Politics of Fear

Politics has always fascinated me, even at a young age, which is funny, because my father isn’t that into politics. He certainly follows it and he has opinions, but I don’t think he’s quite as passionate and invested as I am. Talking to him the other day about the current candidates, I got the sense that he has reached a stage of quiet hopelessness, and a total lack of faith in the political system, and I think that this is true of a lot of Americans. Those of us who remain optimistic about political reform still sometimes feel as though we are at the bottom of a tall cliff looking up to our goals.

There are a lot of things about our political system which bother me, and one of them is the fact that we basically only have two parties, and those parties are largely the same. It’s just that the Democrats play dirty; they waffle and pretend to support things and then quietly turn around and do nasty things behind our backs. At least I know how the Republicans roll, and they don’t pull any punches, but the Democrats are insidious in a way which really defies the imagination. I’m proud to say that I’m not registered as a Democrat, and I don’t actually know very many Democrats, when I think about it.

I’ve been trying to keep up with the debates and various public appearances of the candidates, and while it’s a bit early for me to make any sort of official endorsement (not that my endorsement really matters), I think I’m going to end up standing behind Kucinich. I’m also mildly interested in Edwards, but there are a few issues I would like to see him iron out before I can get too enthusiastic about him. Because I’m tired of being told that I should make choices on the basis of electability, rather than a candidate’s personal beliefs and his or her actions.

A friend recently told me that I should “vote for whoever you want in the primary, but you have to vote for the Democrat in the election.” And I happen to think that this is complete and utter codswallop. I think that people need to vote for the candidates that they can support in good faith, and that people should not be muscled into making political choices on the basis of fear. Fear causes people to make really stupid choices.

Basically, people are tricked into thinking that a vote for a minority candidate is a vote for a Republican candidate, and that’s just not true. A vote for a Green party candidate, for example, is a vote for the Green party; how could you possibly say that it’s a vote for the Republicans? Voting is an intensely personal and private act, and you shouldn’t let other people tell you how to vote; I vote for what I believe in because I have too much self integrity to make a choice which is predicated on fear, or what someone else tells me to do. If people were able to break free of fear-based voting, maybe our political system would change instead of remaining the same through administration after administration.

I will probably vote for Kucinich in the primary, and if he made it to the national election, I would vote for him then. I will not vote for Clinton or Obama if they make the national ticket, because I cannot, in good faith, support either of these candidates. I’ll probably write about why in more detail later, but in brief I think that both of them are sneaky little political animals who are way too focused on kissing ass and not focused enough on actually enacting clear, positive change. They’re both Republicans in donkey’s clothing, and if they are elected, we’re going to see the elephant in the room pretty quickly. (Sorry, I’ve been dying to use that line.)

If Kucinich doesn’t make the national ticket, and I don’t think he will, sadly, I’m not sure who I’m going to vote for. I think I would have a tough time supporting one of the Republican candidates, but, who knows, that might change. It’s highly unlikely, of course, because Republicans seem to be getting more conservative than ever, and I doubt that they will nominate a moderate. I think that the Republicans and I are pretty morally opposed, but if a candidate can set aside his or her morals, I believe that Republicans and I have similar beliefs about government, especially old-school Republicans.

I don’t understand how people can claim to support radical revolution in American politics and then vote for pussies. America, it’s time to grow some balls and stand up for what you believe in.