I am writing this Scarleteen blog entry after having read Heather's piece after I returned home from my local polling place. Heather, I thank you for sharing your thoughts and reasons for voting the way you did this year; this blog entry was inspired in large part by your post. I find myself holding many similar sentiments to the ones you expressed here so well. As a fellow Green Party supporter as well as long-term Ralph Nader fan, whom I admire for standing by his convictions and staying true to his word in his actions*, I found myself with not just one but two very appealing third party/independent candidates that I'd very much like to vote for this year.
However, I decided that keeping McCain out of office, imagining just how horrible his presidency would be for the US and world at large, was most important: I cast my vote for Obama. As Heather so succinctly stated, "While I’d love to vote for my party (wouldn’t I always!), this is another of those years where I don’t feel able to do that." I will share that this decision was almost down to the wire: a convincing phone call from my highly-regarded and well-informed younger sister yesterday, as well as my attendance of an inspirational Henry Rollins spoken-word show this Fall helped give me that final push.
I respect McCain's experience as a POW but am incredulous and appalled that he, after enduring the horrors of torture firsthand, does not truly support veterans and their families. Palin is given a lot of flack in ways that most male politicians are not, her intelligence questioned and family decisions so intensely scrutinized. Honestly, the clothing she wears or what she does in her free time does not bother me, but her politics are so extreme that I find them almost hard to believe. The fact that her town charges rape victims for their rape kits is enough for her to lose any and all support political from me.
I believe Obama will win by a landslide, including gaining the majority in places previously labeled as more conservative. (Then again, the idea that someone might not vote for a candidate just because he's black is such a foreign concept to me...) I hope and believe that the current US is much more progressive than people often think. When it comes down to it, it’s not really about one particularly charismatic young politician inspiring Americans to be “The Change We Need.” Instead, it is Americans being finally so fed up with all the crap that has occurred these past eight years in their name that they will exercise their right– and responsibility– to react accordingly. We will see!
*On my sentiments for Ralph Nader: I wish more liberal people weren't so negative about his decision to continually stand up for his strong believes rather than blame him for costing the Democratic Party the 2000 election. To me, this is another version of “blaming the victim”. Yes, the Florida recount was a mess and unfair. However, as for “stealing the election,” I believe those critical Democrats should recognize that their party was not meeting people’s political needs and worked harder to garner up their support. Indeed, I know that McCain and Palin like to use the word Maverick a lot but I believe this title is best suited to Nader.