#112 The Lesser of Two Evils (2004)

All Rights Reserved © 2004 Thomas W. Day

Since 1968, every election in which I've voted, for every significant office, state or federal, the choices have been the selection of the lesser of two evils; Demolican or Republicrat, conservative or less conservative, Tweedly Dee or Tweedly Dumb.  Since I began my voting career writing-in my Presidential candidate, Eugene McCarthy, I pretty much did the same for every other office on the ballot.  Except for the rare exception of a local candidate who I know and believe might be uncorrupted enough to do some good in political office, I have written-in a candidate for almost every office for which I've voted in the last 36 years.  If I didn't write-in someone I thought could do the job, I voted for one of the alternative party candidates.  Maybe that's a wasted vote, but I don't think so. 

The only vote I feel I ever wasted was in 1996, here in Minnesota, for the office of state governor.  The race was tight, too close to call between the Demolicans or Republicrats.  An alternative party was fronting a complete political unknown, Independence Party candidate Jesse Ventura, for the office and while I thought Ventura would make a terrific governor I thought the Republicrat, Norm Coleman, would be a disaster for the state.  Coleman was a corporate welfare promoter for sports teams and crooked construction companies as the mayor of St. Paul and I thought bringing that attitude to the state government would be a disaster.  I voted for Hubert Humphrey II, the Demolican, a candidate I despised from his pitiful performance as the state auditor. 

I was disgusted with myself as I cast my vote.  I wasn't voting for someone I respected, for the first time in my life, I was voting against someone I despised.  Even more disgusting, I had a choice on the ballot.  I had a choice that I thought was better than anyone I could have written-in for the office.  Out of cowardice, fear of the more obvious evil, I voted for someone who I thought had no chance of doing the job well, but who had a chance of winning. 

As if fate was trying to teach me a lesson in civic responsibility, Jesse Ventura won.  For the first time in my life, I had a chance to vote for both someone I respected and someone who had a chance of winning and I missed it.  For a brief moment in my life, I was a conservative, a political coward, and I was rewarded for that failure when I watched Jesse's election celebration and knew that I'd had nothing to do with that success.  I never felt less of an American than the evening of Ventura's inaugural celebration.  I will never again vote for the lesser of two evils.  A recent bumper sticker reads, "Kerry sucks less."  I'm not convinced that is a terrific endorsement.  Bush, on the other hand, sucks more.  That doesn't make the choice much easier. 

I'm an American.  I don't give a damn about the "rights" of international corporations, dictators, kings and queens, the idle rich, or any other piece of worthless human crap.  The positive history of this country is all about the battle between the middle class and the inherited power class.  I'm back in the war and I don't care if we win it this year or any other election.  If I do my part, the rest is up to you.

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