The Stewart Family
By Suzanne Mazer Stewart
(Warning: The following article contains content of a political nature. The writer is about to step up onto her hallowed soapbox and shout out her opinion. Iffen you don't want to hear it, step away from this column now. If you've got an open mind, or if you're of a mind to send a nasty "have you lost your mind?" message to a newspaper columnist, read on ...)
Unless you've just crawled out from under some rock, or have taken yourself a Rip-Van-Winkle, you know it's presidential election time. The campaign signs littering the highways and front yards, the bumper stickers and television commercials would all help give you a hint even IF you had slept for 50 years or so.
Now my readers will know I try to stay away from political commentary as much as possible. However, not only is it my right to cast my vote for whomever I please, it is also my responsibility as a citizen of our country, as well as my right to spout off about WHY I've decided on WHOM I'm going to vote for. And let's not forget, all the hoopla and hullabaloo over who is going to be our next president has gone and done it.
Yep, I'm sick and tired of it all - the mudslinging, the "official" commercials that are such poorly disguised mudslinging, the ducking of REAL issues - has finally wore me down and wore me out. My loyal readers all know whenever I get into that state, somebody's got to hear about it.
Let's start with John Kerry. Now I know West Virginia is historically highly Democratic in nature. However, I just can't vote for a man who can't seem to make up HIS mind on many of the issues, let alone convince me to do so. Next, there's President Bush. I voted for him in 2000. I was under the impression he was a conservative politician. But, if you look at his record and his policies, you have to wonder. Besides, I can't support anyone who supports the taking of jobs away from Americans and handing them over to citizens of other countries.
Mr. President, NAFTA, GATT and that whole host of others only spell a weaker West Virginia economy, regardless of what your campaign ads say. As to Mr. Nader, well, what can I say, he's so liberal, even the liberals don't want him around. So, I decided I needed to take a closer look at who ELSE was running. What I found may surprise some of you.
Did you know, for example, there are 12 national parties running candidates for president? Most of them won't even make a blip on the electoral radar screen. Three of them have actually managed to garner more state ballots than Mr. Nader. Now that's something worth looking into.
The Libertarians are on 3 more state ballots, including WV, than Ralph Nader. However, they seem a little odd to me. They want to do away with taxes, but keep illegal immigrants?
The Green Party is on more ballots than any other "other" party. However, their last presidential candidate was Ralph Nader. 'Nuff said.
This brought me to the Constitution Party. I'd never heard of them. By this time, though, I was getting so desperate to find someone to vote for, I just had to look into them and their beliefs. Turns out they are just the ones for me, at least this year. They are Pro-Life, Pro-Homeschooling, Pro-America-for-America. They are anti-gun laws (makes Mr. Frogpond happy,) anti-America as the world's policeman, and anti-big-government-minding-everybody's-business-but-its-own.
Their candidate for president, Michael Peroutka, is a lawyer from Maryland. He's a church-going family man. His party believes in returning this country to the government established by the Constitution. (If you haven't read the Constitution lately, you should. So should President Bush, Mr. Kerry, Mr. Nader, and a lot of others in Washington, DC, in my opinion.) And, Mr. Peroutka is a write-in candidate on our West Virginia General Election ballot. So, I've been practicing spelling his name, just in case spelling matters to the election board. I'd really hate to see my vote get thrown out on a technicality.
Truthfully, I really don't believe ANY third party candidate can win this year's election. Given the amount of people, though, that are involved in getting these candidates on the ballots and the number of states' ballots on which their names appear, I'd say third parties may one day find themselves less on the outer edges of American politics.
If enough folks out there are as fed up with the "big boys" as I am, it's only a matter of time. If you, dear reader, are as fed up as I am, give the other guys a look. What can it hurt? If enough of us are fed up and choose the "other" guys even if they can't win, perhaps the "big Boys" will sit up and take notice. It worked for Abraham Lincoln, after all.
Some will say I'm throwing my vote away. I guess that depends on how you look at it. If you mean because my choice for president doesn't have much of a chance of getting elected, I really can't argue with you. If you mean, however, because by making a choice outside the mainstream, my decision is a bad one, I'd have to disagree.
The only bad decision to make in an election is not to make any decision at all. Wouldn't you agree?