Ballot Boxes, Green Parties, Voting Rights, Conservative Democrats, and Hollywood Republicans.

This year, the Presidential election of 2008, will mark the fourth time I could vote for the leader of the “free world”. Actively interested in both local and national politics since before I could vote, I have a dilemma. Reading this blog, one could see I am most definitely a conservative. Notice I didn’t say Republican.

When I was young the first president I knew was Ronald Reagan. Understanding of politics for me came early on because both of my parents and my grandparents where loud, opinionated, strong-willed people. My grandfather, whom I will respect to my dying day, was a staunch Democrat, as was my grandmother. My parents are staunch Republicans. Growing up in this environment, I was truly exposed to both sides of our political spectrum. The debates about Reagan became debates about Bush Sr., which in turn became debates about Clinton, etc. Each time the political power shifted in Congress or the Presidency, there were all new debates. Sadly, after my grandfather passed away a few years back, the debate between two generations older than me ended.

Replacing the old debates where new ones between my brother, my parents, and myself.
Our family had been conservative Republican for decades. Even during my brother’s tour in Iraq, we always supported the Republican Party’s efforts for securing America’s safety. Domestically, we were left behind by the broken promises of the Republicans. I voted for Bush Jr. twice. Hoping that what I saw in domestic weakness, and out of control anti-State’s rights bills would be fixed once Bush Jr. did not have to worry about re-election. After almost eight years of Republican leadership, with at least four in both the Legislative and the Executive branches, I am no longer a Republican. I am a conservative.

Last weekend for Father’s Day, I called my Dad. As usual the conversation went straight to politics. An hour into the call, I admitted I didn’t want to vote this year. Few things are as unacceptable in my family as non-participation in the election process. Each male member, except me, in my family on both sides for generations has served the military during war-time. Dad reminded me that those that come before pay for our voting rights. I explained that while I may feel like not voting, I would always go to the ballot box. Explaining that I had a dilemma between two bad scenarios, I was able to calm the situation.

On one hand, I see a Democratic candidate that promises to squeeze the top-end money earners (of which I am not), and to help the middle class (of which I am at the bottom) with broad sweeping taxes. As a conservative and someone who opposes the government being a cradle-to-grave provider and protector, the proposed tax instantly disqualifies Barak Obama as a choice for me. On the other hand, John McCain the Republican is no conservative either. John McCain brags on how he appointed the two most liberal justices to the Supreme Court while wooing ex-Hilary supporters. John McCain also supported and co-authored the McCain-Feingold bill that allows the government’s even more reach into the lives of its citizenry. For the first time in my life, since I could vote, I have no clear representative of my views; after the primaries; in the running for President of the United States. I am not a Green Party man either. The party that wants to impeach the President and cause an abrupt and irresponsible end to the war simply isn’t for me. (http://www.gp.org/impeachbush/ 06/19/08)

Bogged down in a world of Conservative Democrats; who are not as liberal but who still want my money more and more each day; Hollywood Republicans; who at best cannot make a sizeable stand without grave personal risk and at worst are simply smoking cigars to look conservative while making back deals with liberal friends and family; who should I vote for?

Answering the call for help is Nina May in her article “Are Conservative Blacks running to Barack . . . or away from McCain?” on TulsaToday.com from Wednesday, 18 June 2008. Mrs. May suggests that if you are a conservative and you are not satisfied with your current field of choices, write in an alternative. She even gives some examples of people to use as good replacements. The article is addressed mostly to those conservative members of the African-American community who are torn between a less-than-conservative white candidate and a more-than-liberal black candidate. The message of Mrs. May still resounded with my frustration, even if it was intended for someone else.

Could resolving my conflict be that easy? Should I just write-in an alternative? Realistically, would that person have a hell’s chance in winning? Do I bear any culpability if I “throw away” my vote and the greater of two bad choices comes to power? Will my act of rebellion really change anything in reality? How many people would be needed to effect such a change, after all didn’t Ross Perot garner about 25% of the vote (including my parents) and still the parties haven’t changed for the better? Do I simply “suck it up” and vote for a guy I have no interest in winning because I want his opponent to loose? How can we come back from this place where all our choices are based on not letting the worse of two evils win?

It looks like I have a lot to ponder before November.

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