I voted for democracy

I voted for General Wes Clark in today’s Virginia Democratic Primary. I admit that I have not voted in every election since I turned 18, but I always vote in Presidential and Congressional elections. Voting is good, mmmmmmmkay.

In elections, I’ve always voted for Democrats. In my first elections, it was because I considered myself a democrat. However, I’ve always had an independent view. Socially, I believe in hands off involvement. The government’s job in social issues is to protect civil rights, not to suppress them. Economically, capitalism has worked for more than two centuries, in spite of politicians. I want a responsible tax policy (flat tax) and a balanced budget. I have simple political ideals and goals.

The 2000 Presidential election was the first time I stretched my mind around my ritual “Vote Democrat” mindset. Despite Joe Lieberman’s censorship rhetoric, I voted for Gore in the election because he was the least objectionable to me. That year, I also voted in the Republican primary.

The only “requirement” for voting in that primary was that I acknowledge, on my honor, that I would not vote in another party’s primary. Since the Democrats weren’t holding a primary because Gore was the incumbent nominee, I had no problem signing that. (Yes, I had to sign a piece of paper. I didn’t have to sign anything today.)

In that primary, I voted for John McCain as a vote against George W. Bush. Walking into the polling station, I felt weird voting Republican. Walking out, I felt liberated from the rigid party mentality. Because of social issues, I’ll still be surprised if I ever vote Republican, but if the Republicans nominate a social “live and let live” candidate, I’d consider it.

At times, I’ve thought my reliance on social issues might be too narrow, but I’m comfortable with it. No individual social issue will rule my vote, but a collection of them will. I believe that the free market will ultimately determine the economy and bad economic politicians will be voted out. That doesn’t happen with social issues. Bad policy becomes law and then takes years to repeal or overturn. Civil liberties and freedom are the basis for America. Without them, we’re no different than a common dictatorship.

Today, we’re moving in the wrong direction. Censorship is encouraged to preserve family values. Our president wants to amend the U.S. Constitution to define marriage as one man and one woman. A few years ago, the Congress proposed a Constitutional amendment to ban flag burning. Rights are under attack and the right to vote is every citizen’s first defense.

The Constitution has been amended once to take away citizen’s rights. Prohibition was a disaster which was later repealed. Any new amendment reducing liberty is a crime against the spirit of the Constitution, yet this great nation has considered it twice in the last 5 years. It’s time for responsibility.

My purpose is not to make anyone agree with me. Obviously I believe I’m correct, but the point is that because someone doesn’t agree with my views, that doesn’t permit them to take my rights away. Your reward for living in America is that you get to live your life as you wish. Your penalty is that I get to live as I wish.

I don’t think it’ll make good business sense to start showing breasts on prime time television, but the law shouldn’t remove the right if public sentiment changes. I don’t want to marry a man, but someone else wants to show that commitment to the man he loves. I don’t want to burn the flag, but someone else believes that is how she should express herself. If any of those actions happen, who has been harmed? No one will suffer physical injury, so our government’s role is satisfied. As for non-physical injury and mental anguish, that is up to the individual. If you disagree, turn off the TV, don’t associate with homosexuals, fly 3 flags in your front yard. You have that right. Do you mind if I take it away?

Vote in 2004.

3 thoughts on “I voted for democracy”

  1. Tony, I have been around a loooong time. In every election year this same rhetoric is discussed. I have never had any rights taken away. The president is only as good or bad as the senators or representatives. Its called checks and balances. I am mostly a one issue person. Guess which one? When they made abortion part of the constitution. I pretty well lost all respect for the supreme court. I think women of AlL ages deserve respect. Womb to grave or in my case a specimen for a medical school. I have friends of course who do not think along those same lines. I still love them. The older I get the more conservative I become. Can’t help it and I won’t apoligize for it.

  2. I supported Clark as well (at least in spirit). I can understand why you did since you two seem to share very similar ideologies.
    But you know, in the 2000 Senatorial election, I would have voted for Rick Lazio (Republican) over Hillary Rodham Clinton (Democrat). You’re right: It does feel weird to vote or to think outside one’s general “party lines.” But honestly, the Democrats and Republicans look more like copycats of one another, so I’m not terribly enthused that the eventual Democratic nominee will be much better than many Republicans (though it’s hard to do worse than Bush, imho).

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