Moral Conundrum

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c-dog
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Moral Conundrum

Post by c-dog »

I am having a bit of a moral conundrum as election day creeps closer. I have posed this problem to friends, but am interested in acquiring more opinions - especially those of intelligent and analytical people. Since it seems that this board is reeling with those types of people - I thought I'd ask.

First off, I will admit that I live in the hotly contested state of Florida. So in addition to being bombarded with political advertisements, I also have to live through the pain of having the presidential motorcade block off traffic during rush hour in Orlando - NOT FUN when you just want to get home after work.

Ok - so after watching all the Bush-Kerry debates and the 3rd party debates (They were at Cornell and broadcasted on C-Span if anyone is interseted) as well as reading the Green Party's Platform I have decided that The Green Party stands for what I believe in the most out of all the candidates this year. So this is where my problem lies - do I cast my vote with my true conscience by voting for Cobb and the Green Party, or do I cast my vote with the interest of the public in mind and vote for Kerry? Is there such a thing as a wasted vote?

Also, can I say that it is completely ridiculous that mainstream media basically ignores the fact that there are other political parties out there other then Democrats and Republicans. Why don't they invite other parties or even air the thrid party debates on any major networks? What harm can this do? Isn't an educated constituency the most beneficial and healthy constituency?

So any discourse or opinion on this topic will be greatly appreciated - please share your thoughts....
NatureBoy
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Post by NatureBoy »

There are two real questions: who you want to vote for and who you want to win...

My advice is vote for who you want to win.
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Liesbeth
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Post by Liesbeth »

being from a country where there are usually up to ten parties represented in parliament and coalition government is the rule, I have always been puzzled by the two party thing in the UK and the USA.

but even in our system, I have occasionally voted for a party that wasn't my first choice if I felt it could tip the balance and keep a party I really didn't agree with out of government.

tricky stuff: long term, you won't ever change the system if the alternative parties/candidates never get many votes. But short term, it may effect who effectively is governing you for the next four years.

I guess my basic rule is I get more calculating when the stakes are higher (local vs national elections) and when I feel my vote could actually make a difference. Good luck making your decision!
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Post by the hutch »

As a purely practical matter, FLA will be in play this cycle, so a Cobb vote is one less Kerry vote in a state that is likely to be close. If you were in Texas, like me, it wouldn't matter, and you could feel OK about voting Green. That's the electoral college for ya...
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Post by Unremarkable »

Yeah, being in a traditionally democratic state like Washington made my choice to vote independent a lot easier. Being in FLA...I don't know, it really IS a tough decision, but I'm all about voting for who you think is the best person for the job, not just voting for the guy who has the best chance of knocking of the guy you hate off. [/mytwocents]
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heather
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Post by heather »

...and then bush can stay for FOUR MORE YEARS! YAY!


/my sarcastic two cents.
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nwheather
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Post by nwheather »

Bush and Kerry are both rich, white, old men with no real concept of what we're going throught out here in the real world. God knows I wish there were a viable 3rd choice, but there's just not, so I'm voting Bush because my problems with Kerry are so many and so fundamental. That said, I say vote your conscience and encourage others to do the same. We need to stop focusing only on the short-term, or that's all we'll ever have.
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Post by the hutch »

my, gawd, but what he's done to the deficit... I'll be happy with a Kerry win, as long as we have a Rep House-divided government, I say!
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the new girl
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Post by the new girl »

nwheather wrote:Bush and Kerry are both rich, white, old men with no real concept of what we're going throught out here in the real world. God knows I wish there were a viable 3rd choice, but there's just not, so I'm voting Bush because my problems with Kerry are so many and so fundamental. That said, I say vote your conscience and encourage others to do the same. We need to stop focusing only on the short-term, or that's all we'll ever have.


But...what are the long-term effects of reelecting Bush?

-An astronomical budget deficit. After 4 years, it's somewhere in the neighborhood of 410 billion dollars. I, for one, don't really want to know how big the deficit will be after another 4 years.

-An extremely conservative supreme court. The court not only leans right in its current configuration, but is also rapidly aging/ailing. The next president will have the opportunity to have a massive effect on the composition of the court. I'm not sure about everybody else, but I like Roe v. Wade and this would probably be one of the first reversals with a new (Bush) court.

-Foreign policy nightmares. At one point, the US was actually a respected member of the international community. Not the case anymore, and Bush seems to have a knack for pissing off other nations.

-Major reduction in research funding. The proposed budget for 2005 included $111 million in National Science Foundation cuts, a move opposed by nearly 160 members of congress. Seeing as NSF money pays for my graduate stipend and NSF will potentially support my future research, this one hits really close to home. Additionally, with cuts to the NSF, are NIH cuts far behind?

-More of the "War on Terror" BS. Within 4 years, we can 'help' any country with significant oil reserves become a "democracy." OK, maybe I'm being a little cynical in that statement, but why are we negelcting to address much of anything in North Korea?

-Draft anyone?

-More of Ashcroft, Cheney, Rumsfeld and all their cronies. Enough said.

I could go on, but you get the idea. I don't think Kerry's capable of screwing things up quite as much as Bush could, and Kerry's friends are far less evil than Cheney, et al. Don't get me wrong, I don't like Kerry. But I went out canvassing for him this morning because I don't want to think of the impact that 4 more years of Bush could have on the rest of my life.
Last edited by the new girl on Sat Oct 30, 2004 7:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Squid
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Post by Squid »

the new girl wrote:-An astronomical budget deficit.
-An extremely conservative supreme court.
-Foreign policy nightmares.


yup, these are my big three.

To c-dog: Fwiw, I try to vote demo national/state and green locally. It's the best compromise this politically unsavvy person can muster...
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nwheather
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Post by nwheather »

Man, I don't wanna derail this thread by going into all the problems I have with Kerry and with the previous posts, so I'll start a new thread.

c-dog, it comes down to which is more important to you: sticking it to Bush or sticking with your beliefs. To coin a phrase, 'nuff said.
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c-dog
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Post by c-dog »

Wow - very cool - thanks for all the responses. I still am on the fence, but this was a great way to broaden my perspective.

It is interesting to be in a state where you feel your vote really does count more then if you lived in California or Texas. I lived in New York during the last presidential election and voted for Nader. My justification for doing so then was that NY wwould go Dem so I might as well help another party receive enough of the popular vote to qualify for Federal Election Funding -but campaign financing would probably be an entire new thread as well.....

So this year it is a little different. However is my one vote really going to change the sway of the entire election? Is it wrong of or me to vote Green if I don't encourage other pepole to vote Green over Kerry - but instead just encourage them to vote for who they feel is best? I don't think so. Honestly, I am the only person I know who is seriously considering voting something other then Rep or Dem.

Squid - I understand what you are saying about voting Green on a local and level but not on the national/state level - that is what several people have suggested would be a better alternative. I agree with voting Green on that level because for any parties other then Dems and Repubs to gain any semblance of power within our government it is going to have to start somewhere other then the presidency. However, there are no Greens running for office on my ballot outside of Cobb. Not that I'm saying I should vote for him because I support Greens and he is the only Green on the ballot - just stating how it is.

No Pic - You said you would be happy as long as it is a Rep House- Divide Govt. By this do you mean you will be happy as long as the House and Senate Majorities are the opposite party of the presidency? Now - I agree that this gives a balance of power within the govt, but doesn't it also create stagnation since nobody can agree on anything?

NWHeather - Thanks for making the seperate thread for your thoughts on Kerry and Bush. I don't agree with you on every point - but I have great respect for your passion and knowledge on the issues. I have strong opinions and beliefs of my own - but it I think the most important thing is that people get out there and educate themselves on the issues and candidates and make a sound decision based on that. So - I respect your vote for Bush because of that. Sadly, too many Americans are too apathetic to do such a thing -and who knows how many 18 - 24 year olds out there are voting for Kerry because Puff Daddy told them to while they were watching "Pimp My Ride".
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nwheather
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Post by nwheather »

LOL...you guys in the U.S. have to watch South Park tonight if you haven't already seen it earlier this week. Features include Puff Whatsit threatening to kill a 9-year-old--via rap song--if he doesn't vote, and of course the great line 'If I have to choose between a turd sandwich and a giant douche, then I don't see the point.' (The llama-frenching thing at the PETA camp is pretty gross, but if you close your eyes for that, the rest is totally worth it.) It's on at 11E/10C.

P.S., new girl, whereabouts in NM are ya? I'm headed to Albuquerque on the 28th...just curious.
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the new girl
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Post by the new girl »

nwheather wrote:new girl, whereabouts in NM are ya? I'm headed to Albuquerque on the 28th...just curious.


I'm in ABQ. It's not my favorite city, but I've only been here 2 months so I'm still giving it a chance...
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Post by Betty Felon »

c-dog wrote: -and who knows how many 18 - 24 year olds out there are voting for Kerry because Puff Daddy told them to while they were watching "Pimp My Ride".


Hmmm. I wonder about this sentiment. With the possible except of a few unfortunate kids captured on tape voting for Arnold in Cali, most of the 18-24 year olds I've met are more passionate and informed than the average older counterpart. For both sides. I don't know why people come down so hard on the kids. I'm always impressed by what they can do.
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No You Are
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Post by No You Are »

I agree. Young voters are getting completely written off as star-gazing morons who will vote for whomever Matt Damon tells them to, while most I know are more well-read and knowledgable than the"adults" that are bashing them.

However, there are young voters that are uninformed and (for lack of a better word) stupid. But I don't think they will take the time to go to the polls.


And as much as I hate to say it, voting for a third party candidate is throwing away your vote. I wrote John McCain in last time because I wasn't convinced about Gore and Bush was the most unqualified candidate ever, and I regret it. Not that it would have made a difference (Iowa went to Gore anyway) but I realized what CAN happen in a close election.

But at the time I thought Bush would be the typical "bosses son" if elected. Not do anything of consiquence, put in his 4-8 years under the radar, surround himself with good people that would do all the work for him. Boy was I wrong. Never underestimate the power of ignorance, arrogance and religion.
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Post by Betty Felon »

Oh, and just to address a little of the two party question. The, admittedly unsatisfying, answer to that that I've heard is that a two party system ensures that the winner gets a large number/close to majority of the votes of the populace.

It would be disturbing to have 10 candidates and the winner only really got 11% of the vote.

I insist on looking at this election not as a free for all, but as the people determining whether or not Bush contiues or is fired. Just like any other job. I think Bush is a failure. He didn't do his job.

In that sense, it's more important that Bush loses than which untested candidate wins.
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grant
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Post by grant »

No You Are wrote:And as much as I hate to say it, voting for a third party candidate is throwing away your vote.


I'm not sure this is true; votes for third parties do help steer public discourse, by demonstrating to the two big parties that a certain number of voters feel disenchanted because their issues are being ignored. Nader is not a very good example of this, but Perot is an excellent example. He received more votes than Nader, for one thing, but also turned that campaign (and many of those subsequent) into a discussion about the economy, which it had not been previously.

I wrote John McCain in last time



If only, if only, if only.

If only 2000 had been a Bradley/McCain contest. If only Nader had gotten that magic 5% to win the Greens federal matching funds. All broadsided by partisan blindness.

Feh on team spirit.

If you're interested in McCain and his strand of public policy, you may enjoy the Bull Moose Blog; I know I do. Constantly seeking for whatever happened to the progressive Republicanism of Teddy Roosevelt -- about which I now want to know much more. A subject for another thread, maybe.

At any rate, c-dog, voting Green at the national level may not be strategic this year (but definitely vote Green at the local level). The election will be very close, which tends to put a damper on the ability of third-party votes to change the discourse. This in itself I see as proof that Nader is right in what he says; there is something very wrong with the modern American electoral system.

Perhaps if you measure your vote according to levels of disgust; current administration vs. current electoral system. Let your nausea be your guide?
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Post by LoveSickJerk »

grant wrote:If you're interested in McCain and his strand of public policy, you may enjoy the Bull Moose Blog; I know I do. Constantly seeking for whatever happened to the progressive Republicanism of Teddy Roosevelt -- about which I now want to know much more. A subject for another thread, maybe.


I did enjoy that blog, and i also enjoyed the most current biography on Teddy's first presidency: Theodore Rex. It is not so much political, but understanding the man definitely helps to understand the politics. They really don't make em like they used to.
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Post by Liesbeth »

Betty Felon wrote:Oh, and just to address a little of the two party question. The, admittedly unsatisfying, answer to that that I've heard is that a two party system ensures that the winner gets a large number/close to majority of the votes of the populace.

It would be disturbing to have 10 candidates and the winner only really got 11% of the vote.

the usual system in countries with more than two candidates is to have two rounds of voting, with the two top candidates going through to the second round...

I think it's the constituency thing that makes it seems all the more unfair. I remember parliamentary elections in the UK where by number of votes the Liberal Party got a considerable percentage, but ended up with only one seat in Parliament anyway. I'd say democracy is served by making elections as fair a reflection of the peoples opinion as possible - I would be pissed off if my vote was lost just because I live somewhere where a majority thinks otherwise.

Oh well, I don't get to vote for my head of government, nor for the leaders of our federation, so how democratic is that?!
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