Bill Clinton is a rock star. He is as much a politician as an oratorical gymnast. He’s a dream keeper. John Lennon in a three piece suit. Jeb Bartlett to the nth degree. If I had my choice, I’d choose him for 4 more years. If I had my second choice, I’d pick his wife. She is a legend as well, so far over the head of Bush. If I had my third choice, and I guess I do, then I will vote for John Kerry.
It’s not that I don’t know anything about Kerry, I do. I’ve read some policy papers, I’ve listened to his speeches, I’ve gone to his website and read his bullet points. It’s not that I don’t find him smart or capable or even promising. I think he’s all of those things.
But Bill Clinton makes me believe in myself, nothing that either of these candidates makes me do. I dream big when I hear him speak, I miss his delicate touch. My vote for John Kerry will be an equal vote for him, and an equal vote against Bush. I’ve been told that this is a cavalier way to cast a vote, that it demeans the democratic process.
But bluntly, that is a load of crap. It is just as legitimate to vote against something as for, it is just as much a use of my single voice-which is such a nice, common, American misconception. We don't have one voice, we have an electorate; each vote does not count, rather they are tabulated and grouped and put into some form with a certain number whose whole number, despite the fact that there were individual voices within for one candidate, voices for another, and voices for a third or forth; all of these go to one candidate. One man, one vote is not true, but this year I will pretend it is, and bounce mine off the cave walls of the electorate college, I will vote partially for Kerry, and a whole lot against Bush.
A vote against is just as much mine as one of affirmation is. It’s participating in the process, something I’ve registered to do this year. I’m trying to figure out my feelings for Kerry, I’d love to hear him make his case for himself as eloquently as Bill and Hillary did tonight. But no matter what, I’m voting for him, I’m voting against George Bush. There’s a sense of accountability that comes from Kerry that is not simply lacking in Bush, it is absent. So I’ll vote for John-John.
I think Hillary is a beacon for women, a jumping off point for New Yorkers, a lightening rod for our thoughts on ourselves. I think Bill is dynamic, he’s speaks to our greater selves, he plays his pipe for us to follow. I think Kerry is a strong man, a brave man, a principled man. He’s not the lesser of two evils, he just doesn’t speak to me the way Bill and Hillary do. He will, though. I’m going to find it, because even though a vote against is just as viable as a vote for, I’m going to read everything I can about Mr. Kerry. I’m going to search his words and watch his posture. I’m going between the lines to find that thing that will speak to my heart as well as my mind. Because even though I can easily vote against, I’d much rather vote for, and I know that there is something in this man to believe in. He’s served too much for there not to be.
Just like most of you, I leave this post a little confused, but content to keep searching.
SIDE NOTE: By the way, did Bill Clinton really say that, "Now [the administration is] working to develop two new nuclear weapons which they say we might use first" in his speech last night? I don't mean to be an alarmist, but could some intrepid reporter, say, at the New York Times or something, do a little digging on this? I find it mildly important. Among the many points Clinton brought up: Bush's shredding of his crime policies, his riding the world of good will towards Americans, his war on Iraq, his withdrawal of American support from key global alliances and treaties (and I do wish some Democrat would have the balls to step up on gay marriage and paint Bush with the bigot brush, but alas); of all of these points, I would like some big newspaper with a big belly and cigar in its mouth and a big, booming, baritone voice to look into the nukes issue. Please?