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When the election was between Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, I voted for Roger MacBride, the Libertarian. I had just been introduced to Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged (accidentally, when a friend of mine who had to spend the summer in traction after ramming my motorcycle into a telephone pole was given a copy to while away her time, and handed it to me with the plea, “Read this and tell me what it’s about so I can pretend I have read it!”) and declared that I could not in good conscience vote for either of the “chosen ones.”p>To this day, Mama still blames me for the election of Jimmy Carter. br> — Kate Shaw br> Voting Republican from Toronto /p>
Having lived for four years in the Boston area, even “throwing away” my vote in 2000 by voting for soon-to-be President Bush in a state where Gore was guaranteed the electoral vote, I can sure understand Mr. Antle’s feeling that it makes no difference which non-Democrat he votes for. Yet despite that feeling, somehow, Massachusetts has had a long run of Republican Governors, lasting from Weld, long before I moved in, to Romney, long before I moved out. And they have accomplished conservative things despite a Democrat dominated state legislature. Mr. Antle, your precious votes have counted and they have made a difference.
Each of us can get the feeling that our votes don’t matter. How do the Democrats in Massachusetts feel, when it does not matter a whit if they vote in a general election, since their guy will win anyways? But everyone’s participation does matter. The vote is the one poll that really does show what the people care about. Even in losing, we can have an influence by getting the other side to modify their stance, even just a little.
And every now and then, the balance of votes swings, and the vote gets close, very close, and out of millions of voters, just a few voters could have made the difference. Less than 600 people who stayed home in Florida 2000, or 600 people who voted for a third party could have changed that outcome. I was a teenager in Ohio when it had a very narrow victory of Carter over Ford, and we are still suffering from Carter’s decisions today. And in 2004, Ohio once again came into play. Didn’t Illinois narrowly put Kennedy in over Nixon in 1960? You never know in advance when the outcome will really depend on you. Will you be partying in third place, squandering your chance to make a difference when that time comes?
I was. I have always leaned a little towards libertarianism, and Fairbanks Alaska was well served in the state legislature by a popular libertarian. At the time, Alaska was run by Republicans, the governor had gone a little liberal, and that libertarian chose to run for Governor. I helped put a Democrat into the Governor’s office, and he stayed there for two terms. The libertarian garnered over 10% of the vote, ironically winning more government support for the next libertarian candidate, but there were no more libertarians in office.
And I watched in horror as the same nightmare repeated nationally. Everybody was so upset with the first President Bush, we had read and trusted his lips, and felt betrayed. So like some sort of sick twisted Medieval Monks, trying to protect ourselves from the Plague, the American people flagellated ourselves by voting for Perot, and inflicted Clinton upon ourselves.
I can’t stand how many times McCain has betrayed Republicans, nor how many times he has stabbed conservatives in the back. Nor can I stomach how liberal he will be. I tried to get a conservative nominated instead. But I can’t inflict Obama upon this great nation, a man further left than Carter, who was further left than the Clintons. If you can’t stand how the Clintons governed, Carter was much worse, and Obama will be worse than Carter, hands down.
So I must vote for McCain for the sake of the country. But I won’t give the bum any money. That is reserved for supporting conservative Republicans and those who encourage and help conservatives to run. And maybe after McCain and Bush have turned the words Maverick and Moderate into bad names, those conservatives can step up and clean up the mess, like we always do.