It's the night before election day...Michele and I will be voting at about 4 PM. We can't wait.
We will be casting our vote for John F. Kerry. As registered Independents, we've been following the issues and politicking for about 6 months now. Our came about quite easily and we'll share with you why.
In an election with an incumbent president running, there arises one simple question: Am I better off now than I was 4 years ago?
Four years ago, I was making more money than I ever have. The country was safe. I was living in a nice townhome and enjoying life. Much of this was due to the tech boom.
My ex and I voted for Ralph Nader in 2000. We decided on this vote for a couple of reasons. First, a close friend of mine was working with the Colorado Green Party campaign and he was able to give us very good points on what the party represented. I already loved Ralph Nader, a man who fought his whole life for the consumer. The man got cigarettes banned on airplanes, so how could you ever hate the guy? And those are the second reasons. We voted our hearts, because Nader represented something we didn't see in either of the two candidates: someone you could trust, someone who cared for you.
While Nader enjoyed a nice 3% vote, pretty good for a third-world party, he lost to Al Gore. Al Gore was someone we respected, and considered voting for, but the country was in a good place and time and we didn't find any need to "not waste" our vote. We voted for Nader, not because we thought he'd win, but because we wanted to send a message that issues such as the environment need to be addressed. That people need to be addressed. But, we were happy Gore won.
Later that election night, we were watching the news when Fox News Channel called out that Florida was indeed *not* ready to be called for Gore after all. "That's odd, they were just seen on TV celebrating...all the channels called it." Now, I didn't know it at the time, but the Fox News Channel is the home of Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, and is universally regarded as a heavily biased news source. In fact, recent polls show that almost 80% of people who rely on FNC for their political news are *still* convinced that there is a link between al Qaeda and Iraq. There is none. No other news channels' viewers believe this falsification.
Over the next month, legal challenges were made in Florida, and Bush was declared winner. The Republicans fought to block completely valid votes from black precincts and won. It was a robbery...on the news channel (Fox News) where is cousin was in charge of declaring Bush the winner (against all other stations), in the state where W's brother is the governor, and the state where his campaign manager also happened to be in charge of the recount (!!)...Bush was declared the winner.
Well, that sucked, I thought. But, would Bush really be that bad? I was 23 years old and not quite into politics, so oh well. 8 months later, 9/11 hit. That morning, I was over at my other ex's place. (Lotta ex's, I know, try to keep up) I woke up to see that the Twin Towers had collapsed. I tried calling my family, but without any luck...they all live in New York. I went to work, hoping to be able to call in from there. I was so depressed. When I got to work, I also learned that the whole company had folded...I was also out of a job.
OK, none of this is Bush's fault, right? OK. I spent 3 months trying to find a new job. During this time, the US began its campaign against Afghanistan. I supported this war. That fucker had to die, I thought. George W. Bush's decision to invade, while seemingly obvious, was galvanizing the country. A good thing. Good job, Bush.
It was in the spring months of 2002 when the downturn occured. George W. Bush had decided that he wanted to invade Iraq. "But, bin Laden is in Afghanistan, right?" I thought. We hadn't caught him yet. I watched on the news, and Bush says "To be honest, I don't really think about [bin Laden] much, I just don't care." What?? Why not?? Things were fishy.
"Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction." My President was telling me that nukes were in Iraq, and something had to be done. Invasion was imminent. OK, I guess. That bastard has nukes, and he needs to die.
Now, at this point, you might be asking yourself, "Sounds like a great job, so why are you rooting for Kerry?" Simple.
---fast forward 2 years---
The 9/11 commision is finishing up, and more facts about Iraq are also coming out:
FACT: The CIA had sent a report to George W. Bush a full month before 9/11. It said that Osama bin Laden was determined to attack in the United Stated with airplanes.
WHAT HAPPENED: Bush ignored the report. He'd spent a full 50% of his presidency on VACATION. This is sickening. Like a flunking student, he ignored his work. 9/11 was preventable. He didn't prevent it.
FACT: When the first plane hit the tower, Bush was in a limo driving to a classroom for a photo op. When the second plane hit the tower, Bush was *in* the classroom. 7 minutes later, Bush was *still in the classroom*.
WHAT HAPPENED: When the first plane hit the tower, Bush declined to pass up his visit to the classroom. These were small children after all, and they looked forward to meeting him. Why would a silly thing like a COMMERCIAL AIRPLANE FLYING INTO THE WORLD'S ECONOMIC CENTER stop such a visit?? While in the classroom, he was told by secret service the now famous scene where the man leans over and whispers in Bush's ear) that a second plane had hit the towers. Instead of getting up and running to the limo to get back to Washington and make a decision, Bush sat there in the classroom for another 7 minutes. Is this what we are looking for in our President? Two other planes would later crash.
FACT: The CIA had doubts that Saddam was actually harboring nukes, or even running a WMD program.
WHAT HAPPENED: The Bush administration cherry-picked the intelligence in order to sway a Congress, and the citizens of America, to back the war. And we did. We were lied to. Our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, are all at war in Iraq against an enemy they're not sure who it is.
FACT: The color-coded terrorism alert system was created to keep us informed of terror threats.
WHAT HAPPENED: We have been living with this God forsaken system for 3 years now, and it is a sham. It goes higher and lower, keeping us on edge. The "threats" we hear about are vague, non-specific. We hear about threats "to our schools." No details, though. There could be an attack on one of our power plants...not sure which one though. Nothing ever happens.
Now, let's consider that last fact. We have not had a major attack in our country in 3 years. Hooray for Bush? No. The fact is that we haven't been attacked, but it's just our luck. In the 3 years since 9/11, Bush has busied himself with Iraq and more vacation time. He has neglected to secure our coastlines. He has neglected to secure our planes. He has neglected to secure our power plants. All the while, we now live under a greater fear for retribution with what we did to Iraq. We destroyed this country. They are better now than they were before you say?
Today, Iraq is in ruins. There is very little running water. There is very little electricity. Homes are destroyed. Wedding parties have been bombed. An estimated 100,000 Iraqi citizens are dead.
100,000 dead. This blood is on Bush's hands.
There are no weapons of mass destruction. There are not even programs. The sanctions on Saddam were working. A recent report indicated that the only misjustice was that Saddam was violating the Oil-for-food program. He was overfunding his business partners to try to entice them to lessen the sanctions, which were working. The Bush administration has tried to convince us that this validates the war. It does not. Not even close. We invaded and destroyed a company for WMD. There were none. Oops, our bad? A reason for war cannot be produced 2 years after it started. And, are they saying that oil is a justification to kill 100,000 people?
Recently, George W. Bush had a naquet for he and and his Washington friends. During this banquet, he joked...yes, JOKED...about the search for weapons of mass destruction. Over 1,000 American soldiers...and 100,000 Iraqi citizens...lost their lives for this search. The atrocity is well captued by this political ad:
While the rest of the world was protesting this war...and we saw it all over the TV...Bush instead RUSHED to war, without a plan, and with assumptions that all fell well short of truth. We were not welcomed as liberaters, but invaders. The country is not better off without Saddam, it is far far worse. We did not weed out terror, we supplied them with weapons by not securing the weapons dumps. And there is no end in sight.
Now, on to domestic issues!
Three months ago, my company required us to all re-up on our medical insurance. The new rates were passed around. For the 4th time in 4 years, the rates increased!! Let me tell you, I thanked God (and I'm agnostic) I didn't have a family. As a well-paid software developer, even I couldn't afford health care for my children. Luckily, I had none. How sadistic is that, I was happy I didn't have a family to care for??? Now, think about the single mothers and fathers out there that do...
Where is Bush on the issue of skyrocketing medical costs? He says that medical litigation reform needs to be done to guarantee safety for insurance companies. Do you know what this means? What he is trying to do is protect drug companies from lawsuits if you get sick from their drugs. And guess what. It's already passed. It's called ARISA. If you get your medical coverage from your place of business (almost all of us do), and you get sick from a drug, you can't sure that drug company. Andm if your medical insurance company refuses to compensate you for your medical bills? Tough shit, you can't sue.
Lawsuits account for 1% of the costs you pay for your medical coverage. It happens a lot less than we think. Yet, our medical insurance has increased 300%. Do the math.
On abortion, Bush's stance is that he will ban partial birth abortions. OK, question time: What are partial birth abortions? A partial birth abortion is a procedure done in the second and third tri-mester for a preganant woman. The procedure involves pulling the baby's legs out of the womb with a set of tongs. Once pulled out to the neck, the doctor stabs a pair of scissors into the woman's vagina, and into the back of the baby's head (yes, baby, not fetus). The scissors are then spread, ripping open the baby's skull. We're not done. A vacuum tube is inserted into the vagins and the baby's brains are sucked right out of its skull. Dead, the baby's carcas is pulled out of the womb and disposed of in a garbage can.
This is Bush's stance on abortion. To ban this procedure. Sound good? One problem. John Kerry wants this ban. The American people want this ban. Pro-choice'ers want this this ban. EVERYBODY WANTS THIS BAN. On top of that, partial birth abortions accounts for less than 1% of all abortions performed in the country. It's barely a problem...and everyone wants it banned anyway.
With everyone in agreement, there is absolutely no reason to choose Bush simply on this issue.
Now, stem cell research. Bush wants it stopped. Oh, wait, I'm sorry, he said he'd like to continue the existing reasearch on the current strains. Oh, problem...those strains are currently tainted by feces. They are useless.
John Kerry wants to continue this research, to move the country forward. This research can cure diseases such as Parkinson's like Michael J. Fox has. Perhaps your grandma has this terrible disease? It can help cure Huntington's Disease, which a friend of mine Nathan has. It can cure spinal cord injuries and paralysis, something thousands of people in this world (hundreds of thousands?), including many of our soldiers. It can sure Alzheimer's, a diseas
We must move on with this research. It's so important to us.
Finally, unemployment. When asked about the unemployment problem, and what e would say to those who are unemployed and who can't find a job in this failing job market, Bush said, "I'd tell them that we have programs to help fund their attending of community colleges. That they should get an eduction and be successful. I'd tell them about No Child Left Behind."
FACT: Being unemployed does not mean you are uneducated. My wife has a Masters degree in Education, but could only earn a single inteview in her search for a teaching job.
FACT: No Child Left Beyond is an elementary school program that the President has underfund since he had it passed. He is leaving our children behind. Schools are crumbling to meet the requirements of this program. Schools that don't meet the standards lose funding. A gap is being created as a result.
So...after all this, and a lot more...Bush has proven to me that he is a failure. A COMPLETE FAILURE. John Kerry has outlined a plan for the future. He cares about the people. He knows about the issues. He understands things aren't always black and white.
And he is our choice for the future of this beautiful country.