In about a week, millions of Americans will cast their votes for president. I hear this election is vitally important, and should not be ignored, neglected, or ridiculed.
The choice couldn’t be clearer. On the one hand we have a man who believes strongly in aggressive preemptive war, the police state policies of the Patriot Act, healthcare socialism, continuing the Social Security scam, the welfare state, "reasonable" gun laws, trade protectionism, the War on Drugs, deficit spending, high taxes, and an omnipotent imperial executive branch.
On the other hand, we see a candidate who fervently believes in wars against countries that haven’t attacked us, the draconian measures of the Patriot Act, healthcare collectivism, resuming the Social Security fraud, national welfare programs, "reasonable" gun control legislation, protectionist tariffs, the Drug War, spending through borrowing, high levels of taxation, and an all-powerful presidency resembling the station of an emperor.
I might have this mixed up a bit, but you get the picture.
Most Americans, I think it’s fair to say, perceive Bush as the greater war candidate, and Kerry as the bigger domestic spender.
The candidates have worked tirelessly to dissuade us of this misconception.
In a statement that sums up Kerry’s difference with Bush on foreign policy, Kerry recently said, "We haven’t done a third of the things that we need to do to win the war on terror."
Now, if my public schooling in arithmetic and logic serve me well, this means we should have invaded six countries instead of only two. The Homeland Security Department should be three times as big. There should be thrice the number of TSA agents currently patrolling the airports, perhaps with budgets three times as large, so as to endow themselves with three times the number of plaques and promotions.
Those who want a wider war had better vote for John Kerry.
Those who want a domestic Nanny State, however, might want to stay the course with the current president, as tempting as the "Senator from Massachusetts" is. Bush has always made it clear that he has supported big government at home:
"And, you know, in 2006 seniors are going to get prescription drug coverage for the first time in Medicare. Because I went to Washington to fix problems." (2nd Presidential Debate)
"When a drug comes in from Canada, I want to make sure it cures you and doesn’t kill you. And that’s why the FDA and that’s why the surgeon general are looking very carefully to make sure it can be done in a safe way. I’ve got an obligation to make sure our government does everything we can to protect you." (2nd Presidential Debate)
"We’ve expanded Pell Grants by a million students. Do you realize today in America, we spend $73 billion to help 10 million low- and middle-income families better afford college? That’s the access I believe is necessary, is to make sure every child learns to read, write, add and subtract early, to be able to build on that education by going to college so they can start their careers with a college diploma." (3rd Presidential Debate)
"Listen, we’ve increased the budgets out of Washington [for education] by 49 percent since 2001. That is a healthy increase." (May, 2004)
(It is worth noting here that Bush followed up on this last statement by clarifying that "it’s not the Federal responsibility to fund schools. It’s State and local responsibility to fund. You don’t want the Federal Government running the school system here. But we can help. We can help with Title I students. We can help with Reading First programs. There are ways for the Federal Government to help, and we are." Thus, we see that Bush is still a conservative against federal involvement in education, even though he is compassionate enough to increase it enormously.)
These statements, and Bush’s record, should convince all Americans who want big government at home to vote for Bush.
Oh, but wait a minute! Hasn’t Kerry supported domestic spending increases nearly every time the opportunity has presented itself to him? And hasn’t Bush been fairly aggressive in the War on Terra?
It appears that this is indeed a tough choice for America’s hawks and partisans of big government. It’s hard to know which candidate will kill more foreigners or waste more tax dollars.
Those that oppose big government or find empire un-American don’t have this dilemma, obviously. No libertarian, fiscal conservative, or antiwar liberal could possibly bring himself to vote for Bush or Kerry. Right?
"Ah, but wait!" I will likely be told. "The next president will appoint Supreme Court justices! We can’t let a Democrat (or a Republican) have this power!"
Well, if you fear conservative justices, realize that Democratic appointees are rarely vigilant in defending civil liberties. And if you fear liberal justices, keep in mind that of the nine members of the Supreme Court who all seem to have trouble understanding the Constitution, seven were Republican appointees.
The judiciary is rotten, either way, and whoever is president will have to get his appointments past a divided Senate. This is really not as much of an issue as everyone seems to hysterically make it out to be. Do conservatives want more judges like Anthony Kennedy — or, for that matter, the habeas-corpus—destroying Clarence Thomas? Do liberals think Kerry is going to appoint anyone who will overturn his own horrid and inevitable civil liberties infringements?
Does anyone on either side of the issue really think that any modern establishment judiciary is going to overturn Roe v. Wade?
The supposedly crucial issue of the judiciary is just another trick the two parties use to distract us as they enthrall us in bipartisan imperialism and bankrupt economic policy.
Next Tuesday, I hope that people with any principles other than mindless partisan loyalty will either throw their votes away on the third party candidate closest to their views — whether Badnarik, Nader, or Peroutka — or stay at home.
At the Battle of Manassas, when much more was on the line, spectators sat on the hill and had a picnic. In the Battle Between the Socialist Hawk and the Warmongering Commie, the outcome will likely make little difference — and if it does, we have no way of knowing who would be a worse president. I plead with all Americans not to lend either man your support. Instead, stay with me on the sidelines and try to keep the ants off your watermelon.
Anthony Gregory [send him mail] is a writer and musician who lives in Berkeley, California. He is a research assistant at the Independent Institute. See his webpage for more articles and personal information.