You Want My Vote?

You want my vote?

Don't send an army of starry-eyed, impetuous American youth off to kill and conquer other people's armies of unsophisticated youth and build a disgraceful empire; don't rustle up dissidents, stir up regional conflicts, or shake down war opposers. You may persuade some people that war is peace, but the opposition have done you one better if their soldiers believe that death is life. War takes a terrible toll on people's credulity, so think on it.

Ride your own hobbyhorse off to battle without looking back to see who follows and who does not; maybe then I'll vote for you.


Don't talk about the rule of law as if laws were your goalposts to move, or your set of marbles. Respect the rule of law or be the playground bully, but don't degrade the rule of law by playing fast and loose with it. Someday, you may need the protection of law and be glad of due process and a fair trial.

Honor something more than your own ambition, and it might be honorable to vote for you.


Quit sermonizing about security as if it is something we can have, if only we'll surrender our liberties and trust authorities to deliver us from harm. What has ever protected us better than the liberties you now wish to strip away, and what better authority to deliver us from evil than a good conscience, and the sense of responsibility that liberty engenders?

Acknowledge that it's not the safety of the governed you're concerned with, but your own job security; candor might appeal to my baser voting instincts.


Don't talk so glibly about good and evil, as though one was an innocent dimestore novel and the other a lurid porn magazine, easily identifiable by their covers. Can you also see good in a porn mag that relieves a need and prevents a rape, and evil in a dimestore novel that stupefies the intellect, or doesn't that fit your neat formula for dividing up the pie chart between good and evil?

Identify the evil in yourself and acknowledge the good in your enemy; inspire me to vote for you.


Don't support a war on drugs to keep us safe from pot smoking, opium dens, coca leaf chewing, and self-medicating, and guarantee a market for potent and dangerous street drugs and the people who deal in them. Stop consigning ill people to avoidable suffering, and driving the law abiding escapist to drink, if not to suicide.

Admit that the war on drugs is really a jihad against people who need to numb themselves against the creepy aquarium-like world you're constructing around them; shock me into voting for you...


Don't claim that the law must make people and their opportunities equal, that justice demands it. Either you believe that people are equal, which makes your claim ridiculous, or you don't believe it, which could make your claim insulting. Either people are equal in the eyes of the law to begin with, or they are not.

Abandon the pretense of justice, or start acting as if you believe in it, if you want my vote.


Don't importune those who have taken no slaves to pay restitution to those who have not been enslaved, to settle an ancestral grudge match, and intentionally perpetrate a new injustice. How many generations back can a person be responsible for his ancestors, and if we judge them by your own laws today, how many of your ancestors would not be in jail? Would you hold yourself accountable for their actions too, and make restitution for their infractions?

Confess that you're not concerned with righting wrongs, but you're willing to wrong rights if that's what it takes to get elected. That confession might indeed merit a vote!


Stop prevaricating about the importance of education, insufficient school funding, and the need for more resources to create opportunities for future citizens. How dry can you bleed people before you'll admit that the problem isn't lack of money or effort, but the fact that you're trying to mold young minds in ways that human nature rebels against? Do you think a system that hog-ties the average student by crippling the gifted student and coddling the poor student is going to survive, in Darwinian terms or otherwise?

Concede that your idea of education is training minds like Bonsai trees in predetermined patterns of growth, to believe they're free when they've been bound in perpetuity. Voteworthy, but put it in writing.


Stop gushing about the virtues of democracy, how much safer the world is because of it, how noble its ideals, and how tolerant its adherents are. Perhaps that would be more convincing if democracy conducted itself virtuously, the world felt safer because of it, its ideals didn't appear to include crushing everything that doesn't bow before it, and it tolerated more while building fewer bombs and developing fewer biological weapons.

Open your eyes to the fact that democracy has enabled the few to bite off the nose of the many to spite its own reputation; give me a reason to vote for you.


Don't blubber about shell games like Social Security and Medicare, and how they need to be saved (not because they were mismanaged, or just bad ideas to begin with); of course, not blubbering will cost you some votes. At least for once it's obviously not for the children, because the whole pyramid will probably collapse on their shoulders, but you won't be running for re-election then anyway.

Vote against your own pay raise and wage war on parasitical political ponzi schemes; for the children's sake, I'll feel obliged to vote for you.


Stop treating adults like overgrown children, and pretending children are truncated adults. Learn to like people because they're unique, flawed, kind, and funny, and sometimes pretty sharp to boot, and maybe you'll find that politics isn't more important than persons. For many of us, it's the other way around, and we shake our heads, go about our business, and roll our eyes, hoping the elections will be over soon.

Quit bickering with and berating your challengers long enough to discover something you like about each of them. It won't get you into office, but it might make you a nicer human being. Heck, it might even get you my vote.


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