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you say you want an evolution

We've all used the phrase "the lesser of two evils" and many of us have used it when pulling the lever in a voting booth. While the word evil may be hyperbole, the hell that having to make a choice puts us through is not. So now the issue faces me and millions of other disenfranchised voters who feel they are not fully represented by one particular political party: who do we vote for in good conscience? I really can't make any case for voting for Kerry, myself. He's my ideological opposite in nearly every way. And I won't vote for Nader again; he's not only an egostical party crasher, he really has nothing to offer me besides a chance to once more throw away a vote. So, Bush. We already know that my main voting issue is terrorism. While I think Bush is the best person to continue fighting the war on terror, I'm still unhappy with his dealings with the Saudis, the continued silence on Iran and Pakistan and the indifference towards North Korea. The world is a bombshell, kids, and if a strong, decisive leader doesn't step up to the plate soon, they'll be practicing air raid drills in schools again. Can Bush be that guy? Well, I think he has more of a chance of being that guy than Kerry or Nader. Am I selfish to make homeland security my number one priority in this election? Damn straight. And why shouldn't I be? My family is my number one priority in life, so I need to make decisions based on what's right for them. What is right for my children, for their future and their potential families down the road? What's right - for now - is freedom and safety. What's right is making sure that they don't live through another September 11th again. What's right is protecting them from the people who want to hurt them just because they are American and they are free. If I took into account every person in the United States when I went into the polling booth, if I took into mind the needs of every gender, race, religion and group with special needs, I would never come out. I'd stare at all the choices and never be able to make the right one for everyone. So, selfish as it may seem, I have to make the right choice for me and what I think is the right choice for the country. Right now I'm down to this: Kerry has nothing for me. Nader is not even a choice. I agree with Bush on several issues though I strongly disagree with him on others. It just so happens that my number one voting issue is one that I trust Bush with. So I don't understand those who chastise me for being self-centered in my means of making a presidential choice. And I certainly don't understand when someone says I am supporting a fear over what I know and that fear is irrational. This is not irrational. It's real. Was this a fake event acted out on a sound stage? No, it was real. How can you say that the fear that comes with something like that is not real? Contrary to what you may believe, Bush did not instill that fear in me. A bunch of radical religious nuts on a jihad did that. Are you so naive to think that they don't want to do it again? How is that I'm selfish if I vote with my own family in mind, but you aren't selfish if you vote with your own agenda in mind? When you go to the polls, you aren't going to be thinking of me or what I want. Maybe the economy or gay rights is number one on your agenda but, as much as those things are important to me, they are not number one on mine. How dare you have the nerve for calling me selfish when I decide to cast my vote according to what I feel should be the priorities of this nation. That's why we have more than one candidate. This isn't the old Iraq, with one name on the ballot. This isn't Iran, where the oppositon is cast off the ballot by those in charge. We have a choice. We make that choice based on our beliefs, our politics, our ideology and our own personal values. I am not voting out of an irrational fear. I'm voting the way I am because my fear is founded in reality. I'm voting with my head and my heart; my head knows the reality of terrorism and my heart wants my children to not live in a place where that reality becomes commonplace. Yes, I used to be like you. I used to think we could all live in peace and harmony and teach the world to sing. I used to think war was inherently evil and America had no right to go into other countries trying to instill democracy. Things change. People evolve. Your ass gets kicked by reality and reality is wearing a steel-toed boot. It hurts. Then you heal. And you learn. Pardon me if my priority is the safety, freedom and future of the children I brought into this world. If that's voting selfishly, so be it. My choice is the one which I feel will give me the best chance that I won't repeat the scene of standing outside on a beautiful fall day, watching the sky to the west turn a hundred shades of death.

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Comments

Well said, as always. Thanks for taking the time to lay it out so clearly.

I'm wit' ya.

I think your reasoning on why you are going to vote the way you are makes far more sense than most of the folks' motivations for voting the way they do; I've heard people say "oh, I can't vote for Bush because..." and then list some issue that to me seems piddly and minor in the face of terrorism and worldwide instability.

a radio show host (local, not national) whom I respect says every election: If you HAVEN'T thought hard about what you want and what the candidates stand for, DON'T vote.

that makes tremendous sense to me, but he gets reamed for it every year. An uninformed electorate that chooses on a purely emotional basis - or worse, on the base of television ads - is a potential threat to the nation.

well said, as usual

I dunno, I think characterizing people who prefer to look at SEVERAL issues when they vote as "[thinking] we could all live in peace and harmony and teach the world to sing" is fairly condescending. Good for you that you've found a good solid place to stand, but you might want to allow people who differ the dignity of being seen as just as intelligent, thoughtful and realistic as yourself.

If it's selfish, so be it. You only have true responsibility for those in your immediate family, and you have to make the decision in their best interests. Like it or not, the only reason we can have a debate over homosexual marriage or the economy in America is because we've had leaders who haven't been afraid to stand up to tyrants. Without the core security, there's no need to argue constitutional issues. Chicken and egg? Maybe, but I'm with you on the reality thing.

There will be two kinds of voters this November: The voter who believes his lifestyle is at stake, and the voter who believes his life is at stake.

It's just surprising how many people no longer give Sept. 11 a second thought.

Very good post, Michele! Very good.

Michele, you'd be a fool not to have security as your first priority. In the aftermath of 9/11, even Democratic bigwigs were privately saying the right guy was in the Whitehouse. As far as Pakistan et al, theres probably stuff going on that we can't hear about. Funny how the Paki army is suddenly operating in tribal areas they've never entered before right? I think W handed them an invoice for Kahn's duplicity.

Dead on as always. Well said.

Jason, I was characterizing myself as one who thought we could all live in peace and harmony and teach the world to sing. I had this idealism that was not based in anything near reality. That was not meant to be a reflection on anyone else but me.

If you think W's not doing anything about the NorKs, you already know what Cash&Kerry will do.

They want money first, then they'll open up for inspections.

Incestuous amplification is a good site for stuff, if you didn't know about that blog.

And the SorKs want us to give the NorKs a deal which will "save face."

Out troops didn't move out far enough.

Besides, Michele, no party or person can or should be all things to all people.

Good post.

Voting is selfish. You are supposed to vote on what YOU want or believe. That is the point of a secret ballot. You and You alone are responsible for making that decision. You and You alone are responsible for setting your priorities. You and You alone know exactly how and why you voted. It is a moment for you and you alone.

So in voting you job is to be selfish. Your choice. Your responsibility. Your job.

Everything else is crap.

Besides, for 30 years certain people have been one-issue voters on abortion, so what's the big deal? One the whole, my thing has been taxes.

How "unilateral" of you, Michele .

I don't think your highest priority is silly at all. Indeed, I share it. As we get closer to the election, though, I expect to have disagreements with people who agree with us on that priority but disagree on what the best means of achieving it is likely to be ... and disagree on what, under ANY circumstances, is or is not an appropriate extension of executive-branch authority.

I hope I maintain my civility. OTOH, I hope you keep ranting because I love it when you rant.

Cheers.

Anyone who chastises you for a well reasoned vote is an idiot and not worthy of concern.

As a parent, I too base my vote on what I feel is best for my family. Where we differ is in our perception of what poses the greater risk to their futures -- it's my opinion that the risk of long term economic instability, the failure to adequately fund education reform and the erosion of civil liberties is more dangerous than any foreign threat.

I'm voting for Bush because I want him to protect us from Muslim racists. There are many reasons that I wouldn't vote for him, but none as important as the first.

Dear MIchele,
While I'm sure you know quite well that I don't agree with you and will channel much of my energy trying to express to anyone who cares to read my site that George Bush Junior is the worst president for many reasons, most of which you already know...I do understand the one issue vote.
I spoke with an Israeli man who hated Bush for many reasons.. felt the man was pure
evil and yet said he would vote for him because his one issue was the protection of Israel..
This is perhaps the only issue that I too, like Bush for..also liked him for kicking the Taliban's ass who I have hated long before 911
for their atrocities to women
But my one issue is a many flavored issue
and all of them fall under basic human rights.
So I can not support or vote for this man who I feel is an enemy to everything I stand for not the least of which is the fact that he wants to amend the constitution to make sure that I will never have the right to marry my lover..
But 911 changed us all
i am absolutely not the same person i was before sept 11th
and will never be again
and if voting for Bush makes you feel safer
than thats what you should do and i support you for your courage to say your mind
damn the naysayers
on both sides of the fence
on a personal note
you do realize this means
that you and i will never walk down the aisle together
too bad
we woulda made a cute couple

wink

Well, you vote your conscience, Michele, as everybody should.

That should not forgive his shallow opportunism - of using the War on Terror to shield the War on Homos. "War-time President" my arse. Minderbender, not Churchill, if you insist?

But worse, I suppose, and as ever it was, damn the opposition to hell and back: out of so many millions of Americans to choose from, they had to pick Kerry to beat Bush.

michele: Ok, fine, but you preceded your comment with "Yes, I used to be like you." I made of that what I could.

TJA,

That should not forgive his shallow opportunism - of using the War on Terror to shield the War on Homos.

Who's the "opportunist"? You really think Bush wanted to deal with this issue? Did you not hear the state of the union speech? Gavin Newsom is the idiot opportunist! The Mass Supreme Court is the opportunist! Where did Bush ever connect national security and "the war on homos"?

Give it a rest.

Well said. Now, do something hard. Convince three other people. Show them the tapes of the 9/11 attack, that'll make it easier. Ask them what (if anything!)Kerry has planned to make that not happen again. Remind them that under Bush it hasn't happened again. Let's start out by getting and being safe, then we can move on to getting rid of the other bush-created BS.

Michele,

I'm certainly not going to give you a hard time for your decision. I disagree, to me, Bush's anti-same-sex marriage stance is sufficient for me to vote against him. But you're not an evil person for coming down on the other side of this issue.

And no, I don't believe in that peace and harmony malarkey, either. I just think the bad guys are sufficently down at the moment that I think of the WoT as one issue among, well, four that I care about.

I find it hard to believe that the Democrats would pull out of the theater of war and say 'don't worry about Sept. 11, Islamofascists".

There's a bit chicken little going on here. "No Bush, that means everyday will be Sept. 11! John Kerry himself will pass out boxcutters!" It's hysterics, plain and simple. Going into Iraq showed that Bush is not serious on the war on terror, otherwise SA would have been invaded, and Pakistan would not be an 'ally' of the US.

And in the meantime, America is going to shit.

I don't think making the defense of western civilization your first priority is selfish.

Of course it's rational being the type of voter who places national security at the top of her list.

What's somewhat mysterious is the undercurrent of the Presidential equivalent of a "magic rock that keeps tigers away". The last 18 months have been consumed with Iraq with Afghanistan getting nary a peep and Pakistan's nuclear bazaar getting maybe a peep and a half. Iraq has sapped our front-line National Guardsman for domestic crises and sapped our resources, and sapped our credibility.

If anything, I agree with Vince: the obsession with Iraq (coupled with the insistence that nobody but the individual troops have to 'sacrifice' in the 'war') shows to me a profound un-seriousness about national security.

Vince, under your scenario, we would have handled Japan first, but maybe that wasn't the way to go.

As to Pakland and nukes, if it wasn't for pulling Saddam out of his spiderhole, Libya wouldn't have given up the goods. And we wouldn't have known how far it goes, would we?

Unless you want to rely on the IAEA????

----

I still think all this is hot air, there won't be an amendment.

You won't vote W because of an amendment which won't pass, but you'll vote for Kerry because he hasn't mentioned amendment, even tho most of his stance is the same.

AL - it's not up to the feds to fund education reform adequately, it's the states, and what about the $6 billion the states haven't claimed from the 2000-2002 year, $2B of which is title 9 funding? There's no reason to give more money when they haven't used what they already have.

Well, I don't know of ANY candidate whose positions I would agree with ALL of the time. Frankly, I would find it strange if such a person existed. I agree with you Michele, you make your choice based on what's most important to you. Although I am confused by people railing against Bush regarding his position on same-sex marriage. From what I've read, both Kerry and Edwards take the same position. Though I suppose if we wait a few hours, Kerry's will change.

Until yesterday I was with you 100% about Bush. Yesterday he just went too far. This debate over gay marriage is going to go on for quite a while and will play itself out both in the courts and legislature, as it should. Bush's statements yesterday were him pandering to the worst of the Republican party.

But as the girlfriend of a soldier in Iraq, it's completely demoralizing to know your commander in chief views you as some great threat to american society when her life is on the line defending that same society.

As of yesterday, in November I'm going to the polls and writing None of the Above on my ballot. It's the most honest vote I can cast.

I'm going to hold my nose and vote for Bush, at least at the moment. If he pisses me off much more, though (long list deleted), I'm going to write in "Frodo". Living in Minnesota, it's not going to make much difference.

Ok fair enough. Great post.

I am a Christian and a Republican, as you know, Michele. Liberty and freedom are my issue. So anyone that threatens those things are the enemy. Whether it be terrorists or an over zealous politician, special interest group or organization.

Sadly, as you so thoroughly outline for us, there is no other great candidate.

But I have seen what Bush can do, not sure what Kerry can do--maybe we should discuss what we think he would do in regards to terrorism.

Sandy - Unclaimed funds are primarily due to the inability of schools (often rural) to meet the NCLB standards. The federally mandated guidelines to obtain funding, rather than allowing for improvements, serve primarily as excuses to withold funding.

When 32% of the schools fail to meet these standards (some of which have very high percentages of students pursuing college) one has to wonder if an artificially high barrier is being created. As with so many of the current administrations policies this removes state discretionary monies while enlarging an already bloated federal bureacracy.

Fron an old Jewish ex-lefty who recently crossed over to the land of the evil neo-cons...Amen!

And just what has Bush done? Torn apart 2 countries and mades ure the the US will be spending Millions upon millions in those countries for years to come.

Oh..and there are no jobs.

"While I think Bush is the best person to continue fighting the war on terror, I'm still unhappy with his dealings with the Saudis, the continued silence on Iran and Pakistan and the indifference towards North Korea."

Are you not equally unhappy that 2+ years after 9/11:

-our borders, especially to the south, remain wide open to terrorists?

-a very small percentage of cargo entering this country's seaports is inspected?

-not all luggage and commercial cargo going on to airliners is inspected?

-about once a week we hear that someone "accidentally" got on an airliner with a gun or a knife? How in the F&%$ does this still happen?

-many of the emergency response programs we were promised after 9/11 remain unfunded or grossly underfunded?
------------------------

Bush has failed miserably on homeland security. The fact that we haven't been hit again isn't tribute to his actions- it's a shining example of dumb luck. He's left the vault unlocked every night for 2 years and the bank hasn't been robbed YET. It will.

Having said that, I have every confidence that if elected Kerry would, at best do no better than Bush, and would more likely do far worse.

Rex -- I'm no fan of the Bush administration and was/am not a supporter of the war in Iraq. However, your going to have to do a little better than 'torn apart'. Afghanistan was fully justified and Iraq, while I disagree with the motives and methods, is certainly better off than they were before the American intervention.

This knee-jerk reactionary nonsense is not doing us on the left any favors, lucid arguement and reasoned discourse may change a few minds -- carrying on about tearing apart countries that would do us harm and persecute their own people isn't particularly productive.

Sure, security is expensive and will continue to be so, however I would hope it is something we all see the need for. Michele and I differ on how best to obtain a secure nation, but I don't think any rational person fails to understand that it will be a long term and costly proposition in whatever form it takes.

Oh..and there are no jobs

There aren't, Rex? Then how is it that 95% of us are employed? How is it that job growth has been positive for the past several months?

Also, could you please provide for us a cause and effect analysis showing why it's Bush's fault that we had a brief and relatively mild cyclical economic downturn, rather than the fault of countless other factors? Lastly, could you tell us what, specifically, you think John F. Kerry is going to do to create more jobs?

The fact that we haven't been hit again isn't tribute to his actions- it's a shining example of dumb luck.

Of course you probably feel the President is dumb anyway. We took the fight to the enemy and wiped out many leaders of terrorism. These terrorists interests have been to fight for their lives in their own lands and especially Iraq because they know that an American foothold in Iraq on the borders of Syria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia is a nightmare for them. Libya has packed it in, and we have caught Khan (Pakistan) red handed spreading nuclear secrets (Thanks Bill Clinton!!!). You can bitch all you want, your words are unproductive, shallow and profoundly unserious. Oh I know while were at it John Ashcroft needs to leave librarians alone and give those Gitmo folks their rights, and Gay marriage is more important than the War on Terror. Unserious people unite and vote Nader!!!...or Micky Mouse for all I care.

Of course you probably feel the President is dumb anyway.

Actually, I don't. I've routinely defended him against that charge. Don't make asinine assumptions about people. It makes you look foolish.

You can bitch all you want, your words are unproductive, shallow and profoundly unserious.

Acutally, Samuel, they're deadly serious. And I see that you failed to address a single one of the Bush failures on homeland security I listed, so I'm not sure what I'm supposed to consider deep or productive about your words.

Oh I know while were at it John Ashcroft needs to leave librarians alone and give those Gitmo folks their rights, and Gay marriage is more important than the War on Terror.

I don't recall saying any of that. Please don't attribute positions to me that I haven't articulated; I'm quite capable of stating where I stand thank you.

No, gay marriage is not more important than the war on terror. But quite frankly, Bush's position on gay marriage (or more accurately, his willingness to abuse the Constitution on any issue) combined with his many failures on the war on terror, plus amnesty for illegal immigrants, is reason enough for me to withold my vote.

AL - the funds unclaimed were before NCLB.

---

Dave - luggage isn't being checked, are there enough machines for all the airports? The space?

When the UA terminal was built in DVR, were there allowances made for what I would imagine would be lots of big machines?

Geez, can you imagine the whining for that no-bid contract?

How do you scan the containers coming in from around the world? How long does it take to build the facility?

This isn't going to wal-mart for a gal of milk.

Agree w/you on borders, but I wanted them controlled long before 9/11.

Sandy- logistics and equipment costs aren't my problem, and they shouldn't be the President's problem. He should've issued an executive order stating that all luggage, cargo, and passengers going onto airliners will be adequately screened, period. Damn the cost and logistical concerns. Anything short of that means air passengers and people in buildings remain vulnerable to terrorist attack. Are we willing to accept that risk because it's too expensive or logistically complicated to address? I'm not. We're Americans- we're innovative and creative and we can figure out a way to get things done. Bush needs to give the order to do it.

"Contrary to what you may believe, Bush did not instill that fear in me. A bunch of radical religious nuts on a jihad did that."

What bothers me is that the President has used that fear at nearly every moment possible for his own political advantage.

Using September 11th to get others to agree with your fear is a cop out. Bush is no Superman. He can't keep you or your kids safe. No one can. If some fundamental religious whackjob wants to blow up a building, he's going to find a way -- no matter how the government crowds us in. If by some miracle there would never be another terrorist attack, what are you left with for your children in the future? They [and your grandchildren] will still be paying off Bush's deficit. Legalized discrimination will be commonplace. Sounds like a great future. Hope you're happy with it.

God help us in 2008 when Bush can't run anymore. Oh wait we can repeal the 22nd amendment.

/Votes for King George.

What I don't understand is why people can't agree with a candidate on some issues and then push to make the candidate reconsider his position on the issues they disagree on. If you (not you specifically, Michelle) are 100% behind Bush on his take on homeland security but don't agree with his plan to amend the Constitution, why not let it be known to him and the republican party. "Hey, keep the county safe from terrorist but keep your damn hands off the constitution."

Same thing with other parties-- if you like Kerry's domestic views but think he needs a better international plan, then why not push to have him know what you disagree on.

If enough moderate republicans express disappointment/displeasure at Bush for his position on SSM, he will move on to another issue. If enough moderate democrats tell Kerry his view of international trade leaves much to be desired, he will amend his views also.

Instead of just focusing on trying to keep the candidate from the other party (or parties) out of the White House (the Senate, etc.), why not push to make the people who are supposed to represent us and our views trully represent us?

Living in fear folks. Living in fear. Watching for those racist Muslim fanatics, cause damn they are everywhere. They are right over our shoulder. Boo!

If we paid attention to how this country handles itself in a global society we might be living in a better world. Instead, we fill up our SUV tanks to go out and see the latest schlock Hollywood has to offer, we turn on our TV's and waste an evening watching entertainment news and pharmaceutical commercials while we eat our Twinkies. Is that the war in Iraq we are watching or Blackhawk Down? Yes.

We waste our lives deciding how best not to "waste our vote." Shouldn't we be questioning a two party system driven buy corporations and how much money can be spent to get "the campaign message out". Shouldn't we be wondering why we don't have more choices on the ballot?

Folks, presidential campaigns manufacture signs that look individualized so that when they are seen on TV we are under the illusion that supporters spent a great deal of time and effort in order to support their candidates. They are fooling us. The political machine in this country has been fooling us into thinking we even have a choice.

The priorities of this state cannot be military and security industrialization. They are only good at protecting a box. Think outside of the box, or be doomed forever to live inside it.

Tawanna- how exactly does one "push" a sitting president on a particular issue other than at the voting booth, or by making it known that he'll not get your vote, which is what I'm doing? Once you vote him back into office, he can't run for a third term, so he's got no real incentive to do anything anyone wants, even people a lot more influential than you or me.

Your strategy would be more applicable to positions without term limits.

Dave,

This is not a monarchy, the President is not Supreme Ruler and Lord of All -- he can't do anything he wants. The Senate and the House of Representatives have a hand in decision making too. Push the party in the direction you want it to go in and those who want to keep their jobs will listen.

Rex,fwiw, my ex lost his job 4 months after 9/11. He just got an offer yesterday and will start next week. Similar work to before (technical), same pay scale. Tell him the economy is not improving.

Michele, NEVER apologize for being "selfish." And you don't have to "justify" your selfish acts - to anyone.

The word "selfish" is not a slur, despite the connotations that it has in our society.

In most cases, you'd be right, anonymous person, but not in the cases of a) announcing support for a Constitutional amendment, or b) failure to issue executive orders, or even push Congress hard enough, to enact adequate homeland security in time of crisis. Those fall squarely on the President himself.

Perfect. Perfect.

The Founding Fathers talked, ad nauseum, about patriotism being of no use unless it went along with "interest", meaning "self-interest".

Without "interest", patriotism is hollow, empty words. We must recognize what WE get out of our choices, otherwise the system doesn't work.

Beautifully said, Michele.

There is so much 'boy who cried wolf' angst about the loss of rights that is has become impossible for me to take the candidates on the Left seriously.

Just like in 2000, when I wanted -- really wanted -- Al Gore to give me a reason to vote for him. And, instead, basically heard people such as myself (working hard, trying to pay the bills, sending @ 40% of what I earn to the tax man) being castigated as 'what was wrong with this country.'

I may have my differences with the President, but the truth is, there is scant difference between the parties. In my mind, the Democrats are shameless in their pandering to the interests that have them beholden, and time and again insult the intelligence of the 'average' American.

As to the Gay marriage issue, to me it doesn't matter if they call the term marriage or not, but committed couples should have the same rights throughout the country. I don't see much respect for the feelings of those who have been raised to think that marriage is only for heterosexuals -- they may be wrong, but it never works to tell someone he or she is simply wrong despite the fact that they hold some of the bedrock values that were part of the culture in which they were raised in.

I had a dear friend who was gay (he passed away in the early 80's due to complications of AIDS). Back then, there was great anger in the gay community over the policies of the Reagan adminstration, AIDs policy, and religious attitudes like those held by Anita Bryant (remember her?).

If he were alive today, I am sure he would find it nearly impossible to believe the degree of acceptance that homosexuality has acheived in two short decades. I know it is difficult for people who are oppressed, or believe that they are, to be patient. But the gay community is at a point where they are perhaps pushing too hard for something that might come more easily through gentle and unwavering support of what they know is right, while waiting for the clearly growing sentiment of the general population that their cause is just.

Sorry for running on, but my main point is that we will have little chance of reaching a just society for gay rights, religious rights, or anything else if the base racial and religious hatred that was so plainly displayed on 9/11 fails to be the main subject to which we all, as a nation, focus our determination.

I think it's premature to assume that Bush is a resounding success in terms of security issues. We are in the midst of very delicate situations in both Iraq and Afghanistan - situations in which we have already made a ton of serious mistakes. Delicacy is not exactly Bush's strong point - the potential exists for things to go very wrong very fast.

I do still retain some hope that Kerry might not get the nomination. I would vote for him over Bush if that's my choice, but I think the Democrats are falling for a rope-a-dope GOP strategy by running to the left in response to Bush's being so far to the right on so many issues. It's like they learned nothing at all from the success of Bill Clinton. Edwards would make a much stronger candidate vs. Bush, IMO.

I don't begrudge you your vote, Michele - I just don't believe that we'll actually be safer under Bush.

Well put. Very well put. It's absolute insanity having to listen to my hysterical gay boss go off about this issue. He absolutely refuses to sit down and have a rational, logic based argument about it. He can't even get to the point to listen to me enough to hear that I agree with him. lol. In any case, keep up the good work!

The question is, are there enough WOT single-issue voters to get Bush re-elected?

Time will tell.

Myria

I absolutely agree with Michele's priority being very, very self-interested here. I am with a few of the other posters here, though, in thinking that a self-interested voter, even and especially one primarily interested in safety & security, should take a good hard look at whoever the Dems put up (probably Kerry), and make sure that they really think that person will do a worse job than Bush. I fear that over and over again, Bush has let the narrow special interests of his constituencies trump actual security concerns. The radical underfunding of homeland security is just one example of this.

Also, you (in the very broad plural sense of 'you') do your own cause no good by saying, basically, "Whatever Bush says or does from this point on, and whatever Kerry says or does from this point on, I'm going to go with Bush" -- because doing so gives Bush zero incentive to get better on the things that are important to you, and indeed gives Kerry no incentive to do so, either. (Ditto, btw, to all the A-B-B crowd.) Frankly I find the oft-heard certainty of many people that Bush is automatically tops on security rather puzzling.

Michelle, while I agree that self-interest IS the reason to vote, I really do not agree that a vote for Bush is a vote for Security.

Personally, I see it as a vote for terror unending. As someone said above; Bush talks the talk, but if you look at what he's actually done about homeland security, it's not much. And meanwhile, he's made us lots of NEW enemies.

Is it a one-sided, single-valued decision? No, of course not. But I will LIKELY be voting for Kerry. I actually do think he's qualified to continue the war Bush started to a satisfactory conclusion - and by "satisfactory" I mean, as many terrorist corpses as possible at as low a price as possible with a net gain in security and world prestege.

That's what MY gut is telling me.

And the other thing is this: I calculate the odds.

You see, I'm being even more selfish. The odds of a terrorist incident affecting me directly are miniscule - but the misteps and malfeasences of the Bush administration, it's palpable desire to strip us of important rights and erode the constitution does affect me.

Free Speech is my bread and butter - I don't like the idea that disagreeing with the president might just get me on a watch list, with the possiblity of black van showing up at midnight someday.

I'd rather take the risk of being blown up, frankly.

Recall Winston Churchill on the young liberals and old conservatives.

W is the MUCH lesser of two evils. No contest.

Infantile political shibboleths hurt both parties.

Excellent post. I couldn't agree with you more.

This is how the republican party sweeps up the votes of people who could never benefit from their policies (ie. Blue-collar, working-class, etc.). They manage to trump up issues that appeal to different classes of people and count on those issues obscuring the fact the the real policies hurt. Why would anyone who makes less than 100k vote for george? It is a question that boggles the mind. But he tells ya what you want to hear. "Law and order", "national security", "patriotism", "morality (hah)". And people focus on their little pandering nugget of propaganda and throw their vote behind the most self-interested regime in American history. So you think you're "safer" or infidels don't get to marry each other and your little piece of American righteousness is safe while the guy who made the promises is making America better and safer for... him and his.

Because really... Who's to say America is safer under george? That argument can (and does) go on forever with nobody really convincing anybody of their viewpoint. Would Clinton or Kerry or Gore or Nader or Carter or Dukakis or whoever be any better or worse? 9/11 happened on george's watch anyway. Were we any safer that day? What has he done since? Iraq is going swimmingly.

george and his handlers tout him as the "national security" guy but that really is just a bunch of smoke and mirrors.

Better to have Kerry's smoke and mirrors instead. At least he won't rape and pillage the nation in the name of some extreme, right-wing, manachean, darwinistic, fundamentalist, corporate ideology.

Overheard on The Daily Show~

"we have two choices, that's one more than a dictatorship."

yah, lord w., please dave us from all the angry brown people, pleeeeeeeeeeeeease!!

Excellent piece, Michelle. By way of introduction, may I insert my own comments:

On the matters of Iran, Pakistan, and North Korea:

Iran: I think the discussions with Iran are a direct cause/effect of our move against Iraq. While I would prefer some covert ops supporting the younger generation in Iran looking to overthrow the clerics in charge (if such covert ops aren't already underway), there is at least a dialog underway.

Pakistan: this has been a hotbed for many years, and continues to be so. We were supported by a General as leader who may very well have been a player in Al Quaeda. Regardless, I read over the weekend details of more raids taking place in the so-called 'war lord' areas that were previously off-limits to our troops. We may well find Bin Laden there yet.

North Korea: Maybe I need to read your archives more, but what's wrong with this Administrations handling of NK? Where they demanded unilateral negotiations with the US, we insited on multi-lateral, and we've got them.

>>If I took into account every person in the United States when I went into the polling booth, if I took into mind the needs of every gender, race, religion and group with special needs, I would never come out. I'd stare at all the choices and never be able to make the right one for everyone. So, selfish as it may seem, I have to make the right choice for me and what I think is the right choice for the country.

You're now in my daily list of reads.

C:

Part of my post was cut off (OK, so I am longwinded.

After I quoted you re:voting for the masses I wrote:

In an offhanded way, you do take every person into account in the polling booth. You're voting for the person best suited to protect your freedoms, their freedoms, and the world's freedoms. At least you're making the effort to defend others by exercising a responsibility that many shirk off.

On being selfish:
Show me a person who claims not to be selfish, and I'll show you a liar. Anyone who takes the high-holy position of 'You're selfish, but I am not' is merely hoping their agenda wins, which, as you pointed out so well, is selfish. For those who want their agenda to prosper and see the only means to that being the removal of President Bush, they should remember he's fighting for our rights to HAVE an agenda. Should the evil ones win, we're doomed to live in a world not unlike the Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.

And, yes... you're in my daily list of reads.

Michele, This is the first article I've ever read on your blog. It was fowarded to me by a friend. You raise some interesting points, and I will agree with you completely that voting is selfish, and that you should put your family on the top of the list of priorities. Amen to that!

But, I hope with ever fiber of my being that you and your family live out perfect lives. Because what if you're son(s) and/or daughter(s) are gay? If Bush has it his way, they will never marry. Then you are guaranteeing them their full rights by voting for Bush. You are taking away a right which should be granted to EVERYONE. You take away a chance at happiness. And God forbid you or one of your daughters were raped. Again, under the "Bush regime", if you were raped, and became pregnant, you will carry that child to full term. He is working on a law to get rid of the woman's right to choose! How's that for women's rights!

As for not voting for Kerry because he won't assure you're family safety. He is pro-war. He doesn't want this war to end...he wants to continue but do it correctly. Get people to back us up...so that we aren't in there alone.

And as for Nader, I completely agree. Third party candidates are a waste of time...unless you get a VERY POWERFUL third party, or a VERY split vote between others, a third party candidate will never enter the white house. Honestly, don't waste your vote on Nader.

But Bush wants to strip Americans of rights...and it may not affect you directly, but it may one day. In either your future, or your children's futures...or your childrens' children's future. Try to have that on your conscious...I know I can't.

I like how gay rights used to mean, "let us live in peace without getting beat up or having pointless raids on gay bars."

Now, according to some, it means "we cannot be happy unless the State plants its seal of approval on our marriage."

Granted--the State ought to approve all marriages, or none. But for Mike to suggest that gays cannot be happy without the State's permission is a bit much.

And the idea that Roe v. Wade might be overturned is laughable. The most we're looking at in terms of curtailing "abortion rights" is a prohibition on partial-birth abortions. Which is fine by me--and by the majority of American citizens.

The future is in our hands. We must try to be a little bit thoughtful here--and Michele got it right.

You must live in a depressing world if you vote on terrorism as a single issue. Bush has screwed it up so badly at this point that there's no reason to vote for him on it. The Taliban is regaining power in Afghanistan, anti-americanism and extremism is increasing abroad, we're the laughing stock of the intelligence community, and all of the real terrorist threats have been ignored, and yes, that includes Libya. Khadafi got rid of his nuclear program, but I still trust that guy about as far as I can throw him. If anything, it probably just frees up money to spend on cheaper terrorist options.

Not that Kerry will be much better. He'll still shoot missiles at random targets and advocate intervening in other countries because its politically expedient, and we'll probably still be in a mess because a lot more innocent people will die by our hands.

There are few givens in American policy. One is that foreign affairs are routinely screwed up independent of whoever is in charge. Which is why I recommend taking a hard look at domestic issues when you choose a candidate.

No to Gay marriage. Yes to Civil Unions.

Credibility? I'd say Libya thinks we're credible. Iran is beginning to get the picture, as is Pakistan. North Korea is, alas, impervious to reason. That regime will have to be starved out by the Chinese or bombed out by the U.S.

I'm with Michele. Another strike here, I don't want a President asking Kofi Annan and Jacques Chirac permission to be miffed about it.

The choices aren't that great once again.

But terrorism is my main concern and for good reason.

I do not like Shrub II, but I will vote for Bush.

Islamic terrorist were attacking the West way before 9/11, but the issue did not become monumentally important until a Republican was voted into the Presidency.

In 1998, Susan Sarandon managed to pressure the corporation who hired Dr. Laura from hiring Dr. Laura because Ms. Sarandon did not like Dr. Laura's views. The issue of free speech became monumentally important when a Republican was voted into Presidency.

In 1993, the Defense of Marriage Act was enacted but apparently gays did not feel the issue of marriage was important at the time. The issue of gay marriage became monumentally important when a Republican was voted into Presidency.

The reality is, we were losing our rights and freedoms when a Democrat was voted into the Presidency.

I am voting for Bush because he is defending our country and because he has eliminated the Death Tax. I work for my father's small business yet when he died the government took over half of everything. We even had Death Tax insurance and Limited Partnerships but these things did not stop the socialist from taking most of what we had earned over the years. Eliminating the Death Tax was long overdue, as is the policy of taxing us to death is long overdue! I am sick and tired of working 60 hour weeks to support someone who choses to work 16 hour weeks. Maybe I could ask Sen. Byrd, Sen. Kerry and Sen. Kennedy to give me some of their money to replace the money these socialists stole from my family.