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Who to nominate?

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I'm gonna be out of town on the 5th, so I have to complete and mail in my absentee ballot for the California primary election ASAP.

Spent much of yesterday evening looking over the ballot measures. The only simple and obvious one is prop. 91, the one for which the supporters say it's no longer needed and not to vote for it. None of the others allow the clear-cut obvious choices that some ballot measures have. Arguments on both sides of each seem to me to be a mix of reasonable and annoying. I'm usually pretty happy to vote against any argument signed by anything calling itself a "taxpayer association," but even that isn't as obvious a choice for me as it usually is. Also, none of these are issues that I especially care about.

So I set all that aside to focus on thinking about which candidate to vote for in the primary.

There are seven candidates on my ballot, and I don't know much about most of them. Going through the list, I quickly discovered that one candidate had dropped his candidacy and was now supporting another candidate, a woman who looked like she might be the strongest candidate in the party.

I'm referring, of course, to Cynthia McKinney.

Oh, wait, did I mention that I'm registered Green?

I've dodged several questions in recent weeks from friends and family, of the form "So, who are you voting for, Clinton or Obama?"

For once, I could imagine voting for a Democrat. Neither Clinton nor Obama is as liberal as I'd like; on the other hand, both of them have a chance of actually winning the national election, unlike any of the candidates who I'd actively support. (I've been meaning to write about my mixed feelings about Kucinich for weeks, but I'm not gonna do so in this entry.) And I like them both; I tend to believe both of their self-descriptions--that is, I tend to think of Clinton as having more experience (and being more pragmatic) and Obama as having more vision. I find Obama inspirational to watch and listen to, but when I pay attention to the details of what he's saying, I don't always agree with him.

For that matter, though I disagree with him even more, I don't think McCain would be a disastrously bad President. I would be very upset if Huckabee were to win, but that seems unlikely at this point. (And I just read a really interesting discussion of him in Salon that suggested that he and I have a fair tad bit more common ground than I would've expected.) Oh, and I'd be unhappy about Romney too, of course.

Anyway, one nice thing about this year's Green ballot is not having to choose between a black person and a woman, 'cause there's a black woman on the ballot, and she looks to me like the most qualified of the Green candidates.

I confess to being a little dubious about some things about McKinney--for example, her Wikipedia entry makes her sound a little overly conspiracy-minded, and I don't agree with her on everything (and much of the point of voting Green for me is to have a candidate who I actively like and agree with, rather than picking the least of several evils), and she's not as well-spoken in the video on her site as she is in the video of the closing statements of the recent Green debate in San Francisco.

But she does have political experience--over ten years in the House as a Democrat--and I like her in that closing statement (starting around 5:55 in that video) even though the captioners mislabeled her; and she does support core Green values.

(Note: Please don't attempt to convince me that voting Green is wasting my vote. I've heard all the arguments many many times, and I'm not going to go into them in this entry.)

The ballot also includes several other candidates. I've never found Nader all that convincing as a Green; I don't really think his goals and the party's are that closely aligned. The others on the ballot don't excite me, from what I've seen perusing their websites and various online videos.

One other interesting candidate is Elaine Brown, a former leader of the Black Panthers, but her website indicates that she has left the party, mostly (it seems to me) on the grounds that it's not radical enough and that it's too white. Probably true; the Greens don't go nearly as far as a couple of other parties. I used to be registered Peace & Freedom, whose primary ballot McKinney is also on.

I've been waffling a lot lately about what my political philosophy really is wrt Presidential campaigns these days. But no real conclusions as yet, and I'm not up for going into any more detail about that at the moment. Maybe another time.

But for now, I'm still registered Green, and I'm leaning toward nominating McKinney.

2 Comments

Jed,

I am proud of you for sticking to your principles despite what is probably substantial pressure from all sorts of folks (and society in general) to vote for one of the "big four" remaining candidates. But you're no stranger to sticking to principle, so I am not surprised.

While I respect your decision to support McKinney, and setting aside her slim chances of being elected, I think she would be an ineffective president (at best) on the merits. Her history leads me to believe that she would not be a good leader for our country...I know a bit about her, have seen her in press conferences, and nothing I saw on the Wikipedia entry made me change my overall skeptical opinion of her. But that's a debate for a different day.

What I am really writing about is two quick items that your entry reminded of:

1. Our father once told me that for many presidential elections, he wrote in Alan Watts. A few years ago, when I re-read the Alan Watts nonsense book Peter gave me (literally, that was the title of the book--it was a bunch of nonsense poems and writings), I had an epiphany and realized why Peter had voted for Watts (at least, I think think I realized why; I will never know for sure) for all those years. Not that I agreed with Peter, but I think I at least understood why it "made sense" in his mind to vote for the nonsense guy. As Pvt. Joker explained in Full Metal Jacket, "It's something about the duality of man, sir. It's a Jungian thing."

2. A good friend of mine was in South Africa teaching inner city kids in Jo'burg when Nelson Mandela was elected president. My friend sent me a copy of the ballot, which listed many parties, of course including Mandela's. Naturally, I was rooting for Mandela, but my favorite party was the "Soccer Party," whose symbol was a soccer ball and whose stated objective was "world peace through soccer." What could possibly go wrong with that plan?


Regarding world peace through soccer, there was of course the "soccer war" of 1969 between El Salvador and Honduras, so it's not, perhaps, an infallible approach. But still one with a lot of merit.


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