Sunday, October 19, 2008

Political update

Since my last political post, the final debate aired and Obama has taken a respectable lead. I have to admit that this is quite a relief, and I've been able to focus on other things without so much anxiety.

There's no doubt in my mind that Obama is a better choice than McCain. Where there's a difference in their platforms, I invariably like Obama's better. Obama leans toward renewable energy, while McCain pushes for increased oil drilling. Obama's tax plan makes more sense to me. Obama supports federal funding for stem cell research and other science research, as well as civil liberties like the right to marry (well, civilly unite, which is supposedly just as good) and the right medical procedures (like abortion, but only if you can pay for it). His proposal for health care is better than McCain's. He's got all the democratic positions, plus he's got lots of people who adore him as well as brains and composure. He's everything that W isn't, and that's a wonderful thing.

Still, I'm not convinced I should be voting for him. Especially now that the CT electoral votes are wrapped up for Obama, why should I even bother to vote? (This is obviously going to be a sentiment that the Obama people are going to have to fight for the next couple of weeks, but still.) Maybe if I lived in a swing state, I'd feel differently. But as it is, I can vote for Obama and feel like my vote didn't really make a difference in his campaign, or I can do something else.

Like vote for Nader. See, it's not that I disagree that much with Obama, or even that I don't like him. It's that I agree MORE with Nader. All those things I listed two paragraphs ago that make Obama better than McCain-- Nader's platform is the same way, only his is better than Obama's. Instead of making an affordable federal health plan for people who don't get health care through their jobs, Nader proposed creating a completely federalized health plan, for everyone. He supports anybody marrying anybody else, and he favors empowerment of the citizens instead of corporations. (Obama leans this way, but isn't as vocal about it, I think.) Like Obama, he supports federal funding for stem cell and other research, but also wants to take money away from national defense, and apply it to domestic development, like education and public works.

When I watch Obama and McCain in the debates, yeah, of course I agree with Obama. From what I can put together, I'm more liberal than Obama and most democrats. I wish I could see Obama and Nader in a debate. I wish I could see them address each other and compare them side by side, but that doesn't happen.

Nader was recently interviewed on Where We Live, a local CT program from WNPR. The interview was set up like a one-man debate, in front of high school students from Nader's hometown, Winsted, CT. He's awfully outspoken and critical of the government and the candidates, but it's rather refreshing. He's not shy about pointing out where somebody did something wrong, but he knows his stuff and he's idealistic that it can be fixed. He talks about the minimum wage, the bailout, civil liberties, health care, Iran and nuclear proliferation, and corporate power.

Then about 25 minutes into it, he gets into voter apathy, and the strongest part of his campaign. He makes the point that (young) people are more interested in sports and music than they are in their environment (natural and civic). He wants to limit the power that ads and media have over our minds. At 32 minutes, a student asks him why he's running for president. He almost (but not quite) admits that he hasn't got a chance, and he starts going off on specific solutions to specific problems, but then he focuses on the point: "It was the little parties that came out first against slavery, for women's right to vote, for protecting farmers and workers in the 19th century. They never won a national election. But aren't we glad that enough people spun off from the whigs or the democrats and republicans to support these great social justice movements? And that's what we're trying to do."

He's an idealist. He wants to bring up issues and make a point. I think voting for him (and thereby lending a small voice to his issues) might be the most powerful thing I could do with my vote.


  1. It's funny; I have a gut bias against Nader that mirrors yours against Obama; he strikes me as a very egoistic politician, someone who has already decided that he has all the answers and if you don't agree with his positions, you're just wrong. I also don't think he's nearly as smart on foreign policy as he is on domestic policy, and while I think his voice on Israel is a very important one, I'm not sure he's objective on that particular issue.

    But. I think you're doing exactly what you should be doing with your vote, and approaching the democratic process exactly the way you should.

    Also, I'm envious. I wish I had a say at all. :-)

  2. P.S. Tim Calhoun?


  3. I completely agree with your impression of Nader. But I agree with his positions, so it's ok. ;)

    His abrasive personality would make him a terrible president, but he has some good ideas that deserve more attention.

    Oh, and Tim Calhoun? At first I thought you/they meant Jim Calhoun, the NCAA National Championship coach of the U Conn men's basketball team (who, by the way, I had dinner with once... that is, in the same restaurant...). Yeah, part of what makes me so mad is the complete lack of media coverage for third party candidates since the 2000 election.

    And it looks like you can vote in local (school board?) elections. That's something, at least.