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rage against the machine
why you need not vote this november
by dan gonzalez

You should be angry. You should be chagrined. You should feel demoralized, and a bit outgunned. Because a world of bullshit is erupting and 'mere' individuals don't seem to be able to have any effect on it.

That's right, it's an election year. I love that term: isn't every year in a democracy an election year? But somehow this year, this one particular year out of every four, we scrunch our collective panties into a uniquely excited wad. This is the one!, we say, with the sophmoric hope that we have finally found our true love. A high stakes election, indeed!

I got news for you, the individual: whichever way it goes, you're gonna get dumped. All you'll end up with is a wilted corsage, a vague memory of your virginity, and a bunch of tears in your little cup of punch. And it won't matter how cool the frat or sorority you belonged to was, you'll be dogmeat anyway.

So why do we care about this particular election year? Obviously, we've been lied to. And obviously, we're lying to each other. It's because we outrageously believe that we, as individuals, can somehow sort through the media-diluted sludge that passes for information and come up with one candidate that "reflects our values".

Here is where it gets truly absurd: We beautiful individuals, full of thought and ideas, willingly do this. We walk through the Republocratic Fun House on purpose. Sure, we have our ideals, our thoughts of what define us, and in some cases actual values. But all we see is a distorted reflection in a twisted carnie's mirror.

There is a reason for this illusion, this confusion. It is because, around 50 years or so ago, the people we count on walked away from philosophy, willingly turned their nose to science. They turned away from delving into the true facts about human nature, and started labeling us. Manic-Depressive, Psychotic. It bled into sociology: Homo-sexual, African-American, Disabled, etc.

How did it become so easy so fast? "Oh, you're Biipolar. We can't measure it with any scientific consistency or accuracy, but here is a pill! And as for you? You say you prefer sex with the opposite gender? You're a hetero-sexual, then, and therefore involuntarily part of a majority of oppressors. Have a nice day!"

IT'S BULLSHIT! We are not our labels, we are not our soft science, our pathetic psyhchology and sociology. We are not white, black, male, female, theist, or atheist. Least of all, we are not who we sleep with. We just ARE!

I have a term for people who believe labels and speak in terms that are derived from half-baked theories of human nature: gullible idiots.

Nonetheless, just like there is a boxed-and-bought remedy for every so-called psychological disorder, there is a governmental remedy for every social failure. All based on whichever label gets stuck on our foreheads. These remedies are failing and are destined to continue failing.

Therefore, it is every actualized individual's democratic responsibility not to vote in this coming election. Consider, you cannot vote without responsibility. Whichever candidate wins, you will be responsible for whatever consequences other individuals suffer.

Pundits on the left and right will tell you it is your democratic responsibility to vote. But this is not true. Abstaining has always been an accepted vote. They just don't put it on the ballot. You should have to show up and record your abstention, that would make it official. I wonder if you can show up, write in your abstention, and still get the button that proudly says "I voted today".

But I digress, the fact is, the election for president is unarguably the least significant election in our system of democracy. Here is the summary of your elective choices, in order of significance, according to the expressed design of our system of government:

1. Election of personal choices and responsibilities
2. Election of local officials, judges, ordnances, taxes
3. Election of State Officials, board members, codes, taxes.
4. Election of District Reps to Federal Congress
5. Election of State Reps to Federal Senate
6. Election of the President

Every bit not included in this list, including lobbyists and federal judicial activists, subvert our democracy. Every law or ruling which reaches from a level, say the federal, through another level, say the 'state', to effect a lower lever, say the 'individual', is out of order. But it is no subversion of democracy to abstain from voting for a representative that has no direct powers to affect the level of government you exist at. This is particularly true if said representative is not interested in reforming the levels of government that they do have direct powers over, and which in turn do affect you.

It is your responsibility to vote to advance a platform you believe in. But there is no way, without a good bit of hopeful mojo, that a mere individual can evaluate and predict the nature of something so abstract as the President's platform. No one can do this truthfully. But we can truthfully demonstrate that neither of the major candidates has a platform that will reduce the dishonesty of the system to mitigate the oppression of individuals.

Neither Republicans, against their very namesake, nor Democrats, in full spirit of their namesake, have any platform designed to restore this nation to the Federal Republic of Democratic States that it once was. They both offer half-wrought versions of the lost doctrines, and both represent compromises to true democracy. Not everybody realizes this, and although many people struggle with the effects of it, some refuse to acknowlege it.

However, if you, happy reader, acknowledge it and are concerned with it, and are being beseiged by pundits or guilt to find someone to vote for, you can in good faith abstain. You can logically, intelligently, and passionately abstain. Rage is rarely useful, but against the vastness of this machine that is crippling us, it is overdue!

I'll leave you with this handy cheat-sheet which lists possible individual types that may beseige you to vote and logical challenges back to them (Please note that the term 'Religious' refers to any zealot dedicated to an abstract ideal, secular or sacred, which cannot be manifested in reality and therefore is not of use to an individual):

---------------------------------CUT HERE------------------------------

I. RELIGIOUS LEFTIST: Bush is a corrupt, greedy, war-mongering pig. He is a traitor. It's time to Move on! He's destroying the world. How can anybody vote for Bush? I can't respect them. Didn't you see Farenheit 9/11? You have to vote for Kerry.

INDIVIDUALIST RESPONSE: Kerry is a Socialist. Socialists all believe in a pan-international economic government and wealth redistribution to attain an abstract, religious goal: the common good. However, Socialism can only work on a totalitarian level, and in that case individual rights are sacrificed. Furthermore, the vast government itself is made up of the same individuals who couldn't govern themselves properly in the free, capitalist society that is supposedly failing. How is it that they suddenly can govern wisely on behalf of all others? And how is socialism not a direct contraversion of the US Constitution? Voting for Kerry is voting for a puppet of an idealistic revolution that will never occur without the violence and oppression you falsely believe Democrats oppose. Should it ever occur, it represents the end of our nation as we know it.

II. MODERATE [a) LEFTIST or b) RIGHTEST]: I just have to vote for [insert appropriate comfort-candidate]. He reflects my views better, the other guy just rubs me the wrong way. We have to vote for someone, and I'm picking the lesser of two evils.

INDIVIDUALIST RESPONSE: You cannot do this in truth. You think you are voting for the lesser of two evils, but that is a false thought, because neither is really evil, both are quite half-baked:

a) The reason Kerry is wishy-washy is because liberalism is wishy-washy. Its circumlocuitous logic devours its own foundation: in a democracy, the more money shifted to those who are not responsible for themselves, the more voters are created who are inclined to vote money away from the responsible masses. This death-spiral, when enacted on a scale like our nations' scale, always ends in failure. See China, the USSR, etc. Much worse, liberals oppress with euphemisms: abortion is choice, social justice is minority rights. Meanwhile in reality, the actual choices and rights of individuals are summarily sacrificed to engineer the desired group results.

b) The reason Bush is wishy-washy is because he is not a real fiscal conservative. His defense-spending is fine: it stimulates the economy in peacetime or wartime, and much of it goes back into the tax-base in the form of income tax paid by all the contractors. But his health-care, immigration, and education plans are all socialist. No money is ever recovered from socialist programs which have no exit strategies for the participants. This is why he cooked the books on health-care. None of these programs will work without tax increases, which are not acceptible at the current time unless the government is reformed dramatically to mitigate lobbyists.

III. RELIGOUS RIGHTEST: These immoral heathens, inside this country and out, are trying to destroy the very fiber of America. We have to keep Bush in. He's not that great, he's not that bad either but at least he believes in his country, and we need someone like that during these times.

INDIVIDUALIST RESPONSE: It's true that Republicans do less damage to individuals and capitalism, and represent both better on the world's stage. However, Bush is repellent to about half of the world and his effectiveness will be mitigated. He has already caved to socialists domestically, and proven to be a populist in terms of education and the marriage protection act. His devout beliefs in religion proves he has dubious belief at best in individuals. I will not vote for someone who has more faith in an abstract concept than in actual individuals and our ability to operate the system of government designed for expressly for us to operate.


Maybe it's you, maybe it's Dan. Things aren't quite the way they should be. And now it seems Dan's peace of mind has come up for the bidding, and those that he respects and trusts must all have been just kidding. Dan's little world has lost control, but still it keeps on spinnin'...

more about dan gonzalez


all the rage
simma dahn-nah'
by dan gonzalez
topic: general
published: 4.23.04

new constitutional amendment
individualist rant
by dan gonzalez
topic: general
published: 1.28.04


stacy smith
7.7.04 @ 3:59p


I've been saying the same thing for years, which lead to being labeled as a Anarchist.

I never really played well with others anyway...

mike julianelle
7.7.04 @ 4:40p

Please note that the term 'Religious' refers to any zealot dedicated to an abstract ideal, secular or sacred, which cannot be manifested in reality and therefore is not of use to an individual.

Hey Gonzo, you sound like Ayn Rand.

robert melos
7.7.04 @ 5:50p

Personally I advocate revolution.

dan gonzalez
7.7.04 @ 6:09p

Stacy - Anarchist? How we label to assuage our fear of the unknown. Well, at least we are not alone, sister. We must be careful not to form a group, though. In fact, let's stop talking now.

Mike - Is that an insult? I'm sure it is coming from you. Ah well, the objectivism you French-Canadians are so found of is only an irrational thought or two away from existentialism. You can do it!

Robert - Let's do it! Only it has to be peaceful and based on individuals. Also, there can be no social engineering or material gain either. Ah, screw it, let's just go to the bar and have an Irish revolution.

mike julianelle
7.7.04 @ 6:31p

Dan, it was actually the rare comment without judgment. At one point (say, high school) I was rather infatuated with Objectivism, and still count The Fountainhead as a favorite book. Irrational may be right, but she was a hell of a writer. Oh, and French-Canadian my ass!

erik myers
7.7.04 @ 7:40p

I find it amazing that anybody who would consider themselves to be on the fence, politics-wise, would spend as much time defending their point of view as much as you do.

You spend the entire beginning of the article saying that nobody fits into their labels, and then you categorize everybody in the end.

Do the rest of us a favor -- believe your own rhetoric and don't vote.

dan gonzalez
7.7.04 @ 9:17p

BTW, thanks for reading!

Oh, and French-Canadian my ass!

Hah! I hear ya Mike. She was a great writer, and I did take it as a solid observation. I appreciate it. I was just fooling about as usual, and I do know where your people are really from, paisan.

I find it amazing that anybody who would consider themselves to be on the fence, politics-wise

I'm here to amaze, baffle, and annoy. But I never said I was on the fence politics-wise, only on the fence in regards to Democrats vs. Republicans. Also, those are not specifc labels at the end, those are very BROAD generalizations that people who are driven to vote fall in. Finally, you can call it rhetoric if you want, but until you defeat the logic, that's just another label. You got more? Hit me baby. ;-)

robert melos
7.7.04 @ 10:09p

So I'm reading comments in my LiveJournal and someone mentions how cute Edwards is. What label fits those who vote for the best hair or how hot or not a candidate is?

dan gonzalez
7.7.04 @ 10:52p

What label fits those who vote for the best hair or how hot or not a candidate is?

I'll let Myers respond with whatever he prefers to call his chosen group, since that sounds exactly like him.

I'm guessing it's not Vikings Who Thrash Smart-ass Mexicans.

erik myers
7.8.04 @ 9:44a

No, it's more along the lines of Apathetic Assholes Who Adore Alliteration.

juli mccarthy
7.8.04 @ 11:09a

You know what? This is BS. You can bang on and on about personal choice and making a stand and whatever where our government is concerned, but you're missing the whole point. You have a RESPONSIBILITY to vote. Whether you approve of the party lines, the candidates and/or the entire political process or not. Taking the stance that "they're all idiots, so don't bother" is irresponsible and foolish. It's not a perfect system, but it beats hell out of anything else out there. The rights and privileges you enjoy as a citizen of this country come with ONE and only one requirement - VOTE.

You don't change the system by pooh-poohing it or mocking it. Your vote is the one thing you have that can affect actual change, and it's all you are asked to do. It can't be any simpler. Apathy and ignorance, we got in spades - what we need is action. Too many people think they're being rugged individualists by not voting, when in actuality what they are is idiots. Silence is NEVER the answer.

sloan bayles
7.8.04 @ 11:16a

I was having that EXACT conversation w/ a co-worker yesterday. My opinion has always been, if you don't vote, you don't have the right to bitch. Whether out of apathy, ignorance, laziness, whatever, if you don't exercise your right to vote who cares what your opinion is.

juli mccarthy
7.8.04 @ 11:23a

if you don't exercise your right to vote who cares what your opinion is

Right. You can HAVE all the opinions you want, but if you're not going to exercise the responsibility that goes with them, they're not worth any consideration (beyond mocking them.)

dan gonzalez
7.8.04 @ 11:39a

Taking the stance that "they're all idiots, so don't bother" is irresponsible and foolish.

But what if they all are idiots? Should I flip a coin? Write in Walker?

No, it's more along the lines of Apathetic Assholes Who Adore Alliteration.

Not seeing this. Did I alliterate inadvertantly somewhere? Are you really this fired up?

if you don't vote, you don't have the right to bitch.

I don't grasp this. Abstention is a valid vote in parliament, the UN, etc. No contest is also a valid legal plea. How does voting against a mis-perceived inferior allow one to bitch, but concientious abstention does not?

Also, I am not mocking the system AT ALL. I believe it is nearly flawless as designed, but thoroughly sullied by almost all of the groups within which pundits and politicos commiserate.


juli mccarthy
7.8.04 @ 11:51a

But what if they all are idiots? Should I flip a coin?
Your failing here is not realizing that change takes time and effort. So Bush and Kerry aren't the candidates you would like to choose from - but because they are the top vote-getters, that's who you got. Either of them could have been stopped from acquiring pole position at several points prior. How did they get where they are today? They worked for it, they hustled, they told PEOPLE WHO VOTE what they wanted to hear, and they made enough of an impact that PEOPLE WHO VOTE, did.

dan gonzalez
7.8.04 @ 12:17p

Are you saying that the only valid votes are for Kerry or Bush? So anybody who votes for Nader should not be able to bitch as well?

Also, apathy and ignorance are not on my agenda. I've investigated things as much as anybody, so why call a conscentious abstention apathy? Because I took a light-hearted tone in the essay? The idea of not voting seems to REALLY bother some people.

I don't get it. I respect people's values, not politics. I respect Myer's values, even though he does not seem to respect mine. I respect yours, Sloan's, and Morin's, etc. But politics immediately divide us from that. Any vote is a vote opposite from what 50% of the people think is the morally correct thing to do. 50% of the people are judged immoral in turn. I can't abide this, it defies sensibility.

More logical to me is the fact that most of the people are falsely divided due to deceit and confusion, and that any vote is inherently flawed.

sloan bayles
7.8.04 @ 12:31p

Dan, it's not a question of my respecting your values because I do. It's not even that I disrespect your opinion, I just don't agree with it. Conciensous absetention is something I value when it comes to drinking and driving, but not when it comes to voting.

dan gonzalez
7.8.04 @ 12:44p

but not when it comes to voting

I think I see where you are coming from, Sloan. Discipline is required to the end because of the valuable nature of the vote. So pushing through the conundrum is required. That is valid, and it seems I've given up in early July with several more months of consideration ahead. Further inquiry is required, but for me that requires dialogue, and that is hard to find, except around here. Thus, the next few months could be painful for some of you good people. ;-)

adam kraemer
7.8.04 @ 12:58p

Why is it that I feel like a moderate until Dan goes off on one of his "let's not help the poor" rants?

dan gonzalez
7.8.04 @ 1:38p

"let's not help the poor" rants?

The same reason that Hillary just called the Kerry/Edwards ticket "centrist".

But where did I go and say "let's not help the poor"?

adam kraemer
7.8.04 @ 1:50p

Perhaps I was simplifying. What I meant to say was "let's only help the poor who won't take advantage of it as long as it doesn't look like socialism" rants.

dan gonzalez
7.8.04 @ 2:48p

I'm not sure why people get so fired up about this stuff. Probably because you're good people, and I am an aggravating son-of-a-bitch when it comes to politics.

Goodness aside, if you create a growing pool of dependendents with no exit strategy, who are thus only incented to vote for measures that increase public dependence, eventually they will overwhelm those who support them. If you do not incent them to work and exit the system, it will consume its foundation.
All I'm saying about socialism is that blind socialism, which is all the dems seen to offer lately, is doomed. It's dust-bowl era reform. We have to incent people to get out of welfare, to take reponsibility and make choices for themselves. (Even if that choice is not to vote, that is still a choice.)

But this is not a rant against socialism: that has already been proven to be an invalid system by people much smarter than me, and it has nothing to do with being left or right wing. This is a rant against half-measures by candidates who have no solution to mitigate the one real problem our society has: poverty.

Kerry says "we can't live in a nation where all we do is take care of ourselves." So we have to take care of ourselves, AS WELL AS anyone else who doesn't take care of themselves for WHATEVER REASON they choose to cite. Who are these people that must do the care-taking, how are they identified? And worse, what is the road-map? Bankruptcy or a huge increase in the tax burden. That the latter can lead to the former is self-evident.

You must admit Adam, good heart of yours and all, that something is odd about this. Not the least of which is that one can't self-govern properly when one is on public assistance. I assert that voting for President is the smallest, most useless piece of self-governing you do on any given day, but the things that you do with your resources, how you conduct your personal affairs, those are the real bulding blocks of the system. They are compromised by socialism. But still you'll applaud all those helpless welfare people who rush out to vote for Kerry or whoever, and let them bitch about whatever they want. Then you'll look down on the tax-paying citizens who support them should they choose not to vote and support the charade.


adam kraemer
7.8.04 @ 3:33p

One reason why you're wrong, Dan: The president appoints judges. If I'm going to self-govern, as you put it, I'm damn sure going to do my best to make sure that there's a stop to the filling of vacant circuit court and Supreme Court seats with ultra-conservative, anti-abortion, civil-liberty-denying judges.


juli mccarthy
7.8.04 @ 3:41p

I think a vote for Nader - or for that matter, Mickey Mouse - is better than no vote. Actually, the Nader thing in particular should be mentioned anyway. For the first time in a long time, there were enough votes for a third-party candidate to register as a legitimate percentage. I think Nader's a nutball, but that's one hell of an accomplishment and it shows that apathy is giving way SOMEWHERE.

You must remember that it takes time and money and sheer balls-out ego to run for office. I often refer to the David Dukes fiasco of some years ago - nobody with two brain cells to rub together would have voted for him, and everyone simply assumed that his flaws were glaringly obvious. Meanwhile, a bunch of idiots went out to the polls and elected the stupid SOB.

My point (and I do have one) is that the Presidential election is only one end of the process - you have to start making it work at the other end. Cliches exist because they have some basis in truth, so I leave you with these two to ponder: "Think globally, act locally" and "you must be the change you wish to see in the world."

sloan bayles
7.8.04 @ 4:16p


What she said.

robert melos
7.8.04 @ 4:49p

I've got to agree with Juli. If you have the right to choose and do not use that right, then stop whining when someone evil like Cheney or Bush take control and muck up the world. They could've been stopped five years ago during primaries, but they won their party's nomination and then the Supreme Court gave them the presidency after mishandling of votes in Florida (where the president's brother is governor) left us with a president who got less votes than his opponent. Close to 500k less votes, yet he is the prez.

Even if you feel you vote doesn't count for anything, it is better to have voted and feel screwed then to have not voted at all.

dan gonzalez
7.8.04 @ 4:54p

Uh, so if I show up and write in Mickey Mouse I'm good? But if stay home and think 'Mickey Mouse' I'm not...

Also, my whole point is acting locally. That's why I put that chart in their to show how absurdly irrelevant one's choice for president is compared to the other choices you must make as a citizen. So what if I don't vote for the pres? If I raise my kids to stay out of your way, and not to become reliant on YOUR tax money, I'm as good a citizen as anyone in the 50.7% of people who actually vote. In fact, if everybody did those two SMALL things, we wouldn't even have to vote, the nation would be as close to perfect as is possible.

there's a stop to the filling of vacant circuit court and Supreme Court seats with ultra-conservative, anti-abortion, civil-liberty-denying judges.

Come 'on, get real. Bush hasn't come close to touching abortion, except for officially outlawing ones in a time-period that is already illegal under Roe. Liberals OWN the courts. Our right to bear arms is the one in danger of being lost, and you're going to make sure that happens by voting for Kerry.

juli mccarthy
7.8.04 @ 5:16p

But if stay home and think 'Mickey Mouse' I'm not... Well, now, let's examine this one. I can stay home and think, "golly, I'd like to see someone other than one of these two knuckleheads in office" or I can take my ballot and write at the bottom, "I think Mickey Mouse would do a better job than either of these yahoos." Which method is more likely to be noticed?

As for the gun thing, get theee to the boards. I don't wish to splatter your blood all over innocent bystanders.

adam kraemer
7.8.04 @ 5:17p

You've gotta be kidding, Dan. Look at this list of Bush nominees - and since the GOP owns Congress right now, they're getting appointed (including Holmes two days ago). It's an appointment for life. Why don'tcha read some of their backgrounds, Dan. These are Circuit Court appointees. And you're telling me to get real?

Regarding the right to bear arms, that's never going to be removed from the Constitution. Talk about hyperbole. And nowhere does it argue that we have the right to bear any kind of arms we want.

erik myers
7.8.04 @ 5:31p

Not seeing this. Did I alliterate inadvertantly somewhere? Are you really this fired up?

No. I was talking about me. I'm not het up at all. I'm not vehemently defending a poor position. ;)

I don't care if you don't want to vote. In fact, I'll be happy, because it means my vote for someone -- anyone -- will count, and your vote of obstension won't.

robert melos
7.8.04 @ 8:49p

Uh, so if I show up and write in Mickey Mouse I'm good? But if stay home and think 'Mickey Mouse' I'm not...

I'm not judging whether or not you are good. It doesn't matter what you think at home, unless you take action to make your thoughts happen. So thinking Mickey Mouse won't do much, but voting Mickey Mouse, um, won't do much either.

Now wearing Mickey Mouse ear to the polls might do something, probably get you arrested unless you wear more than just the ears.

The point is, while non-action is considered an action in the metaphyscial realms and England, America is an action country. Just look at most of our movie heroes and the current war. Action!

I see you mentioned respecting the values of others. This works fine, but Bush isn't respecting the values of others. He and his ilk are willing to trample on the values of anyone who doesn't fully believe as they do. It's one thing to say you don't believe in same-sex marriage, but it's quite another to decide that your disbelief should be part of the Constitution.

I won't even get into the judicial appointments because, well, I can't think of one Bush appointment I agree with. They all are so far opposite my way of thinking, I'm surprised we're still on the same planet.


stacy smith
7.8.04 @ 10:55p

Lots of "anti-Bush" people here, and rightfully so. However, what is so good about Kerry?

He's chummy with Ted Kennedy. Residing in the state of MA where living off of beer is considerably cheaper than buying healthy groceries once a week, I fail to see what is so good about the man.

Bush wants a bigger goverment to control people, Kerry wants more tax money to make people dependant on the goverment. Both parties are one of the same, just wearing different socialistic sheep suits.

Then there is the whole pulling the heart strings with bogus lines such as "It's for the children!" Okay, so why is it that children, teens and many adults cannot read, have ADD or ADHD, popping pills for every little ailment that comes their way, ect. Probably because money for presidential campaigns comes from "bundled" funds from corporations that thrive on dependant people.

Makes me want to run out and vote...

tracey kelley
7.8.04 @ 11:10p

crawls under a rock

dan gonzalez
7.8.04 @ 11:14p

GOP owns Congress

Bunk! Congress just rendered the Patriot act useless. They're LIFTING the sanctions against Cuba so Castro can pocket more money. Check with the Cuban-Americans in Florida who are not mindlessly liberal: They're pissed about this. Carefully watch the Florida vote in November. Also, The Supreme court is so liberal they've decided it's okay to WASTE your tax money defending foreignors in our courts.

I think we should all agree how liberal our system is to begin with BEFORE we start deciding who's damaging it further. You cannot continually blame Bush for everything and turn a blind eye to the true causes of failure and waste.

No. I was talking about me. I'm not het up at all. I'm not vehemently defending a poor position. ;)

Alright, brother, I misread you. I like alliteration as well, and thought you were slamming me. Your politics still suck though. ;-)

Both parties are one of the same, just wearing different socialistic sheep suits

Great thoughts, Stacy. I'm with you sister! (But not in an official 'group' sort of way, mind you.). Why can't the rest of you people hear her?

Thanks again to everyone for their thoughts.

robert melos
7.8.04 @ 11:52p

I don't see anything wrong with Ted Kennedy. I'd vote for him if he were running, but I have a feeling with his family history that it isn't healthy for a Kennedy to run for president. And actually being president is a sure suicide mission.

If you want to argue one thing Bush has done aside from making noise about limiting the rights of homosexuals, I'll argue that the man missed his big chance to turn the war in Iraq into a noble venture. Instead of playing up the horrors of Saddam Hussein until they were on every news channel 24/7, and making it about saving the people of Iraq from a tyrant, it was about the threat Hussein was to America, and about WMDs.

You can tell me people knew about the atrocities Hussein committed, but ask people on the street if they even know where Iraq is, and you've got a 50/50 shot they'll guess it right. So instead of showing the horrors of war to Americans, beating them over the head with it until they fully understood it, it is sanitized and the only horrors we see are ones committed by Americans.

Bush can't keep his desire for revenge out of the limelight even when he inadvertantly does a good thing, and saves some people from torture. With him it's all about being the bully, showing his power and strength, instead of showing his compassion. For a "compassionate conservative," a crock term if I've ever seen one, all he is about is being a headstrong bigot masquerading as a caring individual while all he cares about is kissing the butt of powerful Middle Eastern royalty, and oppressing people who are only trying to define their lives by the terms of mainstream society while still holding on to their individuality.

I don't disguise my dislike for Bush. And don't get me started on Cheney.

tim lockwood
7.9.04 @ 1:02a

This is the one!, we say, with the sophmoric hope that we have finally found our true love.

Is anyone really saying that? If Democrats are really being honest with themselves, is Kerry really their best pick? Same question for Republicans - being completely honest with themselves, is Bush really the best they've got?

My bet is, the answer in each case is "no". If it's anything other than "no", my response is "bullshit".

It's a little too late to do anything about it this year, but here's a thought for the future: If you can't find a candidate you like, why not BE a candidate you like?

I mean it, seriously. Start small and run for a local office like county commissioner or school board member or city council member. Work your way up to state rep, then governor. Become the next Lincoln or Kennedy, only without the unfortunate gunfire.

Sometimes voting just isn't enough.

juli mccarthy
7.9.04 @ 1:09a

Tim, Tim, Tim. Isn't it wonderful how everything I say makes perfect sense in retrospect? We've had this discussion before, I remember, and I'm so glad you're on my side of it now. (You take the city, I'll take the school board.)

tim lockwood
7.9.04 @ 1:45a

Juli, I haven't necessarily changed my mind. I still think that a person should be able to cast a "no candidate" vote in an election.

I have, however, amended that thought to add, if you do cast the "no candidate" vote, you should be required by law to do one of the following:

1) At the next election cycle, run for an elected office and serve if you are elected; or

2) At the next election cycle, provide verifiable documented proof that you have contributed at least X number of hours (say, 40 hours) of your time to the campaign of a candidate of your choice for elected office.

juli mccarthy
7.9.04 @ 1:56a

You SHOULD be able to cast a vote for "none of the above" - I'm in total agreement with you there. The key phrase is of course, CAST A VOTE. Personally, I'm of the opinion that you ought to pass some kind of critical thinking proficiency exam to be allowed to vote in the first place, but I do realize I live in this world, not a perfect one.

adam kraemer
7.9.04 @ 11:01a

Yeah. Before they start administering tests to qualify to vote, they really need to start administering tests to qualify to have children.

And, Dan, how can you look at a Republican majority House, a Republican majority Senate, and a Republican president and claim that the government is Liberal? How can you look at a 5-4 conservative/liberal Supreme Court and claim the same thing? I honestly think you're blinded by your fear of socialism.

dan gonzalez
7.9.04 @ 3:02p

Did I say the government was liberal? I thought I said the system is liberal. It doesn't matter, half of the Republican measures in the last twenty years, including what Hastert worked out with Clinton and Bush's healthcare, are LIBERAL plans.

That's why minority owned contractors, including those owned by white women, can charge the gov't 20% more and still automatically win the bids. This is despite the fact that women are more populous, and more women vote. It's a fully liberal system. How else could the ACLU get away with removing a small cross from the LA County seal but leave a giant portrait of the goddess Pomona right in the middle of it?

As for the supreme court, this is another liberal slant. There are three real conservatives, not five. Just because two were appointed by Reagan does not mean they are conservative, and their voting record confirms this.

lisa r
7.10.04 @ 7:08p

I just changed my party affiliation from Democrat to No Affiliation. I don't want to be tarred with ANY party label, major or minor. I pick and choose when I vote, so why not be honest about my ambivalence?

Until we ban lobbyists, we'll never get anyone in federal office (at any level) who actually works to represent the people who put them there.

And while I'm at it: why can't we have a "No Confidence" option? Since we seem to be stuck going to the polls on a yearly basis, let's have an honest-to-goodness way of telling government what we think of the job it's doing...as opposed to political polls that are more skewed than a funhouse mirror image.


dan gonzalez
7.14.04 @ 11:15a

Great thoughts, Red, and good to hear from ya!

Juli has made me reconsider not voting as a valid comdemnation of the system. Initially, I'll admit, this was fear-based intimidation (she's very scary), but I've had time to calm down. So here are my voting thoughts:

Bush: He'll most likely get my vote. Republicans are smaller government, period. Defense spending cycles the economy, invigorates contractors, and has a return on the investment: much it is repaid by income taxes levied to private contractors. Big fines from the FCC do not equal big government overhead. The populist marriage amendment will not pass, a sign that federal democracy is not increasing since the majoriy of Americans support its premise. We had to stand up to the corrupt UN and dishrag Hussein and his Oil for Food/Money for genocide racket.

Nader: He has the best philosophy in terms of honesty about the problems and corruption of the two parties, but is a lark. He'd only get my vote if Bush pulls off something completely demoralizing in the next couple of months.

Kerry: The only good thing about him is holding off Hillary. The dems are weaker overall and a more seriously flawed philosophy. Their tax-and-spend mentality is disastrous over the long-term. Building huge bureaucracies to regulate commerce creates sinkholes of public funds with no return on investment. They are a bigger danger to the constitution and the system of capitalism and individual rights on which it relies for philisophical validity, although they conceal it well. This is because they euphemistically hide concepts such as 'wealth redistribution' and 'equal results for minorities' behind innocous terms like 'civil rights', 'choice' and 'social justice'.

There I am. Feedback welcome.

sloan bayles
7.14.04 @ 11:29a

Just glad you're back on the voting bandwagon Gonzo.

juli mccarthy
7.14.04 @ 5:26p

I have some serious issues with the place of so-called Christian values in government, and as long as the majority of the Republican party espouses those values and is supported by the religious right (which in my opinion is neither) I'm extremely hesitant to cast a vote in their direction. It is most unfortunate that we cannot separate the candidates from the parties.

adam kraemer
7.14.04 @ 6:09p

How, Dan, do you feel about "Civil Rights", "Choice", and "Social Justice"? You seem to be, um, against them.

mike julianelle
7.14.04 @ 6:29p

What Juli said.

lisa r
7.14.04 @ 10:58p

Interesting comment, Juli. A candidate for the US House in my hometown, who also happens to be the son-in-law of a longtime family friend in the church, is running a very religious-themed campaign. His ads are heavily sprinkled with references to returning Christian family values to government, etc. and also recently got in trouble with Billy Graham's son Franklin for using him (Franklin Graham) in one of his ads without permission. Seems the candidate's people accidentally on-purpose failed to tell Mr. Graham that he would be made to look as if he was actively endorsing the candidate.

I have a problem with this on two fronts. First, although my faith has been strengthened over the past few months by issues unrelated to politics (the following of which is guaranteed to make one LOSE one's religion, IMO), I am a firm believer in the separation of church and state--check your religious beliefs at the government doors, thankyouverymuch. I don't want government even subliminally trying to legislate my morality--that's what I go to church for.

Second, it's hypocritical to natter on about family values while at the same time being underhanded in the way your campaign staff, and by association YOU, try to sway the public. Either someone endorses you or he/she doesn't, but be upfront about it. Don't rely on innuendo and implication, and don't use someone of Franklin Graham's stature in the Christian community in such a devious way. The man sits on my parents' pew every Sunday. Next time I'm home, I'm going to have a hard time looking him in the eye without my contempt for his actions showing. The whole episode seriously damaged my respect for this man, despite my deepest regards for his in-laws.


dan gonzalez
7.14.04 @ 10:59p

With the place of so-called Christian values in government, and as long as the majority of the Republican party espouses those values

But you have no problem with the democrats' irrational beliefs in the tenets of religious humanism? Believe me, the left is as religious as anybody, and I can prove that beyond a shadow of a doubt. (AHA - Humanist Manifestoes, last one signed in 2002.)

How, Dan, do you feel about "Civil Rights", "Choice", and "Social Justice"? You seem to be, um, against them.

I wrote poorly if you got that. I'm for actual civil rights and choices for individuals, not the shams the left is giving us in their stead. I'm not even sure what "Social Justice" is: smoke and mirrors can't be defined too specifically if they're going to function as desired.

My point was that individual rights and choice are what should be supported, NOT wealth redistribution to augment desired group results, which is what the cabal of NOW, ACLU, Naral, NEA, NAACP, Planned Parenthood, Greenpeace, etc., etc., etc. are ALL about. And I can prove that too. (The mission statements for all those groups are crystal clear on this.)

You can vote for Kerry if you want, but you cannot successfully argue that you have voted for a less religious, less dogmatic candidate.

juli mccarthy
7.14.04 @ 11:16p

You misunderstand, Dan. I'm one of those way-out people who objects to the phrase "under God" in our pledge of allegiance, and to the fact that our currency says "In God we trust." What a person believes is his or her own business - but the Republican alliance with the "religious right" makes their beliefs MY business, and it infringes on ME. Religion has NO PLACE in government. ANY religion.

robert melos
7.15.04 @ 12:32a

Ah, religion. A fun topic. I am a very religious person, very strongly anchored in my spiritual beliefs. I also happen to be Pagan, and my beliefs are still very much similar to most of your so-called mainstream religions. The main tenet of my beliefs is to "harm none, do as you will."

Now that we know where I stand, I too am against the mingling of Church and State. If a person lives by their religious beliefs, and votes by their religious beliefs, meaning their personal code of morality, that is fine. I would expect most people to vote and live by their own morality, but I do not want that morality preached to me, as it is being done almost every time George W. Bush opens his mouth.

With as often as he invokes the name of God in his public speaking, I'm surprised he hasn't been struck by lightning. Of course that's just my own morality rearing up.

I don't believe "The Church", any church, should have a voice in government. Voting your morality would also mean voting in accordance with the laws of the land, and voting in accord with compassion and with the betterment of life for all the human race in mind.

adam kraemer
7.15.04 @ 2:49p

A quote from Kerry and Edwards in a recent interview:
"Abraham Lincoln wisely avoided trying to invoke God on the side of the North or against the South, but prayed that he was on God's side. I think that that's the lesson that John and I would bring to this. We are both people of deep faith," says Kerry.

"I think that and I respect the president's faith. I don't question it. None of us do. But I think it's important for us to be really mindful of not stepping over that precious line that the founding fathers drew. And I believe that on a number of occasions this president has stepped over that line," says Kerry.

Edwards adds: "It is not the job of the president of the United States to decide what the religion of America is or what the religion of the world should be."

And that's what I agree with. I'm a fairly religious person myself - if not overly observant. I want my president to believe in God. But I don't want him to believe that God was responsible for his election.

That's where I draw the line.


dan gonzalez
7.15.04 @ 10:50p

I've actually not heard a lot of Bush's God quotes. I have no idea what he's said about them. To me, there's perfectly sensible reasons for his decisicions, including the marriage amendment, which is not about God or religion, but rather about the %70 of Americans that oppose it.

Personally, I'm not religious per se. I'm more of an existentialist. As I indicated in the column, any supernatural or extra-existential concept, such as God, Yahweh, Krishna, Allah, or a humanist's belief in 'the greater good of humanity' only allow us elude the truth and assuage the pain and absurdity of existence. While I welcome anybody to believe what they want, none of it belongs in public policy, including the humanist crap that the ACLU has the religious left buying into. As such, if I have to vote, I'll vote for whoever is likely to affirm the most rights for the greatest number of individuals, regardless of what groups or beliefs those individuals partake in.

robert melos
7.16.04 @ 12:40a

Dan, Bush may have mentioned 70% of Americans are opposed to same-sex marriage, although that number varies depending on who is polled, but every time he talks on the subject he brings up the religious factor. It goes against his version of the Bible. It goes against his religious beliefs. I'm really more disappointed in Dick Cheney as the father of a lesbian that he would take a stand letting his daughter know how little she means to him in such a public way. I can't imagine any parent who cannot accept their children as they are. It is just hurtful.

adam kraemer
7.16.04 @ 10:49a

Well, first of all, there's a difference between opposing gay marriage because 70% of the population does and actually calling for Congress to pass a freakin' amendment to the Constitution defining what marriage is. I mean, come on. That goes beyond political motivations.

Second, Dan, you're saying that you'd rather give the majority of the population the right to opress the minority, if it means more people have rights? What if the majority of the population called for the right to put all Hispanics in internment camps?

Today's Republican party is all about smaller government until someone does something they don't like and then they try to legislate against it - abortion, gay marriage, taxing the rich, freedom of speech on the airwaves.... At least I agree with the liberal viewpoint that we should try to help people.

juli mccarthy
7.16.04 @ 11:06a

Eh, Adam, I don't know if the "liberal viewpoint" is that we should help people so much as it is that we should ensure that all people have the right to help themselves.

Well no, I phrased that badly - the liberal viewpoint probably IS that we should help people, and that's why I hesitate to grab the label. Helping people implies that they would be unable to achieve something without help.

adam kraemer
7.16.04 @ 11:31a

I was really just contrasting it with the Republican viewpoint that we should help ourselves.

juli mccarthy
7.16.04 @ 11:33a

I was really just contrasting it with the Republican viewpoint that we should help ourselves.
Ah, you mean helping ourselves at the expense of others?

adam kraemer
7.16.04 @ 11:57a

Not necessarily at the expense, so to speak. I don't think there's that much maliciousness in it. Maybe "helping ourselves with no consideration for others."

juli mccarthy
7.16.04 @ 11:59a

Yes, thank you. That's what I meant.

adam kraemer
7.16.04 @ 12:05p

I mean conservatism might work better than liberalism, but it's decidedly more callous and mean. Quarantining every AIDS patient might stop the spread of the disease, but it's not exactly the compassionate solution. I feel the same way about most Republican initiatives. Tax breaks for the rich might help the economy in the long-run, but it's not gonna pay for a hospital stay for a poor 8-year-old with pneumonia.

dan gonzalez
7.17.04 @ 3:24p

Second, Dan, you're saying that you'd rather give the majority of the population the right to opress the minority,

No, I'm not saying that. The amendment is wrong, and would be wrong if 99% of the people agreed on it. The same would be true for an amendment which made abortion a right. It has to do with the scope of federal powers, which are intentionally limited toward moderating the state-individual relationship.

Here are some other thoughts, thanks all for reading and discussing.

The Constitution calls for people to self-govern. No matter what else, this unequivocally means "help yourself and be responsible". Everybody has the same individual rights, and there are no such thing as minority rights. There are laws to mitigate one's interference with another.

The Liberal viewpoint was founded on the need to help some people who lacked the means or rights to help themselves, but it has decayed into a battle to shape the results. This is because of the disposition liberal groups have taken in recent years.

The Conservative viewpoint overlooks the basic fact that some things, like unemployment and poverty, will debilitate the population's ability to self-govern and thus allows individuals to get lost.

The problem cannot be solved simply by wealth-redistribution. It cannot be solved by bigger government or worse, by expanding federal powers to exceed their given role to directly govern individuals. The problems, I think, will only be solved by empowering individuals. This, I think, is closest to the libertarian viewpoint.

Quarantining every AIDS patient might stop the spread of the disease, but it's not exactly the compassionate solution

I'd also add that this is what Castro is currently doing. You know, Fidel Castro the communist, as in far-left liberal? The Castro that Hollywood Liberals, the Democrats, and the ACLU support?

So let's ignore the actual demonstrated fascism of the left while running around scared of some mythical fascism that the hysterical media has us convinced Bush is implementing.


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