Tuesday, July 27, 2004

I used to love politics.  At one point I was active in the Socialist Party of Oregon and involved in a couple of small political protests.  I believed passionately that the two-party system was broken and we needed new voices.  Eventually I decided that being involved in an organization that was completely irrelevant to the political process was a waste of my time.

But at the same time I haven't been able to go back to the Democratic Party.  I can be pretty cynical at times, especially about politics.  I think cynicism requires two things of a person - a lot of optimism - or at least the ability to envision a better future, and a firm grounding in reality.  In the case of American politics, reality quickly overwhelms optimism.

The reality of our political system is very discouraging.  Beyond just being the "art of the possible," I think both parties lack any sort of compelling vision for the future.  But even if they did, they are so bound to special interests through campaign finances that dramatic visions are limited.  Further, the campaign process is totally disingenuous and grounded in distortion, manipulation, and outright lies.  Kerry does it.  Bush does it. 

I yearn for a real discussion of issues.  But I think the reality is that Bush and Kerry are so close ideologically on many issues that there's nothing to discuss.  All they're left with is slinging mud.  I'd love to see a candidate articulate a consistent, comprehensive pro-life ethic.  We need a platform that cares for children in and out of the womb, men, women, and families.  We need a platform that cares as much about Iraqi or Sudanese children as it does unborn American children.  We need a platform that actually cares for working families, rather that using them as an excuse to further enrich the already rich.

I don't believe either candidate offers anything close.  But I'll be voting Kerry, if only because I think there's a slightly better chance that he won't get us involved in another religious/oil war in the Middle East. 

I wish I could still love politics. 

I think we have a cause worthy of fighting against here in Oregon, though.  The Defense of Marriage Coalition was successful in getting their amendment to the Oregon Constitution banning gay marriage on the ballot for November.  I'm sure someone is gearing up to fight it - I'll just have to find out who...

Update: Basic Rights Oregon is already organizing.  Volunteer opportunities are here.

No on Measure 36!



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