24 October 2018

At last.....

Election ballots were mailed to voters throughout Oregon a few days ago, and mine is already here.  Voting to re-elect our Democratic Governor and Representative is a no-brainer, of course (there's no Senate race in Oregon this year), but some of the more local non-partisan races will take a little research.  Fortunately everybody gets a massive pamphlet of voter information as well, and of course my mailbox has been awash in propaganda for days.

Northern Illinois University recently released a map ranking the states by how easy it is to vote in each one, and our state ranks first in the country.  So no one who lives here has any excuse for not voting.  We're one of three states where all voting is by mail, and there are even ballot drop-boxes all over the place for those who don't want to spend their hard-earned money on a stamp.

No doubt you've seen the reports of high turnout for early voting (notably in Texas, though it ranks 46th on NIU's map) and how this could be a good sign for Democrats.  But don't get overconfident -- it's also being reported that the early vote is skewing heavily Republican.  In 2016 most people were sure that Trump would lose, leading the marginally motivated to feel secure enough to throw away their vote on a third candidate or not bother to vote at all.  Never again.

All over the net you'll see the voices of cynicism and discouragement -- "voting doesn't change anything", "both parties are the same", etc.  It's hard to tell which of these are Russian trolls up to their usual tricks and which ones are genuine ideological idiots up to their usual tricks, but in practice the difference doesn't matter.  The real-world effect, either way, is the same -- to help Republicans.

If voting didn't change anything, the Republicans wouldn't be working so hard to discourage "the wrong people" from doing it -- most notably in Georgia and North Dakota, but they're pulling this kind of crap everywhere in the country where they have enough power to do it, even in Kansas, which you'd think would be a safe state for them, if anywhere is.  The enemy knows that voting matters.  A lot.  That's exactly why they want you to believe it doesn't.

As for "both parties are the same", it's astounding that the Bush administration wasn't enough to disabuse everyone of such drivel, but after two years of Trump, the level of willful blindness it requires verges on insanity.  One party's President nominated Kavanaugh and its Senators voted almost unanimously to confirm him; the other party's Senators voted almost unanimously against him.  One party has been fighting for years to destroy the ACA and its protections for people with pre-existing conditions (even if some of them are now lying about it as they see how unpopular their stance is); the other has been fighting like hell to preserve it.  One party is pushing to legalize discrimination against gay people and even dreams of taking away their right to marry; the other supports equality before the law.  One party openly demands the gutting of Social Security and Medicare to pay for the gargantuan tax cut they just gave to the wealthiest; the other will keep those things safe for you when you eventually need them.  One party has kowtowed and made excuses and dodged the subject every time Trump let loose with some vicious rhetorical attack on journalists, minorities, scientists, and anyone else who dares stand up to him, while giving the thugs in Charlottesville a pass; the other -- well, it's impossible to imagine Hillary, Bernie, or any other plausible Democratic President behaving that way, nor would the rest of the party let them get away with it if they did.

I could go on for pages.  You know I could.  There has never been a time in living memory when the differences between the parties were so vast and the stakes so dire.

If you won't vote for your own sake, do it for the people in Georgia, North Dakota, and across the country who have been robbed of the right their grandparents had to fight so hard for.


Blogger Ten Bears said...

Mine is already in the big steel box down at the county clerk's office.

24 October, 2018 06:34  
Anonymous Rogue Valley Girl 7 said...

Done sent mine in already. Vote against all Republicans -- they are The Enemy of everyone but the rich, straight, white male christians. And if they win, you can kiss Social Security and Medicare goodbye. Sadly, the Republican who "represents" my district will probably win, but that didn't stop me from voting. C'mon, SoOre and EaOre, we can do better than Walden! Vote for Jamie McLeod-Skinner!

24 October, 2018 07:55  
Anonymous Professor Taboo said...

I voted yesterday Infidel, early voting here in Dallas, TX. Inside the actual closed-off booth with the computerized ballot-machine it took me less than 2-mins to go thru 8-pages (screens) of candidates. LOL Now you may ask how is that possible?

Never before in all my voting years have I done it this way, this fast! Never! I am an Independent and have always taken my responsibility to vote very seriously. I spend a good 2-mons (plus) researching and reviewing the background and track-record of every single candidate up for vote. All that changed after Nov. 2016. That's when I PAINFULLY realized that no matter how much it deeply disturbs me to have (in state & US elections) just two FUCKING CHOICES, A or B, black or white, rice cakes or raw beets... I am throwing away my vote(s). Why?

After about 2-decades of watching the Republican Party finagle, redraw districts & precincts, trash our public school infrastructure and broad curriculum down to skeletal cancerous minimums (while wealthy caucasian districts build $70-million football stadiums!) then take those resources to private and charter (Christian) schools, and continually reinforce the state's labor laws for the "At-Will" status that grossly favors employers/corporations over workers and undermines or destroys labor unions (i.e. the people)... I AM DONE!!! It is very sad that it has come down to this level, this rampant tribalism that me and millions of other Independents must choose between:

A -- conform to Conservative-Christian values and tenets, or...

B -- go to unforgiving, disrespectful, offensive war

Civilized degrees in between those radical extremes have been intentionally stolen from the majority of Americans. Consequently, to re-balance this nation back too stability, I selected just ONE choice on the first screen of my voting machine...

"Vote Party Line..." (3 choices)

My selection: "Democrat"!!!!!!!!!

Done in less than 2-mins. I am one very pissed-off 8th generation white Texan!!!! I'm prepared to go all the way to my death (hopefully metaphorically speaking!) to truly make this nation what Lady Liberty is supposed to symbolize, but is now fast becoming (if she's not already) just a waste of space and rusting relic if the U.S.A. continues down this Hobbesian path.

24 October, 2018 09:06  
Blogger authornan said...

Great post! I too live in Oregon and think it's THE best way to vote. If only everyone would actually do it ...

24 October, 2018 09:27  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

I didnt even know how low Texas ranks in it being easy to vote, it's so low. I heard, as far as you saying about Oregon not having a Senate race this year, I'm really confused without research on what states have what, so I'm alwayz surprised when I find out. I never had a problem voting here, but I'm a white male, but I noticed they asked about my address and ID this early voting monday I done ... my addresses on my drivers license and voter ID card are different though. I talked to many ex- cons too over the years here, who were felony convictions and had no idea they could vote, so I made sure they knew. As far as both party's as the same ... I think what folks feel that, at least so many folks that I talked to over the years that dont vote, is because so much money is poured, especially these dayz into both sides by the same entities of wealth, and when it comes to certain issues concerning money, they manage to get in a bipartisan mode a little faster. No doubt there are differences, even historically though, especially on so many social issues and religion being crammed down throats, etc. Big money and corporate banking influence and large institutionalized religion, has indeed forced both parties to move more "right" (at least in my view) and even old school republicans were different than so many today. When Hillary was running for President ... a big campaign donor (cant recall which one off hand, but I have it on my site) straight up told Clinton, "If you pick Warren as a running mate for VP, you're finished!" ... and the amount of control some of these big money entities have today over our Congress is outrageous. I'm more progressive as far as left, way more left than many democrats, only because our country has moved too far right, but not truly conservative in my view, I dont see any fiscal responsibility these dayz out of Republicans. But I voted straight Republican for years too, like in the 70's, 80's & 90's. I'm voting Dem this time, because there is no party strong enough to challenge what Republicans are doing and pushing under this administration currently. Even though Texas ranks so low, and is so unpopular as far as voting rights, etc ... I am grateful to see so much new effort being put forth by Democrats here, this has been under strict Republican power for years, and moving further right by the year politically. It would be hard for someone like you to understand, since you havent experienced what I have, as far as lack of political diversity, and not representing common folks much, we dont get the social help either that you would ... you get used to being on your own here, and using your bootstraps more, it hardens you mentally and physically. Later ....

24 October, 2018 13:29  
Blogger bluzdude said...

My state of Maryland offers a week of early voting, which includes registration at the same time. Even with a Republican governor, they know not to mess with voting rights.

I'll be voting early, on Saturday. Even though I can get to the polls without any trouble, I like to have that chip in the bank before any possible snafu can arise.

Lastly, thank you for the mention and the link last week. That was greatly appreciated.

25 October, 2018 05:00  
Anonymous Jerry said...

Voting Democrat party line might be one way to cut into Republican rule, but I have always informed myself on each and every candidate (yes even 3rd and 4th party candidates) running that I have an opportunity to vote for.

My State (Minnesota) the Democrats have put up a candidate that has 30 criminal convictions on his public record. I see no reason to add another crook to Washington D.C. and it's an insult to me as a voter for the Democrats to support such a man for elected office. I'll be voting for the Independent Party.

You won't hear me saying both/all political parties are the same, or it does not matter if I vote, or not.

But it's easy to understand why some citizens take that apathetic view given the history of politics in America, especially these days.

This will not solve itself. We need Constitutional amendments to make changes.

25 October, 2018 09:51  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Thomas: Congratulations for beating me to it.

Rogue: And you as well. You understand what we're up against. I gather you live in rural Oregon; being somewhat familiar with part of it (Coos county), I sympathize.

Professor: Congratulations and thanks. I too wish we had more choices; I wish we had two parties a sane person could consider voting for. Unfortunately we're stuck with the reality we have.

Author Nan: I strongly support nationwide vote-by-mail. It would boost turnout everywhere and relegate the Republicans to marginal status -- which is why they'll never allow it in the states they control.

Ranch: The influence of money is disturbing. I don't think it's as great as is generally believed, however. Some candidates and issues have spent vast sums and still lost.

Everybody will be watching Texas on election night. Beto is a long shot, but if he makes it, we'll know for sure we're on the way to taking our country back.

Bluzdude: Voting early is a great idea if it's an option -- as you say, once it's done it's done, and no last-minute problem can thwart you.

Thanks for the post!

Jerry: Voting for Democrats across-the-board is the only way to effectively reduce Republican power. Voting for a third candidate is functionally equivalent to not voting, since it means your vote has zero impact on the outcome between the two candidates who have an actual possibility of winning.

You do raise an important question -- what to do when the available Democratic candidate is not just unsatisfactory but utterly repugnant? All I can do is give my own answer. When Nazi Germany invaded the USSR, someone asked Churchill how he felt about being allied with Stalin -- a thoroughly evil man in his own right. Churchill said, "If Hitler attacked Hell, I would find something good to say about the Devil." He knew Stalin was evil, but Hitler was the immediate, urgent threat.

That's my answer. No matter how bad a given Democrat is, the Republicans are the immediate, urgent threat. The harm any one politician, including an evil Democrat (and that's pretty rare) can do is limited. The harm Republican majorities can and do do -- well, we've seen more than enough recently. Lives are at stake, many of them. Obviously the party should provide better candidates, but most candidates are chosen by primaries, and the party leadership has limited influence over who wins those.

Given the requirements for Constitutional amendments (two-thirds of each house of Congress plus the legislatures of three-fourths of the states), meaningful amendments can never pass until Democrats have far more overwhelming control than anyone expects them to win in the next couple of elections. Massive wins for Democrats and a complete rout of the Republicans are necessary prerequisites for any such amendments.

25 October, 2018 20:38  
Blogger Dave Dubya said...

As people of conscience we need to call out evil for what it is. Not only are Republicans the immediate urgent threat, they now represent, serve, and defend an admitted sex criminal and white nationalist. They have sided with evil in their war on democracy, justice, and equality.

Just this past week in Trump America we’ve had three white nationalist MAGA nut terrorist attacks in our country. Make no mistake. This trend of domestic terrorism is the fetid fruit of Trump’s white nationalism, unleashed upon what is fast becoming a terminally diseased democratic republic.

Trump didn’t commit these crimes, but there is no doubt he inspired them. And he had help.

The Party of Trump continues its failure to denounce the hate from their leader. They are culpable.

FOX(R) and Limbaugh did their best to shield the MAGA bomber’s intent and blame it on Democrats or the hated “Left”. They are also culpable.

This is the true face of the new American white nationalist con-servatism. And make no mistake, this far Right brand of conservatism was built by the Republican Party and their propaganda network.

Now Trump, the Party of Trump, and their voices of hate at FOX and talk radio are inspiring and abetting a wave of far Right terrorism. This MAGA MOB is the real enemy of the people.

Let's get real. They are the "American Axis of Evil".

This is what defenders of justice, human decency, and reason are up against. It is imperative that good Americans of conscience understand the struggle for freedom, equality and democracy will never end.

This is the election where Americans accept or reject white nationalism. We’ll find out if they finally see the dark cloud of evil that has shrouded the land. Will we the people understand this MAGA mob of Putin puppets, white nationalists, domestic terrorists, criminals, and traitors are the most dangerous threat to our democracy?

It's both sad and terrifying to even have to ask this question.

27 October, 2018 10:52  

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