have always found it somewhat appropriate that Election Day
falls so closely after Halloween. This year they are particularly
close, with one day separating the two. While American culture
traditionally engages in scary superstitious costumed encounters
on Oct. 31, we have been subjected to a seemingly interminable
assault of political horror during this presidential campaign.
Hopefully, this political spook show will come to an end Nov.
Well, I have always been somewhat ambivalent about voting,
particularly for president. My initial voting experience required
a constitutional amendment before it could happen. In 1971
the 26th Amendment was passed and lowered the voting age from
21 to 18. Somehow it seemed reasonable that if an American
was old enough to be drafted for war and shipped off to war
in Vietnam, they should at least be able to vote for who became
So, at the age of 20 I registered to vote as an independent
and made my first presidential vote. Only about half of the
newly enfranchised under-21 voters cast ballots that year,
and this still remains the high-water mark for this group.
I cast my ballot for George McGovern who was running against
Richard Nixon. Nixon carried 49 states and trounced McGovern.
Nixon would later be forced to resign from office for criminal
activities during the election. I always felt that when Nixon
abdicated, McGovern should have been given the keys to the
White House. Instead, they went to Gerald Ford, who had not
been elected but had been selected for officeóby Nixon.
So, my first presidential election experience was not the
best. I felt ripped off. But, I had a clear choice that year,
particularly with regard to the Vietnam War. Since that first
election experience, my voting strategy has generally devolved
to selecting the lesser of the evils running. The lesser of
the evils has not excluded third-party candidates, whom Iíve
also often found lacking regarding some issue or other.
Needless to say, the 2000 election did not restore any of
my faith in the process. That one candidate could win the
popular vote by half a million votes and lose the election
due to the action of the Supreme Court (where a key vote was
provided by an appointee of a candidateís father) is still
hard for me to accept. With all the recent discussions about
spreading democracy abroad, youíd think a little effort would
take place to ensure it at home. While in some areas new voting
technology has been implemented and in some areas more legal
support has been made available to voters to ensure their
right to a ballot, the Electoral College system remains intact.
In 48 states, electoral votes are awarded on a winner-take-all
Despite my voting experiences, I plan to vote for president
on Nov. 2 for one simple reason: George W. must go. After
being selected for office, rather than elected, George W.
has wreaked havoc from the White House on both the international
and national fronts. In response to this situation my voting
strategy has changed somewhat to one that focuses on reducing
the harm that has been done by George W. and his crew.
I am voting on Nov. 2 because I think George W. has been a
disaster for this country. There are few areas that he and
his administration have left unharmed. George W. has looked
America in the eye and lied about why an invasion of Iraq
was justified. He has avidly perpetuated the myth that there
was a connection between the terrorist attack of 9/11 and
Iraq. He continues to claim all is going well in Iraq as the
chaos and casualty numbers mount.
I am voting because George W. must go. While George W. has
tried to focus attention on his War on Terror sideshow, the
domestic terrain has gotten economically rocky for more people:
The gap between the rich and poor has widened, the number
of poor has risen, job opportunities have declined and fewer
have adequate health coverage. At the same time, George W.
has funneled vast amounts of this nationís capital into the
hands of the countryís richest individuals. His spending habits
have pushed the federal deficit into record heights that will
affect this country for years to come.
I am voting Nov. 2 because George W. must go. The attack of
this administration on the nationís environment has been constant
and unprecedented. George W. has become a bigger threat to
the countryís wilderness areas than any natural disaster.
His advocacy of oil-drilling in the Arctic National Wilderness
Reserve reflects his disregard for the land in order to serve
the needs of the oil industry. Such proposals become even
more offensive when far more oil could be pumped out of the
fuel inefficiencies of the U.S. car and truck fleets by raising
energy-efficiency standards. Itís not surprising that such
energy policies have been developed with substantial input
from George W.ís buddies at Enron, who are well known for
their energy profiteering.
I am voting on Nov. 2 because George W. must go and because,
despite the debacle of the 2000 election, I see my vote as
another means to register my objection to the policies and
lies of this administration. I will also continue to call
for the democratization of the voting process and the end
of the Electoral College. It seems particularly ironic to
me that newly enfranchised voters in Afghanistan apparently
have a more democratic balloting opportunity than we do.
I hope that this Nov. 2 I will be joined by a record number
of voters who will also want a regime change in Washington
to undo George W.ís damage. Voting for John Kerry is the only
real alternative to four more years of George W. and I plan
to vote accordingly. Vote Nov. 2! We cannot afford four more
years of George W.