Tuesday, September 14, 2004

What does Kerry stand for?

A lot of people are saying that they don't plan to vote, and they justify their decision this way: "I don't like George Bush, but I don't know what John Kerry stands for. I can't identify anything that he believes in. I don't know what his guiding principles are."

This charge come straight out of the Bush camp, to be echoed word for word by not only rank and file Republicans, but also self-proclaimed "undecided" voters. It's often spoken in wise tones, as if the opiner is staying above the fray, and as if it's actually some kind of opinion.

But in my ever-so-humble opinion, this whole line of complaint just smacks of intellectual laziness. I mean, come on, this is the information age. All you have to do in order to find something out is to go and look for it. A quick trip to johnkerry.com explains the platform, but I've gotten messages dismissing the entire thing by saying, essentially, "It's long." What that means is, "Not only do I not understand the choices involved, but I can't be bothered to read about them." What else do Democrats need to do, strap you to a chair and read the platform through a bullhorn?

Refusing to vote, or voting for a write-in, does not make you politically savvy and it does not make any statement of any sort whatever. Whether you like them or not, either George Bush or John Kerry is going to be sworn in on January 20. If you choose not to decide, that's still a choice. If you think that you're going to regret a Kerry, vote for Bush. Otherwise, the outcome IS your fault, no matter who winds up in office. If you think about voting for Kerry, but don't, and then Bush wins, and it turns out badly, then you should regret that.

By abstaining from participation in the process, you forfeit your right to bitch about the result. So unless you feel that you honestly don't care who runs the country and it makes no difference at all to you what kind of policies will be passed in the next four years, maybe it would behoove you to actually take it upon YOURSELF to go read about where both candidates stand on the issues, and then figure out which one would be better -- or less bad, if you wish. Democracy only works if there is an educated electorate, and when you say "I don't know where he stands" all I hear is "I'm not educated about the candidates and I don't even care."

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