Running to the right…

Tomorrow is Election Day in America. The franchise is the most sacred right in the civic religion of our republic and it would be entirely presumptive for me to tell you how to vote. If you’ve paid any attention at all to the world around you, you already know how to cast your ballot – and if you haven’t been paying any attention it would probably be better for all of us if you just stayed home anyway.

I don’t know if it’s true of everyone, but I haven’t been a straight party line voter since my very first election. To my eyes the world is too subtly shaded for one size to fit all – especially true when my moderate to liberal views on many social issues careen wildly into my conservative opinions on fiscal discipline and national defense. I do my best to find the candidate who most closely reflects these views – although with the incredible shrinking pool of moderate voices in the contemporary political discussion they’re becoming more difficult to find.

I should admit that I don’t have a great track record of picking electoral winners, but often as not I’ve wished I could take some of those votes for the “winning” team back after the fact. When the dust clears from Election 2014 if all I can say is “I learned all I could and voted my conscience,” I’ll consider the thing well done.

When it comes to deciding who has earned my vote, I only really have one litmus test: Am I better off – are the state and nation better off – now than during the last election cycle. If I’m not – if we’re not – I’m obligated to vote against the incumbent or the party that has led us down that path. By most measures that are important to me – personal liberty, security, financial stability – I find we’re less well off as a whole.

Tonight I’ve locked in my final selections – and filled in my sample ballot just to be sure I don’t forget which way I’m voting on the more esoteric state constitutional and county charter issues. From my perch and from my perspective of what’s good (or perhaps least objectionable) for the country and my home state, this Independent is running to the right across the board tomorrow – not because I agree with everything the Republican candidates say or what’s in the state and national party platform, but because I fundamentally disagree with so much of what I’ve heard from the Democratic candidates this year. In essence, my vote is cast in defiance of Maryland’s traditional far left tendencies. I can only hope millions more follow suit.

What I would have told BBC Radio 5…

I had the chance a few minutes ago to speak to a producer from BBC Radio 5. He wanted me to come on air tonight and talk briefly about the budget, the impending shutdown, and what if feels like to be a federal employee under the circumstances. Now I dearly love the BBC and have since I was lucky enough to visit England in 1996, but the part of me that handles self preservation seemed to instinctively know that I my right to free speech is more protected here on my blog than it would be if I were speaking about anything remotely work-related to a foreign-owned radio network. That’s a pity, because I really, really was tempted to just do it BBC Radio 5and damn the consequences. Being the online attention whore than I am, I think everyone can understand why I would want to spend a few minutes talking to the friggin’ BBC, right? I mean just think of the untapped potential audience just there for the taking. Sadly, I opted not to go on air and talk about being furloughed for fear that I would say something that would end up getting me completely terminated. How’s that for irony?

At any rate, if I had gone on air, here’s what I’d have told the fine people listening to BBC Radio 5 Live this evening:

It’s been said that the voice of the people is the voice of God. Unfortunately the great voice of the American people, that wide swath of moderation that flows through this country like a river, is being drowned out by the extremists on the left and right wings. Both sides are equally bent on winning the argument on their own terms and both sides are equally wrong, equally damaging, and equally deserving of the scorn, ridicule, and eternal damnation of their countrymen.

Our republic has all outward signs of slipping hopelessly into dysfunction. It is no longer responsive or accountable to the people. It no longer has the consent of the governed. Tonight, I’m not a Republican. I’m not a Democrat.

I’m an American. I love my country. And I am deeply ashamed and embarrassed by the government that claims to represent me. 

I wish I would have had the courage to do the damned interview, because I have yet to hear a single public voice calling for moderation and compromise. I don’t imagine that mine is much a public voice, but for God’s sake someone, somewhere has to stand up and scream that this madness has gone far enough and must go no further.