Saturday, November 3, 2012

To Be or Not To Be

The election of the president of the United States nears and it is not too melodramatic to say the fate of the world hangs in the balance. Only two men realistically have a chance at winning this election, though a number of others are running.

Will it be Romney...or Obama?

The following video by Bill Whittle is one of his best as he tackles the question with clear-eyed, pragmatic reasoning. He focuses not on the Obama voter, who can not be persuaded, nor on the undecided voter, who frankly has made up his mind but is unwilling to say. No, he focuses on the principled voter who has decided to vote third party. His argument is particularly salient to me as I was "one of the those" until the 2004 election of George Bush. Until that presidential election, I had always voted Libertarian. Straight ticket. Period.

So perhaps, because of my history, I have a few additional insights.

I voted third party for many reasons, and none of them were really  -  or solely - about principle. Oh, principle was the "cover", the offered reason, the grounds for my stubborn commitment. But it was not truly about principle. It was about the refusal to become engaged. To participate. To get dirt on my hands.

And it was about apathy. The belief, not just that my vote didn't matter, but that the entire process didn't matter. That even if an R or D candidate won, nothing would change.

I voted Libertarian because it allowed me the moral arrogance of being "above the fray." It also allowed me to feel as if I was voting from an intelligent, principled stance without having to know a single thing about the election, the issues, or the candidates. They were both wrong, so why pay attention? By refusing to vote for either party - both of which support some aspect of the Establishment - I enjoyed a double scoop of chocolate/cherry ice cream. I got to feel smug while dressing my ignorance in party clothes.

Yeah, me! I was so freaking cool while all the numbnuts ran around voting for R's and D's and getting the same crap sandwich no matter who won.

And, secretly, I never had to address my fatalistic apathy about politics, my sense of helplessness in the face of the power structure of Washington and the Establishment. And my unwillingness to do anything about it. That wasn't pleasant. So much better to feel superior than insignificant.

Even when I voted for George Bush in 2004, I knew I was participating in a sham. It made me angry to realize that I truly did not have a voice, that the political machine in Washington had long since begun running under its own steam and didn't need my approval or disapproval as gas for the engine. The process of elections was to give people the appearance of control and participation, while in reality it was simply a ceremony every four years that essentially amounted to, "The King is dead. Long live the King!"

It wasn't until the rise of the Tea Party and the opportunity it offered for genuine citizen activism that I began to believe differently. Finally, the people were raising their voices. Finally, we had a pathway, a focus, a stated goal. Finally, we had a chance.

And that's all -- and everything -- Romney is.

A chance.

Voting for anyone else is throwing away that chance. We may never have another.

I'm going to take it.

So if you are still determined to vote third party, let me offer one more plea. Just this once, just this election, vote for Romney. I'll never ask again, because if Romney doesn't do what he has promised, then I will help to form a third party and will stand with you, though it may be too late for any party other than the Democrats, to ever regain power in this country. Think of that. Your principled vote could doom this country to a future that you DO. NOT. WANT.

A vote for Romney gives us a fighting chance.

If you take that chance and vote for Romney - JUST. THIS. ONCE. - I (and I know Bill) promise to do everything in our power to hold him to his promise to PUSH BACK against the last century of incremental progressive gains.

That is all we have. There is no third party vote that can change any of that now - at this moment.

The certainty of Obama.

Or a chance with Romney.

To be or not to be.

That is the question.


  1. I'll certainly be voting for Romney. He wasn't my first choice, there really wasn't anyone I was thrilled with, though he's been saying the right things lately. I'm occasionally tempted by the "principled" vote but the consequences of a second Obama term are just too horrible to even consider it this time around.

    I think Romney's going to have to fight hard for conservative principles if the GOP is going to survive. If conservatives abandon it, it really won't have any reason to exist.

    Actually I think the Democrat party is in even more danger of disintegrating. They fully embraced Big Tentism, they're really a coalition of 4 or 5 parties that's only bound together by access to Federal cash. There's no overarching philosophy whatsoever to hold them together. If the cash runs out the party will come apart. I don't know how long that'll take but it's looking like a virtual certainty that it eventually will. Their best hope is a hugely successful Romney presidency.

    1. I was interested in Romney during the last preside tial election. But never felt the "fire". During this year's primaries, I was again worried that Romney was just an old-fashioned RINO. But the selection of Ryan clearly changed all that. And Romney was really, surprisingly, amazing miraculously come into his own.

      I not only think he should win to defeat Obama, I think he should win because he really is the right man for the job.

    2. My typos are even worse on this iPad. Whatever.

  2. Right ON, Buttercup. It couldn't be said better.

    I've just about given up on the third-partiers at this point. They won't be reasoned with; they're like the Terminator. Frankly, they are like Democrats.

    I can't respect their refusal to help us avoid another four years of this asshole.

  3. Since I've never visited your blog before I can swear on a massive stack of assorted holy books that I didn't read this before I got snippy with the guy over at Rachel's for trying to wrap a "true principle" high-moral-pedestal flag around NOT voting.

    If we're ever going to get away from lowest-common-denominator politics, it will be done by gritting our teeth and keeping our shoulders to the wheel and all those other shopworn metaphors. Showing up is half the battle.

    1. HAHAHAHA! I believe you. This is becoming a problem, these "principled" voters, much like the Democrats faced with Ralph Nader.

      However, in the long run, if we HAVE a long run, it could mean good things for the party. Nader and his crew pulled the Democrats hard left. Maybe Libertarians will pull us farther right. That wouldn't be a bad thing.

    2. People have no patience. Changing a party's direction and focus takes years, decades even. Nowadays the Internet generation wants everything NOW. Punks don't understand hard work and patience and perseverance and dedication. Same with all the "centrist" movements that pop up every election season -- they just don't get the whole grass-roots thing, they always want a national party with a Prez candidate but they haven't the steel to actually BUILD a real party structure on a real base, they just want it handed to them.


    3. Exactly. Perfectly said.

      The ship of state really IS a ship...and you can't just turn it on a dime. Oh, well, you can. That's called a bloody revolution.

      Not a good idea.

  4. Replies
    1. Thank you!!! It's nice to know you're still stopping by.