I've been bogged down in my depression about the Red Sox to the extent that I've managed to miss a news cycle here and there with important content.
Today's NY Times:
Oct. 14 - With less than three weeks before the election, Ralph Nader is emerging as just the threat that Democrats feared, with a potential to tip the balance in up to nine states where President Bush and Senator John Kerry are running neck and neck. Despite a concerted effort by Democrats to derail his independent candidacy, as well as his being struck off the Pennsylvania ballot on Wednesday, Mr. Nader will be on the ballots in more than 30 states.
"[Kerry]'s not his own man," Mr. Nader said on Tuesday in a telephone interview from California. "Because he takes the liberals for granted, he's allowing Bush to pull him in his direction. It doesn't show much for his character."
Why does this worry me?
I voted for Nader in 2000. I did so because I was upset with the political system, disenchated with the candidates, and didn't feel like the party platforms were different enough from each other for me to care about either Gore or Bush. True, they and did have different records on certain issues, but the concept of this country's corrupt two-party system silencing any voices of dissent from outside it was enough for me to vote independent. I didn't necessarily agree with all of Nader's beliefs and positions, but I did agree with his notion that the RNC and DNC, left unchecked by true democracy, were simply two corrupt, nihilistic juggernauts.
This wasn't a new feeling. I actually campaigned for Ross Perot, for God's sake. The spirit of standing outside the polls in the rain on November 2 with a Perot sign in my hand was the same as my vote for Nader. My support had little to do with the men, and more to do with the over-arching meaning their candidacies brought to their respective elections.
So why am I not voting for Nader this year? I still believe the two-party system to be incapable of true democratic ideals, because the system perpetuates itself by stymieing outside thought. The DNC sued the Nader campaign this year to keep him off the ballot in many states, a move that proved unsuccessful for the most part. That's ridiculous. The Commission on Presidential Debates is run by the RNC and the DNC! Of course no third-party candidates are allowed debate, because they would upset the status-quo.
But I'm still not voting for Nader this year. To be sure, I have no great love for John Kerry. I'm not inspired by him, and I don't believe he is capable of changing this country in any drastic measure. I just know I don't want Bush.
Is selling myself out like this, throwing my beliefs and ideals under the proverbial bus, right? I don't know. Part of me fears that once I have cast my ballot, voting for the 'lesser evil' rather than for my belief in free, independent, democratic thought, I won't be able to turn back. Part of me fears that by compromising my ideals, I won't be able to stand by them any more. That they'll be tainted by my willingness to disregard them.
I'm not a Republican or Democrat. I don't blindly follow the platform, candidates and belief structures imposed upon me by corrupt party leaders. I'm democrat, with a lower-case d. At least, I know I am until this November 2nd.