I voted for Ross Perot.  [At least, that’s if this essay I just unearthed while cleaning old files can be believed. ] I — a person whose own flesh and blood accuses of being “left of Fidel Castro” — cast my one and only vote for president in 1996 for Ross Perot. I had good reasons, of course, and I did it with a clear conscience.

My first reason is self-evident: Ross Perot could not win!

If there was any chance at all of this government contract capitalist actually capturing enough electoral votes to win this election, I would have passionately campaigned against him. A lot of what’s wrong with this country has made the likes of Ross Perot — and Mark Warner — rich at the expense of most of the rest of us. So we’re going to go to the polls and vote for them? (Yeah, well, so a lot of us did, but some people take longer to catch on, right?)

And I voted for Ross Perot because there wasn’t much choice between Those Two Guy from the two political parties. They seemed to pretty much agree on what our government should work on and had just minor disagreements on how to get the job done.

Neither said anything about the U.S. of A. as Weapons-R-Us, biggest exporter of weapons in the world. Even my friends who listen to Rush Limbaugh are concerned about that. It’s no secret how many times guns, missiles and planes Made in USA have been aimed at our own soldiers and sailors. So how come this goes on? How come we just keep shipping the stuff overseas to anyone who’ll promise the World Bank to clear-cut their own forest and grow carnations in their deserts to pay back the loans for all of it? That question never made it into party platforms.

And talk about shipping stuff overseas? How come we’re shipping our tax dollars overseas to help McDonald’s sell burgers in Italy and Indonesia? Did either of Those Guys say anything about that? “I pledge, as soon as I take office, to ferret out corporate welfare and do everything in my power to put a stop to it once and for all! HA! That will be the day.

And what about campaign finance reform? Does anyone still believe either of Those Two Buys are serious about that?

Also, I voted for Ross Perot because Ralph Nader wasn’t on the ballot in Virginia and the Constitution of the United States (according to the powers-that-be in the Old Dominion) outlaws write-ins for president in Virginia. Ralph Nader is OK in my book, almost a saint, but I couldn’t vote for him from here on 19th Street in Virginia Beach and by the time I found that out it was too late to move to another state in time to register to vote.

So I had decided I couldn’t vote for president this year at all. But two days before the election I called my friends Pat and Teresa to see if Pat has passed the bar. He had, and we bubbled happily about that for awhile and then Teresa told me how she had arranged for Michael Moore (the “Roger and Me” movie man) to speak at her university and he said that voting for a third party candidate was an act of civil diobedience.

Civil Disobedience! Now that had a ring of truth to it! So I did it. I voted for Ross Perot. I cast my ballot for “neither of the above.”

Furthermore, I voted for a fine man for senator — George Stabler, a retired ODU professor, a kind, compassionate and honorable man who has worked consistently and with unfailing faith for a better society. And I cast my vote for the House of Representatives for Aaron Parsons, another fine human being, warm and compassionate, unfailing faith and good works galore, etc. (There were write-in spaces on the ballot for these offices. I guess the Constitution doesn’t apply to lower positions.)

I actually liked voting this year. I had the satisfaction of knowing my vote would be counted and would show in all the pie wedges on all the front pages as one of those who wasn’t happy with the status quo and wasn’t fooled by that old scam that Democrats are different than Republicans. Remember it was Nixon who opened up trade and relations with Red China and Lyndon Johnson who bombed Hanoi.

I felt so good as I left the Virginia Beach Center for the Arts (the swankiest spot I’ve ever seen to set up voting booths — it sure beats the elementary school gym.) This time I didn’t have to go home and take a shower right away to feel clean again. You just never feel right, picking the lesser of two evils.

Hey, you 51% of the eligible voters who stayed home! Did you skip the polls this year because what’s-the-use-they’re-all-alike-anyway?

What if all of you had turned out in droves and voted for “neither of the above?”

Disclaimers:

  • If this were someone else’s and I read it I’d have all sorts of objections to it.
  • I don’t even like the punctuation.
  • To the last point: if that 51% had voted for Ralph Nader, he would have won. Duh.
  • FYI: G. Stabler and A. Parsons were both Quakers from Virginia Beach Friends Meeting.

 

 

 

 

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