October 13, 2000 (Ira Pilgrim)

The Elections

As a veteran Texan voter, I am an artist in the art of lesser-evilism. I have voted for more dreary, worthless characters than I care to recall, on the excellent grounds that they were a shade better than the other guy in the race. And what I have learned is that the lesser of two evils DOES make a difference, especially to those of us on the margins of society.

Molly Ivins, 2000

We will have our national election on November 7th. I guess that everyone who writes for a newspaper will have something to say about it. I am no exception, although I am reasonably certain that what I write will have the profound impact of a feather crashing down on a pond. Yet, I feel that I would be remiss in my duty if I didn't say something.

I have seen presidents come and go and I doubt that the choice of the president alone has made much difference. Our government was designed so that no single person has too great an influence. The founding fathers had had enough of the divine right of kings. However, which party is in power has made a difference, although not as profound a difference as we would like to believe.

In my youth I thought that it made a great difference who was president; so much so that I campaigned vigorously for one candidate. I campaigned for him twice and he lost both times. But did that discourage me? You bet it did!

This election year the two major parties have nominated two men who come from political dynasties. The fathers of both men were professional politicians and the sons followed in their footsteps.

In local and state elections I usually vote for the person. In national elections I vote for the party, unless its nominee is obviously a crook or worse. I have no particular problem with adulterers, since there have been many who have held the public office. Until now, it has made no difference in their performance in the office.

I dread the thought of a Republican congress, unencumbered by a Democratic president. I think that they just might give everything away to the rich. The Democrats are less likely to do so. Even though they are as much under the control of the wealthy as the Republicans are, their actions are somewhat buffered by having the financial support of the unions and the votes of minorities.

I have heard several people say that they were going to vote for the Green party candidate Ralph Nader. I like Nader, but think that he wouldn't have the faintest idea what to do as president. So why is he running? I suspect it is because he wants to influence the course of government. That, and the reason why anyone runs for public office: celebrity and power. Although he would be a great addition to the forthcoming debates, I wouldn't even consider wasting my vote on someone who doesn't have even a remote chance of winning. I consider it a vote thrown away. As for Pat Buchanan; I wouldn't vote for him for dog catcher. In fact, if he was running for dog catcher, I would support a dog as his opponent.

Both candidates talk as if the only problem that the country has is what to do with the surplus money that the nation has. Bush wants to give money back to the richer taxpayers and Gore wants to spend it on social programs. Gore favors paying down the national debt, which to me is a good reason to vote for him. Candidates will promise anything that might gain them votes. Nikita Krushchev said that "Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river."

Molly Ivins intends to cast her vote for Ralph Nader. Why? Because in Texas, no matter who she votes for, Bush will carry the state and its electoral votes, so she might as well vote the way her heart, not her head, tells her. In California it is a different matter; a vote for Nader may well be a vote for George W. Bush. We could easily end up with a Republican president and a Republican congress.

If you are so disgusted that you think that things couldn't be worse; think again!

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