Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Big One

Just my luck to start a blog about ranting (and books) at a time when my reasons for ranting have suddenly gotten scarce. So I'm having to dig back into my mental rant archives for something..... Luckily the previous eight years have provided enough rant fodder for a lifetime (or maybe not so lucky). This one's been brewing in the back of my mind since the year 2000.

So it is pretty much a given at this point that the presidency of Little Bush was a complete disaster, except for bazillionaires who don't plan on ever having children. Those guys at least got their tax cuts. What's not so clear is who is responsible. I mean, sure, Bush is responsible, as well as whoever was pulling his strings (Cheney???). But how did such a person, one of such questionable qualifications for high office, get into a position so that he could steal the election with a minimum of handwringing by the people?

Obviously Republican voters bear the brunt of responsibility for this. Without their 47.9% of the vote, Bush could never have beaten Gore's take of 48.4% of the vote. What about the other 3.7% of the vote, you might ask? Well thanks to the winner-take-all system of the Electoral College, these votes tend not to mean much in presidential elections, and this has pretty much been the case for over 200 years! When the election isn't close, or when both major party candidates espouse similar view on the issues, voting third party can be an important expression of dissent. Please note, however, than neither of these two conditions held in 2000. As we've seen (and as was clear even before voting began) the election was very close. As for anyone who can honestly claim that there's no difference between Bush and Gore, all I can say is get your head out of the toilet because after eight years of being submerged in your own vomit you probably need a bath. Or is that stench the rotting corpse of our civil liberties?

From an Electoral College point of view, Florida turned out to be a pivotal state in this election. It was razor close in votes for the major party candidates, and whoever got its E.C. votes would win the big banana. Included among the third parties on the ballot in Florida were the Reform, Libertarian, Natural Law, and Constitution parties. Voters in these parties are nutjobs who didn't want to vote for Bush because he refused to adopt the following into the Republican platform:
  1. Paying out all monies in the Federal Treasury to "tax-payers", i.e. members of the Reform, Libertarian, Natural Law, and Constitution parties.
  2. Disbanding the Federal Government in favor of home rule by the States, or else into smaller political units, the size of which will be determined later on the basis of effectiveness of allowing conservative nutjobs with guns to boss everyone else around.
  3. Grinding up all people who are not True Americans -- those not Reform, Libertarian, Natural Law, and Constitution parties -- and disposing of the remains in vast toxic waste storage facilities constructed in Sodam and Gomorrah (i.e. Hollywood and New York City).
The only effect these voters were going to have on the election was to reduce Little Bush's votes, which is really a good thing, so more power to them.

But there was another third party at play in Florida, one whose voters were ardently opposed to all the principles behind Little Bush's candidacy. These voters were also in favor of many, if not all, of the proposals put forward by the Gore campaign, the difference often being one of quantity, not quality. Even for those who did not find much common ground with Gore would admit that he was by far better than a patently unqualified candidate whose policies would run the country into the ground (which is exactly what happened). Logic, common sense, call it what you will, even self interest, would suggest that in an extremely close election, voting for someone you don't like is better than shooting yourself in the head.

Yet these voters did exactly that, shoot themselves in the head. Not only that, but the bullet passed through their empty heads and managed to bring down the whole rest of the country. According to the Federal Election Commission, Little Bush won Florida by 537 votes. If even six-tenths of one percent of these voters had put the interests of the country over their own selfishness, held their noses and voted for the anti-Bush candidate who actually had a chance to win, then Little Bush wouldn't have been able to steal the election at all.

These people voted for Ralph Nader, and they "elected" Little Bush. They bear almost as much responsibility for the eight year long national nightmare as Republicans do, and no amount of clicking their ruby slippers together and chanting "there's no vote like IRV, there's no vote like IRV" is going to raise eight years worth of dead, heal eight years worth of wounded, or restore eight years worth of lost opportunity.

Eight years later I'm still pissed off, and it makes me hope that the religious nutjobs are right, that the Devil exists and that Hell is a real place, because the Green party presidential candidate from the 2000 election has a lot to answer for.


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