten X number of votes in the last election to be on ballots easily.

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  8. In Europe they hold election day on a Saturday.....
    How are we gonna reform this 2 party election farce?

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