Friday, November 19, 2004

What Kerry should have said

"I actually voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it."

Those words came back to haunt John Kerry at every step of the campaign. They were provided the foundation for accusations, and acted as confirmation, that Kerry was an untrustworthy flip-flopper.

Why, oh, why didn't he mention that there were two different bills? One was better than the other. He voted for the good one, and against the bad one.

Now, was that so hard to explain?

Sunday, November 14, 2004

The Moral Voter

Shortly after the election some poll or another indicated that voters in the so-called "red" states voted for George Bush because of his position on moral issues. Evidently, they perceived he had solid moral values which his opponent did not posess. No doubt they got this impression from Bush's attack ads more than from anything Kerry said or did himself.

But let's look at this a little more closely. The Republican party tends to limit its discussion of moral values to issues related to sex. Things like sex education, gay marriage, abortion, and Janet Jackson (who has lovely breasts). However, the foundation of morality is in loving your neighbor as yourself, and the Golden Rule - do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Sex is the least of it.

The Golden Rule is as important in international relations as it is with interpersonal ones. Here the GOP falls pathetically short. Bush has unilaterally broken treaties, cut funding for family planning assistance in overpopulated countries (the sex thing again), denied prisoners at Guantanamo the legal protections of POWs, failed to accept responsibility for the Abu Ghraib abuses (hell, Bush can't even pronounce "Abu Ghraib"), ignored the concerns and advice of our allies while insisting they do what we tell them, etc. If Russia or China had done any of these things, Bush would have called them rogue nations, reckless and irresponsible. We wouldn't want any of these things done unto us, so there is no justification for us doing such things unto others.

The President of the United States has little or no influence over sexual behavior, nor should he, and he shouldn't be elected based on those issues. He does, however, have responsibility for how this country behaves in the world. It is not in our national interest to violate our own, Christian principles in the name of national interest. In the end, such actions only harm our credibility, our trustworthiness, and our moral leadership.

I voted for Kerry on moral grounds, because he understood this.

Tuesday, November 9, 2004

Bush's concept of reaching out.

The day after the election President Bush said "America has spoken, and I'm humbled by the trust and confidence of my fellow citizens." Humbled? That remains to be seen.

"I want to speak to every person who voted for my opponent. To make this nation stronger and better I will need your support, and I will work to earn it." With these words, the newspaper reported, Bush was reaching out to the other side.

His reaching out to the opposition lasted all of one day. On Friday he said "I'll reach out to everyone who shares our goals." Since I don't share many of his goals, I guess I, and the other 49% of Americans, can forget about Bush reaching out to us.

Mr. Bush, if you want to earn my respect, if you want to earn my trust, if you want to be the President of all Americans, not just "red" Americans, you need to stop telling us what to think, and start listening to what we think.

Friday, November 5, 2004

Polling Place Problems

In the next few days I plan to share my thoughts on the outcome of the election. But before I get into that, I want to express my displeasure with the setup at our polling place.

We vote at the Oldemeyer Center in Seaside. We arrived there at 3:45pm to avoid the after work rush hour.

It was widely reported before the election that a large turnout was expected, yet our polling place was completely unprepared for anything more than the miniscule turnout normally seen during an off-year ho-hum election.

To make matters worse, two precincts, 77 and 78, were combined and crammed into a small room barely large enough to handle one in a normal election. This small room had only one 36" wide door to handle both incoming and outgoing traffic, which was constant.

There were signs posted in the hallway, with 77 on the left wall and 78 on the right, leading to confusion in the line as to where people were supposed to go. A rope had been set up, supposedly to separate the two precincts, but it led to the same narrow door, and everyone ended up on one side of the rope, due to unclear signage. One sign for Precinct 77 was posted on a door that led to an empty room, further adding to the confusion.

Inside the tiny room there were two tables set up to sign in, one for each precinct. 77 on the left, and ours, 78 on the right. 77 was given twice as much space as 78.

Precinct 78 was laid out in an L shape in one corner of the room, with the sign-in table on the short leg, and the voting booths on the long leg of the L. That might have worked, except that a large, heavy immovable table had also been placed inside of the L, within two feet of both the table and the booths, leaving precious little space to actually move. One stray booth was placed outside of this imposing table, right next to the line of incoming people. I was assigned to that lone booth.

I laid out my ballot, only to feel the eyes of the people waiting in line peering over my shoulder. I requested another booth. That one offered adequate privacy, but the pen used to mark the new optical scan ballot was on a chain that wastoo short to reach across the 18" square table, so I kept having to shift the oversized ballot around the table.

Meanwhile, across the hall, a large multi-purpose room, which could have easily accommodated both precincts with plenty of wiggle room, sat empty.

But at least we didn't run out of ballots like another Seaside precinct did.

Tuesday, November 2, 2004

Birthday Wish

Tomorrow, November 3rd, is my birthday.

I don't need clothes, or toys or cake (well, maybe cake).

What I really want for my birthday is a new President.

Please help make my birthday wish come true.