2006-07-15

POLITICS - NIGEL'S DECLARATION of INDEPENDENCE

Sent: July 15, 2006


I AM FED UP!

This is why, from here on in, I will vote for only those candidates who share my general political philosophy (a Nigel clone would be redundant) and who are intellectually honest about it – from beginning to end: when they announce to when they run for office to when they speak before any group to when they debate to when they’re elected to while they’re in office. They are free to do what they bloody well like after they retire.

I am up to here with political realism. You can also spare me the old “Quixotic”, “Romantic” crap. If you ask me, this tired old orb could do with a helluva booster shot of unadorned and irrational Romanticism. When you get the clap, penicillin does the trick. The world has a bad case right now - anyone have a better anti-B than the truth?

While my gal/guy might lose, s/he will lose on principle – based on who s/he is – rather than on her/his ability to finesse and blur enough issues on the political battlefield to ensure that few can tell where s/he stands on much of anything. In short, I will cast my vote for someone - not anyone or no one - ever again. And if such a person is not running for that particular office, I will simply take a pass and leave that ballot circle blank. I am done with “Hobson’s choices” and “the lesser of two evils” un-choices. From now on, my way is the Third Way, not the highway.

If they are unwilling (or unable) to be intellectually honest, every day, in every way, then they will not get my vote. I will vote (or not) for a Russ Feingold, or a Ron Paul, or a Jesse Helms. These people are unapologetically who they are; take ‘em or leave ‘em. Their words and deeds appear to me to be in perfect synch. To a wo/man, folks like this treat me like the adult I am; able to make up my own mind about what I agree with and don’t about who they are. Just give me the goddam truth! More of us can handle it than Jack Nicholson thinks.

I may have despised every damned racist, homophobic, bigoted, nativist, xenophobic, and antediluvian bone in Jesse Helms’ decrepit old carcass, but I never had to spend an ounce of energy trying to figure out who he really was and where he was coming from.

Never again will my vote support the likes of John Kerry or, the way it’s going, Hillary. These people are the real traitors of this country because they hold out the chimera of a better world, if only we let them run it; all the while equivocating their way into office on tiny pink feet. When Dick Cheney opens his mouth, I know nothing good will come of it for minimum wage, working-poor, single mom, middle-class America. When John or Hillary does, I need to check the calendar; if it’s Tuesday, we need to stay the course; if Friday, we need to come together on “choice.” What the fuck is that?

But the fault, Dear Brutus, is ours. We have trained our political animals like so many trained seals; tell a half-truth, get a fish; shade an opinion, get another electoral vote. What we really ought to be getting on with, in this could-be-great-again land, is the untraining and retraining of our politicos. But first, we need to train ourselves to recognize a sham or a scam; to know a shill or a scoundrel when we see one, and bounce them the hell out of their snug little sinecures.

This will take cojones, on our part. For openers, it means working on our not-shabby denial skills; we don’t want to know and we vote for folks who promise not to tell us. I guess that needs to change before our pandering politicos ever will, eh?

The last time I checked, humans still only respond to pain and pleasure. We need to make dissemblage of all stripe so painful that our wannabe reps stop doing it and start competing on the merits alone, not on their prestidigitation prowess.

While I may not vote for any candidate in a race, I will, in effect, be casting two votes for those who oppose my preferred, but non-intellectually honest, gal or guy: the one I will fail to cast for my gal/guy, plus the one never tallied against my gal/guy’s opposition and thus, one less that said opposition will need to win.

I will be at peace with the knowledge that my vote in no way helped perpetuate this formerly great nation’s current broken, hypocritical, disenfranchising, misrepresentational, crazy quilt-confusing, electorally-jimmied, campaign fund-corrupting, “cage lists”-kleptocracizing, ex-felon-denying, HAVA-hamstrung, Gerrymander-ridden, crooked politico-sheltering, private club-perpetuating, monkey wrench strewn, sound-bite addled, alleged system of representative democracy.

I won’t mind if the candidate adjusts her/his thinking, as s/he goes along, when provided with new, verifiable, facts on a given issue; flexibility of the forebrain is the mark of a reflective, and therefore, civilized person – zealots, ideologues and partisans hardly ever change their minds in the face of new information; they already know the truth.

I couldn’t care less about a candidate’s inconsequentials: gender, race, creed, religion, nationality (except for Prez) sexual preference or practices, relative wealth, or political affiliations. Show me an intellectually honest, Tanzanian, transgender, hermaphroditic, philatelic, numismatic, Wiccan, billionaire from the Center Left Republican Party, with whom I agree, and my vote is hers/his/whatever to command.

I care a whole lot about a candidate’s fealty to principle; in both thought and deed. In fact, I have more respect for those with whom I disagree (because what they say and write aligns perfectly with their actions), than I do for those with whom I philosophically agree, but whose actions and words are vacillatory, tentative, mugwumpy, insidiously turgid or prolix, and , in general, betray a willingness to place appeasement and placation above principle.

We must also get better at weeding out, early on, candidates whose main way forward is to besmirch their competition. Attacks that deal in facts are okay; the truth being an almost perfect defense. But I would not vote for me, if the only way I could prevail was to resort to ad hominem, calumny, invective, and the host of other needlessly abusive and intellectually bankrupt ploys to avoid or replace addressing the issues at hand. I want a clean fight, and who cares what the media want.

I will work to help ensure a clean election. I will be a pollwatcher. I will just no longer support office-seekers who I deem as unwilling to say and do the right thing for the country. Nor will I ever again cast my vote for those who say the right things, but then do otherwise after my vote helps them to achieve office (although, at this stage of the game, I’m a New York audience).

It is time that we - as a nation & species – start getting the government(s) we truly deserve. I believe that can happen only if our politicians state precisely what they stand for and are then held accountable, by the people they may be proven to have lied to, for precisely those principles they espoused before taking office.

And if the nation goes to hell because enough other folks care to join me in opting out of this nation’s biennial sham… oh, well.

It would not be the first time in history that principle had to temporarily bend to reality before achieving its eventual, ineluctable victory.

Either way, we will certainly get the government we deserve.


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