Monday, January 18, 2010

"The common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it." -George Washington

From George Washington's Farewell Address in 1796:
"I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.
This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.
The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.
Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.
It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another."
 Why I'm not voting for Scott Brown:
 -He's pro death penalty.
-He's pro torture.
-He doesn't believe that we need a public health care option.
-He's pro Patriot Act.
-I could go on, but there isn't much that appeals to me about his candidacy or policies.

Why I'm not voting for Martha Coakley:
While Martha Coakley was Massachusetts Attorney General, she supported the renewal of the Patriot Act.  Any candidate that believes we can abandon our Constitutionally protected freedoms in the interest of National Security won't get my support.  That's why I supported Alan Khazei and Mike Capuano in the primaries. 

Why I'm not voting for Joe Kennedy:
I admit, he's intriguing.  He supports HR 2943.  He's against the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.  He has some interesting ideas about economic reform, but his anti-tax, anti government regulation platform is nonsense and will lead to financial anarchy far worse than anything we have ever seen.  Any casual student of American History knows that the golden age of Laissez-Faire Capitalism was full of booms, busts, shortages, instability and zero protections for average citizens.
Joe Kennedy is a little too Libertarian for my tastes.  His self proclaimed "Tea Party Candidate" label turns my stomach due to the racist un-American undertones of the 'Tea Party Movement'.  He doesn't get my vote.
So where does that leave me?  I am going to vote, and I'll have to write someone in.  Most people I discuss politics with admonish me for throwing away my vote on third party candidates and write ins.  I completely disagree- I refuse to vote for a flawed Democrat or Republican candidate because the two party system fails to produce meaningful candidates.   We end up choosing between Tweedledee and Tweedledum, and these choices produce voter apathy and low turnout.  I always vote in Democratic primaries, and my candidates never win.  But I do show up as a progressive, unabashedly liberal voice in a party that is being frightened to the center and irrelevance.  And for the past 10 years I've voted along with Green Party candidates who best represent where I stand politically.

I register my dissent by not voting for establishment candidates that represent the worst of the two party system which has been co-opted by lobbyists, the military industrial complex, and financial conglomerates that are more concerned with profit margins than social justice and the well being of our planet.  If more people registered their dissent in this manner, perhaps we would have a more representative government.  After all, politicians hate it when we ignore them.  They can dismiss a few vocal protesters and ignore the apathetic non-voters.  But if we all unite and register our displeasure at the polls, then they will have to listen.

Please vote tomorrow.  If you don't like any of the candidate, write in an eligible citizen.  They have to be 30 years old and reside in Massachusetts.  All you need to do is write in their name and address, and you have registered your dissent, and that is far more powerful than staying home and doing nothing.

"You can't be neutral on a moving train." - Howard Zinn


Nicole said...

Thanks for your thoughts.

I ended up voting for Joe Kennedy, even though I felt some of his feelings about enemy combattants were anti-libertarian ideals, and I didn't like the Tea Party association stuff. But -- as much as possible -- I try to vote for the Libertarian or the Green party candidates. (I voted Green in the last presidential election, because I didn't think Bob Barr (L) was anything more than an opportunist.)

SFD said...

I'm going to keep on voting third party until there Dennis Kucinich and Bernie Sanders move to Massachusetts.

I've never understood party loyalty.