Sunday, November 18, 2007

Voting Values

Conservatives have usurped the idea of "values voting". The term itself has come to represent a conservative agenda. Republicans were willing to go down in flames in'60s and '70s terms of an election or two, in order to establish a new core, a new base of conservative principles. Nixon expanded the base with his southern strategy. They are still winning using the same principles today.

About the same time, liberals and progressive stopped voting their values. We've become "pragmatists". Rather than looking for someone that represents our progressive, more equal-rights oriented values, we look for someone that is "winnable" and as a result, we're losing. I have grown to hate the question, "Is it (or he/she) winnable." Unless our goals are based on our views, hopes and values for the US and the world, we're going to continue to lose.

The gap between the rich and the poor is widening. We're working more hours, with less worker protections under worsening conditions. Our planet is less protected and more polluted. The Americans with Disabilities Act, Voting Rights Act and other seminal legislation protecting minorities are taking hay-makers to the gut. Our courts are setting back the affirmative action clock of progress for GLBTQ and women, people of color and other oppressed minorities. We've rolled back constitutional protections, definitions of torture, and they way we define the separation of church and state. We're leading the world in bullying and throwing away our self image of turning the other cheek. Diplomacyhas become just another word between dictator and disaster. We've given all that up in the attempt to win an election. And still we lose.

We've lost our way. We must get back to our values. Real leadership on progressive issues means we standing strong against discrimination, injustice, inequity, fascism, war and a host of other uncompromisable values.

We've got a real opportunity ahead of us. Just after the new year, states will be holding their caucuses and primaries. Vote your values, not some watered down version the Democrats dish out.

  • If we want peace, we must vote for the candidate that consistently votes against war and funding war.
  • If we think water-boarding violates the Geneva Convention, vote for the candidate that consistently speaks out against it, not the one who says, his/her ethics are situational.
  • If we want profit removed from health-care and every American covered, then we need to vote for a candidate whose plan that eliminates insurance companies. Accepting less may be pragmatic, but it compromises our values.
  • If your core beliefs are that all people are equal, vote for a candidate that believes people in the gay community have an equal marriage rights and that think money should follow a person out of an institution, when they choose to live in the community.
  • If you think the separation of church and states protects the church and the state, vote for the candidate that will strengthen the constitution.
Voting our values should not be a revolutionary idea; yet, we are told doing so is throwing our vote away. I hold that if we do not vote our values, we are throwing it away.

We may lose an election or two. But hell, we've already done that, voting for what is "winable".

However, if we do vote our values, a new wave of politicians will find us, and ask us to be their core. It may even give rise to a new party that believes a government should represent its people.

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