05 November 2006

Citizens, Do Your Duty

In 48 hours, the die will be cast. Or, at least, my ballot will.

I do care intensely for whom you vote. Leaving aside "regime change begins at home" as a rallying cry, I can no longer tolerate evangelical bigotry in public office. This does not extend to evangelicals in general — just those who would impose their value systems upon others based upon their own faith with no regard for that of others. At the present moment, in this part of the country, that means I shall cast no ballot in favor of the Heffalump Party's candidates. In Illinois, the downstate Heffalump Party mechanisms have been entirely coopted by the worst sort of evangelical bigots. (I suppose that's part of the price for having Peoria in the region — it really does matter whether "things" would play there.) In some other parts of the country, that might mean not voting for the Party of Asses, either.

I don't see how we can have a separation of church and state in this government if you have to pass a religious test to get in this government. And I want to warn everyone in the press and all the voters out there if you demand expressions of religious faith from politicians, you are just begging to be lied to. They won't all lie to you — but a lot of them will. And it will be the easiest lie they ever had to tell to get your votes. So, every day until the end of this campaign, I'll answer any question anyone has on government. But if you have a question on religion, please go to church.

Arnie Vinick, "In God We Trust," The West Wing 6:20 (23 Mar. 2005). The recent scandals over sexual orientation among the priestly caste of evangelicals are merely one example.

I care even more intensely that you do vote. As I remarked a while back:

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, with 99% of precincts reporting nationwide, President Bush garnered 58,640,761 popular votes [in the 2004 election] — call it 59 million. That's not a majority by any stretch of the imagination. The Census Bureau estimates our population today at not quite 295 million; on that basis, less than 20% of the population voted for Bush. Those 18 and over (legal voting age) numbered just over 209 million at the 2000 Census, meaning 28% voted for Bush. That's not a "majority" by anybody's definition. It may be a plurality — and, in a voting-based system, that counts for something — but it's not a majority.

"No, There Isn't a Mandate" (03 Nov 2004). Tyranny of the majority is bad enough; tyranny of the plurality is worse. I'll be taking my son to school late on Tuesday. Our family tradition is that the kids go with the adults when the adults vote... and I haven't missed a nonprimary election since [embarassingly ancient year deleted to protect the innocent].

My oath of commissioning required me to protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Out of respect for that oath — not to mention the members of the military putting their lives on the line today — I continue to vote, however distasteful I'm finding the choices on the ballot. The next time I hear an Illinois politician — and that includes you, judicial candidates — accusing his/her opponent of some form of corruption or improper influence while implicitly holding him/herself up as a paragon of virtue, I'm going to get out a 120mm paintball gun loaded with black paint pellets and nail both that candidate and the opponent. Maybe if both of the candidates are painted black they'll notice their own coloring; or maybe not.