On American Party Politics
I am writing this on the morning of Wednesday, November 8, 2000. I have the day off, so I just woke up at 11:00 a.m., and I haven't turned on the TV yet. When I went to bed last night, NBC gave Bush and Gore 242 electoral votes each, and the state where I live, Florida, was deemed "too close to call."
So I don't know how the election turned out yet. I didn't vote for either of them, anyway. I knew there was no way the guy I voted for would be the next President, but I didn't want to vote for someone who was merely the lesser of the two evils. I'm proud of the approximately 80,000 (last figures I saw) Florida voters who stuck to their principles and voted for any of the third-party candidates, though it risked giving the election to their least favorite of The Big Two. I want the ideas of third parties to be given attention, maybe credence, rather than trying to find real differences (such few as exist) between Democrat and Republican.
The first purpose of law and government is to protect the public safety. I think it's astounding that half the voters of the U.S. voted for a man who endangered the public safety by drunk driving. If he didn't have the judgment to give his keys to someone else before he got too loaded, why would you trust Bush to judge American domestic and foreign policy?
Gore never grabbed me either. Not even as far back as 1988 when I was a 15-year-old in high school class discussions. He still seems a little too willing to try and legislate morality, traditionally more of a conservative trait. His wife's leading the PMRC, the Democrats' current "Clean Up Hollywood" stance -- those things are none of government's business, but Al Gore went along with those positions.
So, as the leading third-party candidate, Nader only got 2% or so of the vote in Florida. So it's not the 5% the Green party needed to get federal matching funds for the next election. (Why in hell does government subsidize the two leading parties only? All or none, I say.) With the election so close, that 2% is a force to be reckoned with. You think the major parties won't pay attention to the Green platform, since so many voted for it? I think The Big Two will be worrying about the next election. Even if the Nader votes turn out to be a smaller number than the gap between Gore and Bush votes, all the third-party candidates have helped sent a message that the guy with the majority does not have a "mandate from the people" to rule.
The other parties aren't perfect, but they're closer to a match with my beliefs than the same old centrists. I'm glad there are candidates out there to represent me. Vote third-party and let The Big Two know how wide the true range of American political thought is.
Addendum at the time of typing: After hand-writing this essay and having breakfast, I turned on the TV to find that there still isn't a declared winner of the Presidential election, and that Florida will be the deciding factor; it's so close here that quite a lot of counties are recounting the ballots, just to make sure. A classic example of how every vote can make a difference. But I'm still not sorry that I didn't vote for Bush or Gore and help settle this close battle.
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