James Leroy Wilson's blog

Friday, June 15, 2007

Electing the World Dictator

I don't make any apologies when voting for third party candidates. First, they better reflect what my values and hopes for the country. It makes no sense to choose among two candidates you don't want when a far more agreeable third candidate is asking for your vote. Second, the chances of your one vote determining the outcome of an election is zero. Even if a statewide election is determined by just one vote, and the odds against that are astronomical, many of the votes were miscounted. And if you vote third party and the "greater of two evils" wins by just two votes, you are off the hook for voting third party. Your vote won't make a difference either way.

For such reasons I don't regret voting Libertarian in 2004. My state was "safe" for one of the candidates anyway. Moreover, while no incumbent ever deserved to lose more than George Bush, John Kerry was dumb enough or evil enough to have voted for the Iraq Resolution, and was advocating a troop surge. It was clear that no challenger ever made a weaker case to get elected. If this was what the Democrats could come up with, the Democrats deserved four more years of George Bush.

That said, in the words of Spider-man "with great power comes great responsibility," I forgot that, in a Presidential election, Americans are also choosing on behalf of the rest of the world, that is, actual and potential victims of U.S. foreign, drug, and trade policies. It is one thing to say stuff like "maybe the Democrats were better off losing in 2004; they'll probably come back and win in 2008 and 2016." That's fine for Americans, but other people have to live with the outcome of our elections, too. The degree and kind of suffering the American President will inflict on the rest of the world should weigh heavily on our minds. All Americans who voted for either Bush or Kerry deserved to get Bush. But did the Iranians?

True, I voted for the Libertarian candidate who would have abdicated the World Dictator office - that's part of the reason I voted for him. But that vote was to "send a message," not motivated by a reasonable expectation that he would get elected. If we faced reality and asked ourselves, among the viable options, who would be a better world dictator, Bush or Kerry, it was clear that the latter would have been more restrained, pragmatic, and conciliatory in his diplomacy. That alone counts for a lot.

As it is, however, the world is stuck with Bush. As Sidney Blumenthal reports,
In Rome and Paris I met with Cabinet ministers who uniformly said the chief issue in transatlantic relations is somehow making it through the last 18 months of the Bush administration without further major disaster. None of the nonpartisan think tanks in Washington can organize seminars on this overriding reality, but within the European councils of state the trepidation about the last days of Bush is the No. 1 issue in foreign affairs. . . .
Their faint hope -- and it is only a hope -- is that they have already seen the worst and that it is not yet to come.
I know how they feel.

1 comment:

  1. Since you know very well that your vote accomplishes absolutely nothing, why do you still do it? Does sanctioning the State's coercion make you feel a little superior if you can go around saying you didn't vote for Bush?

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