voting for kerry

i’m an anarchist, and i’m voting, and more than that, i’m voting for kerry.* here’s why:

war on iraq:
Will Kerry solve the iraq situation? Will he make it better? Folks might suggest that Kerry will not, or can not. Other folks might reasonably point out that the Democrats are not really better on iraq: What about Clinton who let ~500,000 children die in iraq of malnutrition (and the occasional bombing)? It’s very simple: I have no idea whether Kerry will solve our problems in iraq or whether they’re solvable or how. (I do know that the Bush Administration won’t solve the problems.) So I’m not voting for Kerry because, prospectively, he’ll “fix” iraq. I’m voting for Kerry because i believe he won’t keep us on this path, pushing us into other wars based on an unrealistic view of the world. I do not believe that Kerry would have gotten us into iraq. A Bush administration is very likely to continue to lead us into ill-advised military adventures.

the environment
Really there is nothing that one can say here. Kerry is merely a Democrat and is thus beholden to certain interests. But he is unquestionably better than Bush on environmental issues. Kerry has one of the better records in the senate on the environment, and Bush is like the tasmanian devil — well, just as destructive; not so cute.

civil liberties
There is no question that the Bush administration will continue to appoint extremely conservative judges to the bench, judges who do not respect civil liberties. The Bush administration will also retain Ashcroft as a primary violator of civil liberties.

civil liberties in specific: reproductive rights
Kerry will get rid of the Mexico City policy. Kerry will get rid of the gag rules. Kerry will respect the right of a woman to choose an abortion or a pregnancy — not the right of his administration or a judge to choose for her.

civil liberties in specific: sexual autonomy
Kerry will respect my right to make my own choices about my family life — and Bush won’t. Kerry will endeavor not to discriminate against my family choices legally and financially.

self-respect & shame
Most significantly, I am ashamed of the u.s. government for its unilateral invasion of iraq & its treatment of civilians and prisoners (in abu ghraib and elsewhere). To any extent that I have power over this government–and it’s a very limited extent–I am morally obligated to use that power to try to change the government. Even if voting is largely a symbolic act (or as SS wrote on a list a while back, a religious act), it is nevertheless incumbent on us all to to repudiate those atrocities—that includes the formal act of voting, symbolic or no.

To stand by after those atrocities and evil actions, and to not make the formal statement–as well as all the activist, formal statements I can–against those behaviors would be reprehensible. If voting is power, then I must exercise it, even if it is only a tiny bit of power. If voting is merely symbolism, then it is nevertheless important to be on the record, symbolically, as opposing this administration.

10/23 update: Shrillblog just pointed me to this entry at abu aardvark. A picture’s worth a thousand words. But the words are worth a lot too:

The world is watching. The world wants to know which America is the real America: the one which offers a vision of a better world, a more liberal and free world, a safer and more just world… or the one in this picture, a world brought to you by George Bush and his administration and for which no-one of any consequence has been held accountable.

* Okay, not necessarily. The fact is that I live in california & will vote in california. And even if I were able to move in time for the election i’m moving to Massachussetts. In neither of these states will a vote for Kerry make any difference. And so unless I think there’s any chance that Kerry might lose the electoral votes in California or Mass., then i’m voting green.

update: actually i ended up voting for kerry on the theory that the overall vote total — while irrelevant to who “wins” the election — demonstrates the strength of the voices against Bush and Abu Ghraib.