why i voted for dennis

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).

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2 Responses to why i voted for dennis

  1. Adam Bjorlin says:

    eric,
    one of my friends thought that voting for Kucinich in the primary might appear to look
    like you didn’t know he had dropped out of the race, like her roommate who almost voted for John Edwards. I did vote for Barack over Hillary, but now I have found intrigue with the fact that Ralph Nader has decided to run in November. I made sure that I could vote now and sign a petition for Nader and count. Nader said that he did like Kucinich. Nader said on Democracy Now! on January 31

    “So we have to get over it, and liberals especially have got to get over their easy abdication of least-worst voting for the Democrats, where they don’t put any pressure or they don’t make any demands on the Democrats, because they fear that the Republicans are worse. That sets up a system where the corporations are pulling 24/7 the Democrats in their direction to become corporate Democrats, like the corporate Republicans, and no one is pulling the other way. Why? Because they’re all freaked out by the Republicans, and they’re going for least-worst voting. All the bargaining power of progressives and liberals atrophy with that attitude.”

    The whole interview with Nader is interesting and mention what should be major issues http://www.democracynow.org/2008/1/31/ralph_nader_launches_presidential_exploratory_committee.

    I do really like a lot of Ralph Nader, but the pessimism is hard to overcome of third parties. And Nader doesn’t seem as grouchy to me and as favorite former Cleveland Mayor. Oh the corporate duopoly.

  2. eric bjorlin says:

    You friend’s reasoning goes well with paragraph two above — and again pushes away from the progressive movement back to the center. What choice then did I have in my primary to sound out for what I believe to be necessary change if I can’t vote for someone just because they can’t compete with the $35 million dollars (each) raised by the “top two” candidates of the “liberal” party?

    “The arch of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” — Martin Luther King, Jr. — 17 July 1959

    We should do all we can to accelerate the bending process.

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