That year voting had been so easy for me. George Bush was taking us down a disastrous path. John Kerry, who was for the war before he opportunistically and cynically opposed it, wasn't a viable choice. I voted for the Constitution Party's 2004 candidate, Michael Peroutka. The man, an actual conservative, inspired me when I would see videos of him speak. I, through lobbying one of our local late-night talk show hosts on KFI AM 640 (I was living in California at the time and KFI is the most-listened to AM station in the country), got him a 5 minute interview on that show, even though I had no previous experience in publicity and had never even met Mr. Peroutka (and still have not).
I experienced those same feelings of resonance and deep-seated agreement as I watched Ron Paul throughout the endless debates of the 2008 Primary season. I couldn't believe it - there he was, on stage, repudiating what Republicans had called "conservative" for the last 8 years. He was antiwar, he talked about the Federal Reserve and the folly of private bankers printing our currency, he talked about "blowback" and how the attacks on 9/11 didn't just develop from a vacuum...it was unbelievable. I wore t-shirts, contributed what I could, and told everyone about him. Of course, he wasn't able to win the nomination, and what then? The famous phrase was trotted out: "...lesser of two evils." Hmmm.
Americans hate to lose. But the truth doesn't always triumph in this vale of tears. Voting for McCain is voting for an evil. Worse, it's lying to myself.
So here are the reasons I will NOT be voting for John McCain in 9 days:
1. Health Care - John McCain wants to give me a tax credit to pay for my health care. This will be paid for by...me! Why, thank you! As if putting $700 Billion of new inflated currency on my back isn't enough, I'll pay for a tax credit - $5,000 per family or $2,500 per individual - for health care. Socialist, anyone?
2. Russia - John McCain doesn't trust Putin, fine. But his (in)famous line "We are all Georgians" some time after the US and Israeli-advised invasion of Russia by Georgia underscores his neoconservative aspirations to fight a country like Russia over a country as insignificant as Georgia. National security at stake? You bet! If Russia were to check Georgian aggression in the region by a takeover, the Pentagon wouldn't be able to sell Georgia weapons. What would Georgia do with all the money it spends on the military now? Maybe spend it on their people! John McCain wants to keep the money in Pentagon coffers.
3. Iran - ignoring the lessons of Mossadeq in 1953, the hostage crisis of 1979, and his own (rightful) opposition to interference in Lebanon in the 1980s (a position sadly vindicated by the death of 220 Marines when their barracks was blown up), John McCain likes to warmonger and ignore the value of diplomacy when it comes to dealing with hostile nations. Hmm, how did they ever get hostile to us anyway? Could it be because we overthrew their democratically elected government in a CIA sponsored coup? I'd be pretty hostile too.
4. Climate change - McCain believes in cap-and-trade - a tax on carbon dioxide, the gas that plants need in order to live and generate oxygen for us. Without getting into the argument about climate change and the veracity (or mendacity) of peak oil, one can certainly say that his desire to "drill baby drill" would be akin to someone saying "typewriters baby typewriters" as the Apple II was premiered. It has become obvious to anyone with half a brain that the future needs to be run on at least one alternative to fossil fuel. Let's focus on developing that, not on retreading old roads paved by Detroit and the automakers.
5. The bailout - blaming "Freddie and Fannie" McCain took the low, easy road and showed zero leadership, played the blame game, and put the burden on American taxpayers to bail out rampant derivative trading, among other things, by investment bankers. Thanks, but no thanks.
6. Taxes - he wants to preserve the Bush tax cuts, but like most Republicans in power, believes he can do this while cutting ZERO in government expenditures. Indeed, he wants to expand government.
Yet after all these utterly terrible policies (I could go on, but why bore you with more depressing policy disagreements?), I'm supposed to believe that I should vote for McCain because of "judges."
This is the same man who, in the last debate of the 2008 Election Season, bragged about voting to confirm notorious NARAL darling Ruth Bader Ginsberg. At least Obama had the courage to vote his ideology, and voted against John Roberts. The maverick from Arizona, with no discernible principles on this issue had the chutzpah to paraphrase Richard Weaver in defending his vote for Ginsberg, saying "Elections have consequences." Please.
This is the same man who helped to create the Gang of 14 in order to blunt apparent Republican desires to confirm more "pro-life judges" through the "nuclear option."
This is the same man who, along with Barack Obama, supports embryonic stem cell research.
The Supreme Court is currently 7-2 in terms of REPUBLICAN nominees. Let's recount this for people who don't know:
Chief Justice John Roberts, nominated by George W. Bush, a REPUBLICAN
Justice Samuel Alito, nominated by George W. Bush, a REPUBLICAN
Justice John Paul Stevens, nominated by Gerald Ford, a REPUBLICAN
Justice Antonin Scalia, nominated by Ronald Reagan, a REPUBLICAN
Justice Anthony Kennedy, nominated by Ronald Reagan, a REPUBLICAN
Justice David Souter, nominated by George H.W. Bush, a REPUBLICAN
Justice Clarence Thomas, nominated by George H.W. Bush, a REPUBLICAN
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, nominated by Bill Clinton
Justice Stephen Breyer, nominated by Bill Clinton
Has anything changed regarding Roe v. Wade in all the years since these Republican appointments? Even in the Planned Parenthood v. Casey case? Need I remind you that there is precious little that a Barack Obama or a John McCain will be able to do against the coming Democratic veto-proof super majority in both houses of Congress - the lawmaking body where any sort of legislation (theoretically) to overturn Roe would have to originate? Republicans, through reckless governance in the last 8 years, are about to welcome, potentially, the largest Democratic majority since FDR.
Pro-lifers are led to believe by Republicans and their waterboys that the problem of abortion will be solved in our courts. I think time has proven that this will not be so. Even if tomorrow the Supreme Court were to issue some strange obiter dicta saying that they will torpedo Roe the next opportunity they have, those of us who have lived in California and New York know that there are states where people will actually take to the streets with guns (which they'll have to learn how to use) to defend the "right" to abortion.
Republicans, and apparently some Catholics, have bought into the idea of the Imperial Presidency, and in a way, one can't blame them because it has been so deeply foisted upon them for the last 8 years. But the President can't outlaw abortion in this country. And those who believe in the importance of the pro-life cause should not throw away their vote on a man who would have chosen rabidly pro-choice Senator Joseph Lieberman if he had his druthers, and further, has repeatedly said on numerous occasions: "I have no litmus test for judges."
This is supposed to be secret code to those pro-lifers. It means: "I'm lying to get elected. I really do have a secret test - look, I said the names Scalia and Thomas...read my mind, my friends!"
Sorry, I didn't hear that. That's why I'll be voting for someone who, apart from actually having a litmus test for judges - overturning a bad legal decision called Roe v. Wade - actually believes that American empire is pointless, wants to abolish the Department of Education, and wants to implement other real, thoughtful, actual CHANGE type policies. That someone is Chuck Baldwin.
Beyond all this is the Electoral College. I live in a red, red state: Kansas. If I voted for John McCain, it would not matter. Kansas will go to him. So why waste my vote on someone who doesn't deserve it one bit? That being said, in 2004 I lived in California, a blue, blue state. Would my vote for George Bush have mattered? No, but at least I thought more about that decision since I voted for him in 2000, because I believed him when he said he wanted a "humble foreign policy" with "no nation-building." I'm through thinking about John McCain. He won't be doing the pro-life movement any favors when he's back in the Senate next year, anyway.
Russell Kirk often said that politics is the art of the possible. Republicans have proven that it is not possible to trust anything they tell us they will "do" for the pro-life movement. The hour is late. People have to be won by ideas, not by desperate idealogues who will say anything to get elected. Ideas cannot penetrate when people vitiate their convictions for a "win." The fight against abortion will not be won by trying to channel Reagan by saying "win one for the Gipper - vote McCain." It will not be won by people who two-step when asked about litmus tests and abortion.
I don't know how it will be won. God knows. And He knows that you aren't "obliged" to vote for someone just because he has a chance of winning. Sometimes the truth loses. It's as good a time as any for all of us to learn that lesson. Yes, even lawyers in New Jersey, wasting their vote on John McCain, where Barack Obama will win in a landslide, need to learn that lesson too.
Yet unlike said lawyers, I know that we've just survived arguably the worst Presidency in American history. We'll survive Obama's too.