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.
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.