Mary and I voted this past weekend. This election (as everyone is predicting) is an especially important election. We've got quite a few ballot measures in Oregon, some of which are rather confusing. And, of course, Kerry vs. Bush is on everyone's mind.
The most confusing was measure 37 - which deals with zoning and what the government has to pay you. It sounded like you could look at the potential history of the zoning of your property, and if you "suffered" a loss of potential reduction in property value, the state would have to give you the difference. Voted no.
Measure 36 is popping up all over the country, and Bush is pushing for it as well - defining marriage as one man one woman. There were the most hilarious arguments "in favor" of measure 36 - you just have to read them. A bunch of people got all pissy about those positions for the measure. All I have to say is: if you're stupid enough to believe the argument, then you get what you deserve. It's paid advertising, and you cannot introduce censorship because what may seem as a valid argument to one person (i.e. believing in God) may be ludicrous to another person. Voted no.
Erin Brokovich got my vote for measure 35: the standard "tort reform" aimed at health care. Numbers were flying for this one, and the "pro 35" advertisements were silly - people dressed in lab coats saying ridiculous things. Voted no.
Measure 34: this one was easy - I like forests, I'm a tree-hugger. Voted yes.
Measure 32 wins the "I really don't give a damn either way" category. But since it appeared to mean less money earmarked for roads and parks, I voted no.
Measure 38 just seemed like a scam by Liberty Northwest to get rid of its competition. Let them compete by lowering their prices. Voted no.
Moving on to the race for the presidency:
I've read a couple articles about Bush vs. Kerry. It's pretty obvious that neither candidate is capturing the hearts and minds of the public. Bush has some hard-core supporters - mostly based on moral issues (abortion, anti-terrorist image, "family" values, etc.). Kerry doesn't have the same strength - some people think he'll be a good president, but a lot just don't want Bush.
The question is, "do you vote someone out?" In other words, does it make sense to vote for someone to replace the incumbent because you want a change? Some people think that's not a valid reason for choosing who to vote for. I think it makes complete sense, at least in the U.S. We don't really have a choice in most of our political races. The country has been pretty much carved into either Democrat or Republican - 95+% of the time you know who is going to win each race long before you ever cast a ballot. Nader has been pointing that out lately (probably forever, but come on, who listens to him?). We don't have multiple choices, we have two, so not liking one person is just as good a reason for choosing the other as any other reason.
A pollster (well, a Move-On.Org guy) asked me for the issues that influenced my vote. I didn't know what to tell him, he didn't have a category labeled "Not Bush". But it boils down to the fact that I don't like what Bush has done, nor how he has carried himself as the President. I don't see that I have any other option. I only have two choices: Bush or Kerry. Voting for someone other than those two is tantamount to throwing my vote away.
I don't know how Kerry would be as President. But I don't know that you can really tell how anyone would be as president before they actually assume the position. If you're going to criticize Kerry's behavior as a senator and use it as an indication of his potential as a president, you should criticize Bush by his behavior as president of several corporations (they all chose chapter 11 bankruptcy). The truth is, people as president act very differently than they do as senators/governors/whatever. The Presidency is such a different role, you have such different power and resources available.
I wrote a small snippet on this issue on the Engaging Thought web page.
Now I drop the ballot off and wait for the results.