I voted this morning, about 9:30, about the 98th person at my polling place to use the scanned paper ballots instead of the touch-screen voting machines. I took the piece of paper because I’d planned to write in the name of my favored candidate, a man who has since left the race, Fred Thompson.
The current front runners of the party, Romney and McCain, are not my first choice. Nor my second choice. Nor, really, men I would choose at all if given any good field. Romney signed MassCare (Google asks, “Did you mean Massacre?”). Romney promised auto workers that he would save the auto industry. I mean, Romney isn’t what I’d call a conservative.
McCain, now, I liked him well enough in 2000, before I knew much about him. I even forgave him for earnestly supporting McCain-Feingold because I thought his heart was in the right place with his intentions, but I didn’t think the law would prove “Constitutional” (the difference between Constitutional and “Constitutional” lies in the difference between my opinion and that of the swing vote of the Supreme Court). However, it did, and ultimately the better I got to know McCain, the less I liked him.
I would have voted for somebody else, anyone else, when I got to the polling place. Instead, I hoped to write in the name of Fred Thompson to indicate my displeasure with the ruling mass of the Republican party that its calculus that weights “electability” (that is, how positively enamored the media coverage of a candidate is) over substance (that is, reason, individualism, and capitalism tempered with individually-motivated charity that make up the American psyche, or what I always hope is ultimately would prove to be the American psyche).
I wanted to let the Party and its new ruling locus back east understand that they weren’t speaking for me, that I would go outside the established paths they chose for me and would actually write in the name of a Federalist, a man laden with gravitas, and someone who I think exuded sincerity and down-to-earth belief in himself and the aforementioned tenets of American society.
Of course, between the two evils vying to be the lesser of the two evils on the ballot in November, the current leader McCain varies from all that I think is good in politics more than the other guy, and a vote for a who has no chance is really a vote for the front runner. That is, any vote for anyone other than the guy in second place is irrelevant. And I didn’t want McCain to win, did I?
Brother, that argument that my opinion is irrelevant doesn’t work if you’re trying to bring me to inflate your relevance. I know that I differ from the bulk of the party, and this primary offers me the opportunity to remind you just how much.
I was going to write in Fred Thompson, but his name was on the ballot. Good, that means that people who feel almost as fervent as I do but are lazy might take the opportunity to send the same message that I did. I filled in the circle and scanned it in, leaving a paper trail in case of voting irregularities or whatnot and a record that I stand apart from the direction this party is going, down the slippery slope into disconnection from me, if not its base.