The OK, the Bad, and the Worse
So elections are approaching, and along with them the dilemma that left-leaning voters face every November: bite your tongue and vote for a centrist Democrat, or vote for a worthy Green Party candidate (if there even is such a candidate!) with no choice of winning? But the dilemma is made even worse by the disgusting display of spinelessness among those many Congressional Democrats who recently voted for Bush's war resolution. The following email comes from New York resident Nick Karpowicz:
I was wondering, do you still plan to vote for centrist democrats in the future? I'm up in the air on it. I voted for Gore out of fear of Bush, and I've always voted for Greens only if there was no contest. Right now, though, I'm really disappointed with Hillary Clinton and I'm having trouble seeing the point in voting for someone who will agree with me on minor issues but not when there's a huge decision between right and wrong. I just find it troubling that I had no opportunity to vote against this war, since the all of the viable candidates I could pick voted for it. It makes me wonder if representative Democracy can really function how it's purported to. On one hand, voting for the Democrat will keep the Republican from doing awful things, but it also encourages people to lean to the right since the left has no other choice. It's enough to make me consider voting for the Light the Goddamn Voting Booth On Fire party.
I should probably note here that yes, I voted for Nader in 2000, and no, I don't feel guilty--I was, after all, voting in Massachusetts (though that doesn't seem to matter to my dad, he's still NOT PLEASED about it). But with the Massachusetts governor's race between centrist Democrat Shannon O'Brien and monstrously nasty Republican Mitt Romney (see my cartoon "Dream Date Mitt") ... I find myself saying "Well... at least she supports civil unions. She's prochoice (though she didn't used to be). She doesn't seem to be in bed with big business." But O'Brien also hasn't made an effort to appeal to minority voters, whereas long-time community activist Mel King described Green Candidate Jill Stein as "the only one that makes issues of racism and social justice integral parts of her campaign." The following is an excerpt from the Bay State Banner's report on low minority voter turnout in the primaries:
As is often the case, blacks in Boston voted to the left of the Democratic party’s more conservative choice. “We vote our interest,” said veteran political activist Louis Elisa. “Just because we don’t always vote for winners doesn’t mean we’re not voting the right way.”
...Black voters are now faced with a choice between a conservative Democrat and a Republican, as was the case in the 1990 general election between former Governor William Weld and John Silber. If O’Brien fails to energize the black community, as did Silber in 1990, she may lose an important swing vote — a loss that cost Silber the election.
Elisa says the O’Brien campaign represents a challenge for people of color. “You’ve got people who are holding their nose and dealing with the situation,” he said.
Which I suppose, is what I will do--hold my nose and vote for O'Brien. Sigh... anyway, I'd be interested to hear how other people are dealing with this, so feel free to let me know. And yes, in case you're wondering, the John Silber mentioned in the Banner article is the same wacko social conservative John Silber I did this cartoon about.