Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sitting Out an Election Should Never Be an Option

I might have missed a couple of school board elections, but for the most part I've voted in every election I could have. As my wife says, it'd take an army to keep me away from the polls. And not once has there been a Republican worth voting for. Never. And I live up here where they supposedly still have Liberal Republicans. Never seen one.

Of course, even with the Upstate New York Republicans sounding as crazy (or crazier, see Palladino) than the national Rethugs, there were enough of them to elect a tea bagger as my congressman in 2010 (NY-20). Consider the old joke from up here: if you throw a rock, you're more likely to hit a deer than a Democrat.

I often wonder what kind of person sits around lamenting the fact that no one in Washington cares about the little guy and then votes Republican. I'm fairly certain, and some evidence has shown as much lately, that people in that situation take their cues from social policy. Take a typical religious guy who thinks abortion is murder and therefore forcing women to have their rapist's baby is the only Right thing to do. That guy's going to say, Democrats don't care about me as a working guy anyway, because they're spineless and appoint Wall Street fat cats to their cabinents just like Republicans do, so, I'll go with the abortion thing. Or a union guy who's convinced Democrats (who have run away from gun control faster than you can say "gun show loophole lets terrorists get guns") are going to send the jack-booted thugs to take all your guns (almost three years into the Obama administration and you still have all those guns). So, they vote Republican. Or, say you're a racist or a bigot, hell, you're not going to vote Democrat! You've been voting Republican since LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act.

So, these people who have been economically beaten about the head and torso by the Republican party for years vote Republican. It's what's the matter with Kansas. It's what's the matter with a lot of places.

Polls show that most people actually agree with the Democrats on almost every single economic issue. We like our services, we hate our wars, we blame Bush and Cheney, we think we spend way too much on defense (we do) and on foreign aid (we don't). Americans might not know a lot of specifics, but they seem to get the gist of it. Single issue voters, and the fence sitters who really lean way one way or the other, they get out there for the Republicans. And what do the rest of us do?

Well, judging from the collective freak out from the left over the debt ceiling, they stay home on election day. That's what happened on election day 2010. A bunch of liberals acted like they were going to punish Obama and let the tea baggers run the House of Representatives. How's that working out?

Whichever gay hating, Muslim hating, tax hating, gun-totin, union busting, poor hating, Hooverville-creating hippie puncher makes it out of the GOP Primary clown car, we'll have the same choice that we had in 00 and 04. We can elect a guy who lets us down a little, or we can let the next Supreme Court nomination go to President Perry. We can elect a guy who believes in unions, and a safety net, and infrastructure, and education, and science, and climate change, or we can elect George W. Bush on steroids.

Seems like enough to get me off my liberal ass.

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