Sunday, October 31, 2010

Staying Home on Tuesday

I won't be voting this year. And I'm pretty contempt with that. After just getting off the phone with one of my political science professors, he seemed disappointed in my decision, but if I could explain the merits in a way he could understand, I felt even more okay about it.

I just can't support the Republicans. I cannot vote for them, and I cannot give my support to third party organizations like the Libertarians, or the Greens. Ideologically, I align with the libertarian ideology probably 85-90% of the time, or 95% if I can better articulate the nuance. Once I even threw away my vote by giving it to a Green running for governor.

But the past few years, I've seen what appears to be an irreversible turn for the worse in the Republican and Libertarian parties. Both are bombarded by Tea Party fanatics, people who treat opposition to tax hikes like they're commandments, the intellectually lazy, overly populist, anti-gay, birthers, and peppered with some truthers.

I was going to work for Andrew "Rocky" Raczkowski, an Oakland County Republican looking to unseat first-term Rep. Gary Peters. I wanted to get back in the game after quitting midway in the 2006 Primary and not doing anything in 2008. Apparently Rocky made some comments...in campaign-speak he gave a wink and a nod to the racist anti-Obama crowd by saying indirectly he wasn't a US citizen. Rocky is an officer in the US Army Reserve and has served the nation honorably in Somalia, but what he did was way too over the line for me. He tried saying he didn't believe Obama was a legit president without directly saying it, giving himself an outlet in case he'd have to backpedal to the media. So upon hearing that, I opted to not associate myself with him.

But Republicans have simply lost their minds. This Tea Party isn't necessarily a movement based on race, hatred of Obama, fear of socialism, or a clandestine strategy on the part of fascists bent on consolidating power in the hands of a few - it is like any other movement in the nation's history. A political movement that is organized by a small number of wealthy individuals and was somehow able to capture the imagination of an angry portion of the electorate seeking an outlet for that fomenting rage.

However, this Tea Party is what's given us people like Joe Miller in Alaska and Christine O'Donnell in Connecticut. The Republicans in their respective states had intelligent and articulate moderate conservatives who had broader appeal in Lisa Murkowski and Mike Castle. By doing this, the Tea Partiers have in fact cost the GOP the Senate.

I'm no Democrat. I hold a lot of right-leaning and a lot of left-leaning views. I'm pro-gun, pro-vouchers, flat income tax, abolishing the National Endowment for the Arts, partial privatization of Social Security, and I support right-to-work laws. But I'm also pro-choice, for gay marriage and giving couples the right to adopt, legalizing marijuana, and I'm for reducing the defense budget.

It came down to character. By and large, I probably agree more with Sharron Angle than Harry Reid, but Angle has too many character defects to be trusted as a US Senator.

Just goes to show, sometimes you have to separate character from the issues a person takes.

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