Barrett Manor

Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.

My Statement On Politics

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

Or: Why I vote the way I do.

Disclaimer: This is my own opinion, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of any other human under this roof. (The cats firmly believe that the Manor is ruled by a feline-based dictatorship. They care little about this human presidential race so long as the humans under this roof continue to walk through the door with food and treats.)

I consider myself to be independent. This means I do have to hold my nose and vote in one primary or the other if I want my vote to count. I tend to vote wherever I think my vote will count the most. In years past, there were no Democratic races around here to speak of, and by the time we got to hold our primaries, that race was essentially settled. So I'd vote Republican, choose "none of the above" for president, and go vote in the races I cared about. To me, it didn't seem right to go to the primaries just to support a presidential candidate (Republican or Democrat) who had the race sewed up already at the expense of local and state races.

This year it seemed that my vote would count more in the Democratic race. The Republicans I wanted to vote out of office had no credible opposition, and their presidential nominee race was already settled.

I can't predict who will run for what office in the next presidential cycle, so will make no prediction on how I will vote.

When I go vote in November, I will not vote a straight party ticket. Even if all of one party was running unopposed (never happened) or if all of my choices happened to belong to the same party (again, never happened), I would not vote a straight ticket. Punching (or ticking, or touching) each name is a statement that I cared enough to make a decision.

I will take care that I get all the way through the ballot. One of the flaws of punch cards was that it was easy to skip a page or to stop before reaching the end. The touch screen, for its flaws, makes skipping a page far more difficult. I'm not endorsing one method over another; just stating a difference.

I will pay attention to local elections. What good does it do if Washington cuts my income taxes, but the city and school district raise my property taxes? How does it help if the price of gas goes down, but my elected state officials stand idly by as the electric company continues to raise rates? Who am I sending to the state house or the nation's capitol to represent my interests? Often, this goes beyond party politics.

Yet, it all kind of meshes in together. Many voters are frustrated that local taxes get increased to support unfunded Federal mandates. Therefore, I have to be informed enough to understand that the school board member or city council person who voted to raise my taxes felt he or she had no other choice (cut music to comply with the mandates, for example), or was just too lazy to go find some fat (incentives to developers for projects that never get built) to cut out of the budget. I need to know if the people we send to Washington plan to push for funding for these mandates or don't care.

I refuse to use a litmus test. This is all too complex. Our president waves the pro choice banner, yet condones torture and presided over an erosion of our rights. I certainly don't agree with either candidate 100 percent on the issues, but I feel that it is dangerous to vote for or against a candidate based on a single issue. Now, that issue may sway me once I've looked at everything else, but I refuse to wear political blinders.

No matter what choice you make, all I ask is that it be intelligent and informed. Don't believe everything you hear. Check it out for yourself. And if your choice ultimately isn't the same as mine, I'll still respect you for it. I refuse to let a friendship crumble on politics.

And please, vote. No matter who you vote for (even if you abstain in a race or two), you're doing something that so many people in this world can't, and that's important.


Filed under: Politics            
10/19/2008 5:11:58 PM
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