I have removed most of the political posts from the weblog. While I have some rather strong feelings on the subject, in the end I would rather do something constructive, and surfing along the edge of current politics isn't. The quote that brought this into focus:
"Without the objective of finding common ground, political discourse is just a means of pissing people off." (apparently from Scott Malensek though I'm not sure about the pseudonyms).
Most political dialog tends to be inflammatory - to polarize and invoke anger rather than reason. In the end this is distasteful and not productive.
As a white, middle-aged, upper-middle class male I'm right in the middle of the demographic that votes most often. The generalization fits - I registered to vote as soon as I was of age, and have voted regularly (might have missed a total of 3 elections). In fact I take that over-developed sense of civic responsibility a bit further. For the past several years I have volunteered as a local poll worker, and for the last few years have hosted and run the local polling place at my home. In part this is out of a sense of duty, and part to insure at least this portion of the political process was honest.
My political affiliation is listed as "undeclared" which means I am not a registered member of any political party. Frankly I could not stomach the behavior of either the Democratic or Republican parties well enough to want to join either. My views tend to be somewhat conservative - not "Conservative" as is buying the Republican platform wholesale (yuck), but rather in the sense of "marked by moderation or caution (as in a conservative estimate)" rather than a blind adherance to tradition.
I believe that the United States of America is a remarkable and unique creation by men of unusual foresight. However imperfect our country may seem (and there are many imperfections), on balance there is as of yet nothing better. At the same time there are clearly people of influence who care only for their personal gain, and care nothing for the country or it's future. In this opposing this corruption lies the future of the country.
At the end of the day, my hope is to help - by however small a measure - make this country a better place for my children. Pretty much everything else in politics is secondary. There are two events in politics that before I had little hope of seeing in my lifetime. The first was the fall of the Soviet Union and the almost complete disappearance of Communism and the threat of nuclear annihilation. The second was the was a federal budget surplus and a beginning to paying down the massive government debt.
From the second you can pretty much guess my point of view for the upcoming election. During the Bush presidency we have gone from a budget surplus to a record deficit. In theory the Republican party stands for fiscal responsibility and smaller government. During Bush's presidency we got neither. Instead we got massive growth in both debt and the size of the government. Clearly Bush as President is a disaster. While I don't particularly care for Kerry, odds are he won't be as bad as Bush.
On a more hopeful note - there are "moderate" voices within the Republican party that might be better heard if Bush loses, and the Republican party might well be improved . If Bush wins we can pretty much expect things to stay as they are (not a good thing).