why i voted for dennis

Tuesday 4 March 2008

I suppose this could have maybe been more effective before the polls closed in Ohio, where I voted by absentee ballot this year, but I thought it would be apt to post today, too. I sent my ballot through the mail about 3 weeks ago, and if what I think I know about absentee balloting in Ohio is true, my vote probably won’t show up on the Internet or television tonight, but it will still be counted. And in the end, my singular vote probably won’t directly change the number of delegates who go to one Democratic candidate over the other (I pulled a Democratic ballot this year), it is important nonetheless. And while it’s obviously a race between Barack and Hilary, when I filled in the oval with my #2 pencil, it was next to neither of their names. Am I foolish? You might think so. But here’s why I voted for Dennis Kuchinich.

There are probably lots of reasons one could argue I shouldn’t have voted for Dennis: he “isn’t electable” (based on some poll figures and such), he stopped actively campaigning over a month ago (he was fighting to hold on to his place in the House tonight), he could never “beat McCain.” The list could go on, I’m sure. And those might be reasons you wouldn’t or didn’t vote for Mr. Kuchinich (as the NY Times would call him), but for me, those aren’t good enough any more. I’m tired of voting for whoever the Democratic candidate ends up being in November because she or he is surely “better than a Republican” and we know it’s really only a two person race anyway, no matter how many names are on the ballot (and who those other candidates would “take votes from,” leading to such a situation that occurred in 2000).

But that’s my problem: we too easily “settle.” Am I not to select the candidate who I feel would be the best person for the job? And if I don’t, why would the candidate I end up voting for have any incentive the change their ways to what I wished they were like? I mean, they got my vote the way they were, right? It’s not that I dislike Clinton or Obama — in fact, I would rather have either of them than that man from Arizona; it’s just that I like Kucinich better (much better, I might say). I don’t consider it throwing my vote away at all — I need to let me voice be heard, that I’m tired of “business as usual,” of playing games with corporations and “special interests” and all that jazz — and that I want our president and government to do what is truly best for all the people of this country and this world, not what’s best for those who will later help them fund their re-election campaign.

I’m sure there are some of you I still haven’t convinced, who will still vote for “the best of the rest,” but if you think it’s at least a worthy thing to vote for someone who stopped putting money into his presidential campaign in January, I probably should tell you why I marked Kucinich instead of one of the others promising “change.”

For one thing, Kucinich is a peace candidate. His main slogan was “Strength Through Peace.” We’ve heard promises of pulling out of Iraq (with certain conditions and time lines) from other candidates, but it’s more than just how you deal with one situation; it’s about an ideology. It’s about dealing through diplomacy and refusing to support militarism, handling misunderstandings and conflicts with conversation and discussion instead of bombs and bullets. Kucinich doesn’t believe “the best defense is a good offense,” as some do, but knows that the best possible situation is to not have to worry about defending from anyone at all.

Another issue is health care. Most people think providing everyone with adequate health care is a basic human right — especially in “the richest nation on the planet” — but people disagree on how to get there. Kucinich’s plan doesn’t perpetuate the current “for-profit” corporate business model of insurance companies and HMOs which causes some companies to seek out ways to get out of paying claims. It isn’t a plan that seeks to insure everyone by requiring them to have insurance or subsidizing them so they can afford it, a plan which creates an even greater profit for those making money off of health care. Kucinich wants a plan (which was offered by Ms. Clinton back in the 90s, actually) that rids us of the bane that are insurance companies and creates a single payer system — and if you think it would reduce our care or just don’t think it can work, watch Sicko.

I could go on about issues like trade and corporations and such (read “marijuana“), but you can look at his website if you’d like to know if you agree with him about other things. But really the point remains: “Why shouldn’t I vote for the candidate who I agree with the most?” (Take the test — for me Kucinich was an 83, Gravel an 82, and everyone else 38 or less.)

Editor’s note: after a short conversation with my Mom and Dad, I’d like to note that one could probably make a similar type of argument for voting for someone like Ron Paul, who my Dad voted for (Mom is an Obama-girl).

the gift of life

Monday 3 March 2008

As I left work today, I declared, “I’m off to give the gift of life.” Now, if I were dating someone (or I suppose even if not), that could easily have some other connotations, I suppose, but I was merely declaring that I was off to donate blood with the Red Cross.

Late last week one of my co-workers can in, telling us to give blood (I think he had met up with someone who worked at the blood center) — I had wanted to give blood in the fall, but it had just never worked out, and I tried to actually give in December in Ohio, but I couldn’t fit it into my schedule then either. So finally I just went and did it! And as I was reminded by my friend, since I’m going to Africa shortly, this will be the last chance I have for a long while (as there is a significant — maybe a year? — waiting period after traveling to Africa, which seems kind of silly to me, I guess…)

I’ve been lucky to be able to “give life” for the past 8 years, and I think I’ve maybe given close to 16 pints, which isn’t too bad. However, if you went as often as possible, one could about 6 times a years! My dad, as a diabetic, can’t give blood, and my mom has recently had iron issues after many years of giving — I’d claim her as my donating influence. But even so, though most people qualify to give blood, the statistic I saw today said only about 5% of that pool actually does!  I understand people have issues with needles or blood, which I can understand, but I think the number of people with those kind of issues probably isn’t 95% of the qualifying population.

Giving blood is actually pretty easy and quick, too.  I’m again lucky here, because I have HUGE veins and blood that comes out quickly — I actually left the center before two of the people ahead of me even left their beds.  And the perks are pretty good, too!  I got myself an umbrella as a gift (though it was make in China — not so good), which happens sometimes but not always, but they do always have free snacks with your visit, even if you get denied from giving blood (most places I’ve been, at least).  And the Red Cross has there own Top Ten reasons, too!

So I just thought I’d bring to light one of those “little things” you can do to make a big difference — this is really the only way people can get blood when they need it (we can’t create blood in the lab that I know yet).  It’s not one of those little things that we do to feel better while we ignore the larger problem, either — it’s just something you should think about doing sometime soon if you qualify and don’t hate needles/blood.  Just call 1.800.GIVE.LIFE


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