04 November 2008

It's election day...finally! I voted at the local High School at around 10:30 AM. The place was packed. There were no parking spaces left in the huge parking lot, I had to park on the grass. This is a small town and yet there had to be 200 people in the gym with me, along with dozens of local folks serving as election officials. I voted, then drove 5 miles to someone's house to do a massage.

Voting is a funny thing. I have voted in every national election since I was 18, 30 years ago. I have seen my vote count as one of the ten write-ins that elected Bernie sanders to his first term as mayor of Burlington, VT, so I know that voting can matter.

I have also seen the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections stolen, with nary a word in the corporate press about it.

Voting is funny because it is active participation in a system which I know can be corrupt, and more deeply it is participation in a binary system which is deeply flawed. Generally, in the US, whoever has the most money for PR tends to do best in the election. This is not always the case, but at the national level it definitely takes a fortune to campaign for office. Between corporate lobbyists and monied special interests, it's usually pretty difficult for the "little person" to make a difference, and yet Obama has raised over $600 million mostly in the form of small donations from individuals. This shows how hungry people are for the change Obama represents.

I am not naive enough to believe that Obama will or even can make all of the changes that I think are needed. He has corporate ties. He has said he will escalate the war in Afghanistan. He voted in favor of legislation that excused the Bush administration and some huge telecom companies from accountability for illegally wiretapping phones and reading email of Americans. He is in favor of building new nuclear power plants. These are positions which I disagree with 100%.

Obama is clearly an intelligent educated man. He appears to be educable and interested in learning; a far cry from the current occupant of the white house. He also speaks (intelligently!) as an advocate for the so-called middle class with regards to economics, health care, education, and food security.

Like McCain Obama has not mentioned the poor, the homeless, the utterly disenfranchised in the US. I tell myself he has done this for political reasons, but that he does care about all the people. I hope that's true.

Montana has traditionally been a heavily Republican state. Now, however, there are two democratic Senators and a Democratic Governor. The polls have determined that Montana could go either way in the presidential race. we shall see tonight!

If you haven't listened to my election episode on "Stories from the Road" you can go to the show's archive page and listen to the show and the accompanying musical selection. I think you may find it enjoyable and affirming.

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