Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Register, Then Vote

I’ve taken another day off today so I’ve got some modest plans of things to accomplish during the daylight.
  • Laundry
  • Post Office
  • Finish My Taxes
  • Grocery Shopping
  • Re-Register To Vote As A Democrat
The first four on the list are rather tame. Just the dumb things I gotta do. But the last is rather monumental for me.

I’ve always been a political animal. I grew up in a household with a very liberal father and a slightly less-liberal mother. I attended very left-leaning schools. While much of the liberal philosophy influenced me, I had an independent streak, even at an early age. But I still registered as a Democrat and followed most of the party line until the 2000 election. Hell, I even voted for Jesse Jackson in 1988.

But after the Florida debacle that handed the White House to George W. Bush I couldn’t take the new Democratic party. I found the party to be unfocused and lacking vision. Too willing to take up every cause and therefore creating too many splinter issues, rather than focusing on the things that could win elections, influence broader policy and move the country forward. National politics is for big picture stuff. They had lost me.

So I registered as an Independent.

Now, in Oregon, if you’re an Independent you are not allowed to vote in the primaries as they follow party affiliation. Normally this doesn’t matter on the national stage as Oregon’s primary is so late in the election cycle. But this year is different. The Democratic nomination is still up for grabs. Still in play. And I actually care about who wins.

So they’ve got me back. Whether they want me or not. My father will be pleased.

My personal politics are a strange, strange hybrid of libertarian, liberal and conservative. My strong personal beliefs are in the individual and their privacy, which sounds conservative, but actually opens up the liberal aspect of my nature.

But I digress. This election is the most interesting in my lifetime. Perhaps I’m just seeing it through the lens of 8 years of idiots, bullies and war. Maybe not. There are three distinct candidates left, all of who could still earn my vote. Although John McCain is a longshot as he’d need to become the maverick that he used to be. But then I’d be concerned that he was flip-flopping. So he’s probably not going to convince me to vote for him no matter what he does. But I have not ruled it out.

But Clinton and Obama have my interest. Politically they are basically identical in their over-arching policies. Hillary bores me to sleep. Obama inspires me with his words but does he have the guts to follow through on his vision? It’s a very interesting exploration of politics, race, gender, influence and all else.

So, I’ve downloaded my voter registration card, you can find it here for the State of Oregon. Register by April 29, 2008 to vote in the primary. Washington has online registration here (but you missed their primaries if you’re not yet registered). That’s pretty cool.

As they used to say on SCTV, register, then vote.


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