So I carried mi rumpe to my local poll for the desultory vote. Politics are especially foul right now, and I just cannot energize myself for any vote. Never mind the constant campaign phone calls and relentless attack ads. I ignore those. (I did really enjoy NPR's clever take on the matter—John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt. His name is my name too. Whenever we go out. The people always shout: "Hey! What about Iraq?"). It's all more fundamental than that.
The number one political issue for me is the alarming grab of executive power by the Bush administration. I could talk at length about this one issue, but I'll save that for another time (others have expounded on this as well as I can, but the problem is that no one is really listening). My vote can't do very much to make a difference there. I can vote to bring about a congressional (but not Senate, this year) majority in opposition to Bush, but I don't know if that works in an atmosphere where politicians on both sides seem to be cowed by Bush's claims that not giving him a king's grip on liberty will threaten us all with annihilation at the hands of terrorists. Heck, even Ken Salazar, whom I generally like, and who is a Juris Doctor, and so should understand the implications, voted in favor of the landmark Military Commissions Act. Honestly, if Bush manoeuvered to suspend presidential elections in 2008 in the name of national security, I'd be only mildly surprised. And I'm not confident we have an opposition party with the character to check such excess.
And party is the touchstone of discontent in U.S. politics. I presently lean Democratic, despite being in many ways what Americans call a "conservative" (and what everyone else calls a liberal). It's less of an ideological matter than a matter of being appalled at the conduct and policy of those in power right now. We desperately need a credible opposition to keep the brigands more honest. We have two truly bad political parties at present. Bad for different reasons. I don't know what worries me more, the prospect that Republicans might hold on to the house, or that Nancy Pelosi of all clumsy figures might become Speaker. I actually like Pelosi's voting record (there are some demerits, but there are such for most congress-peeps). She's not as left wing as her enemies make her out to be, but she is often far from her own most effective advocate, and I think she's as capable of hurting the opposition cause as her predecessor Gephardt. It's the same problem with Hillary Clinton, who is not as left wing as she is made out to be by the right wing, but who would nevertheless possibly create a hazard for the key goal of changing the order of the executive branch so that some of the might be reversed. Then again, I do wonder if even a Democrat, finding himself in the presidency, would have the integrity to shrink the government's power.
And who would that Democrat be? The only figure in that party I think I could get excited on as a presidential candidate is Barack Obama. On the other hand, there are two Republicans I would easily back for presidency: John McCain and Colin Powell. I would have supported McCain over Gore in 2000 (not that I was then eligible to vote), despite the fact that I thought Clinton was our best president since Roosevelt. I think McCain would have been more likely to carry on that excellence than Gore. Yet McCain is lacking honor even in his own party because they don't consider him right sufficiently right wing. Powell, of course has done the sane if unfortunate thing in removing himself from the fray. I am sooooo not looking forward to 2008.
Meanwhile most of our ballot here in Colorado is dominated by constitutional amendments. People here just don't seem to get that a constitution is the foundation, not the edifice of laws. Well, to be fair, they probably get that, but they also know that such ballot initiatives are the most effective way to run an end around the legislature. I petty much struck everything down (except for a provision to remove obsolete clauses), even stuff I agree with in principle. If we want all these laws we should properly elect representatives who will enact them. I signed up for representative democracy, not mob rule.
Callooh! Callay! I voted. How fricking frabjous.