And I don't buy into the idea that by not participating on Election Day the government will suddenly turn to us and ask us what radical liberal policies we want to inject into the system. Let republicans consolidate their control of the military and every forceful aspect of the government and then expect them to realize they are not "legitimately" in control and hand us power? They know they are not legitimately in control right now. Less than half of all Americans vote anyway. All they need is the pretense of legitimacy. We would be giving them that pretense on a golden platter if we don't vote at all. I can't believe some of the ideas I hear, but I love America.
Bill Clinton had his shortcomings, but we now look back nostalgically on that era. The third party people weren't content with our foreign policy, free trade agreements or our environmental policy. While Clinton could have done better, he was nothing compared to Bush.
The third party people were wrong in 2000, and they've been wrong ever since, but they can't admit defeat. A good business will take inventory and decide what sells and what doesn't sell. Third party advocates take the position that if it doesn't sell today maybe it will sell tomorrow or the next day. They talk like gold prospectors full of hope and promise; everything will be easy living when we get that third party installed. Year after year I've listened to their promises and year after year they've failed to deliver.
We need to face the harsh reality that too many Americans lack the time or understanding to debate politics the way academics do. They tune out before the self-inflated thesis statement is halfway over. Add the jump-democrats-and-make-them-look-pretentious republican attack strategy to the mix, and we really have no room to start this debate.
I don't expect to win these third party advocates over, but some have acknowledged reality. Timothy V. Gatto, the Liberal Party chairman, wrote a great op-ed here explaining why he was voting for the Democrats. He pointed out that his votes were not an endorsement of the democrats, many of whom aren't worthy of praise--but hey, they're politicians!
I do expect these third party advocates to understand the old adage: the road to hell is paved with good intentions. They want more representation, better environmental protection and social equitability. Great! I agree with them. I want that too, but the third party movement has helped give President Bush eight years of rule, and its principals need to understand their culpability in that. This minority of opinion makers has de facto helped make possible an unconstitutional war in Iraq, which has killed 655,000 Iraqis and brought us to the brink of war in Iran. They have helped give away millions of dollars in tax money to private contractors and Big Oil. They have helped erode protections from the constitution.
I guarantee that at least one or two third party advocates will fire back at me and call me a liar and correct all my "mistakes;" tell me what I don't understand. It can't be comforting to think that they had a part in getting Bush elected, but third party advocates need to consider the results of their actions and stop looking hopefully into the future. In a perfect world this wouldn't be the case, but we don't live in a perfect world.
And I'm not blaming people who voted for Nader in 2000. How could anyone have anticipated the fallout from Bush's victory back then? I'm simply frustrated with the people who refuse to reconsider flying this country into a building in order to obtain some theoretical paradise. Let's keep the message simple: democrat or republican.
You can almost hear the republicans cheering as this silly debate once more begins to overshadow a potential victory.