Here in the USA, election day is coming up soon. Among other things, the election will decide who will be President for the coming four years.
While there are some differences between Bush and Kerry (who some have termed "Bush light"), the similarities are far more striking than the differences.
They are both strongly for military "solutions" to problems, favoring pre-emptive wars (sometimes called the Bush Doctrine, but the most vigorous defense of it in a recent debate was by Kerry), unilateral military actions and bloated military budgets.
They both offer promises on taxes and programs that would produce, according to independent analysts, huge deficits - of about equal amounts, according to The Washington Post
. However, both say they would reduce the deficit by half in the next term. Both propose huge tax cuts, and both say they will not back off of them. If needed (which obviously will be the case), both say they will cut back on their domestic spending plans in order to meet their deficit targets. There may be real differences on their proposals on domestic programs, but since both indicate they're going to back off those proposals, the differences may be more phantom than real.
Both are willing to make compromises on civil liberties for Americans in pursuit of their anti-terrorist agendas. Bush proposed, and Kerry supported, the Patriot Act.
They both come from family backgrounds of privilege, and they are each the number one fund raiser of their respective parties from the wealthy special interests. They even belong to the same elite secret society (Skull and Bones) with a morbid fascination with symbols of death.
Both think that one way to have fun is to kill living creatures for "sport." To me, that seems really sick.
Some say that it is throwing your vote away to vote for anyone other than Bush or Kerry, as one of them will be President for the next four years (shudder!). But I say it is worse than throwing your vote away to vote for someone who represents a truly bad choice. I am not for sale to the big money interests. I will not vote for Bush or Kerry.
So what are the options? Some say don't vote. While that is understandable, it looks to the world like apathy. We need to register our opposition to the abysmal choices being presented by the two major parties. If everyone who was truly disappointed in the Hobson's choice between Bush and Kerry would go to the polls and cast a vote for someone other than them, it would really send a message. If they did, I wonder if the combination of all those votes wouldn't be more than either Bush or Kerry would get.
A candidate who seems to be becoming the runaway favorite among progressive pro-lifers is Joe Schriner
. Joe who, you say? Well Joe isn't from the elite class, and he's not pandering to the wealthy special interests. He doesn't have much money, but he's been crisscrossing the country talking about real values and searching out examples of ordinary people doing things that make a difference.
Joe is consistent life ethic oriented. He opposes abortion, euthanasia and capital punishment, and seeks to invest in conflict resolution and creative responses to world problems rather than in the military.
Joe stands for environmentalism (while Kerry got the Democratic Pary to greatly weaken the environmental part of their platform compared to 2000), redressing injustices perpetrated on African Americans and Native Americans, gun control, compassion for immigrants, and much more. He understands that we need to change our way of life, and is not afraid to call for simpler lifestyles as an alternative to our consumerist society. He has written for Plain Magazine
, and his favorite food is beans and rice!
Joe may not have a running mate, and he may not be on state ballots. But he is an active write-in candidate. In my state, he is a registered write-in candidate, which means the Maryland Board of Elections does list him as an official candidate.
If you insist on someone who is on many state ballots, you could do worse than Ralph Nader
. He is quite progressive, but with an independent streak. Running as an independent this year rather than a Party candidate as he did last time, he has shown greater willingness to depart from the orthodoxies of the left. On abortion, he has separated himself from most of the left by calling for a ban on feticide, which would translate to no abortions after about eight weeks (see interview in The American Conservative
) - not a perfect pro-life position, but far better than current law in this country.