I have always had a little trouble with conformity. I am a Green Party activist and a Unitarian Universalist, as well as a bicycle commuter, a Burner, and a vegetarian. Even among my weirdo friends, I'm a weirdo: Most Burners of my acquaintance are meat-eaters, and very few of my UU friends are Greens. (UU's are not all Democrats, but a huge majority are.)
Why bother campaigning for a political party or presidential candidate who won't win—for whom 5% is considered victory, but whom the polls put at 2%?
Why bother subscribing to a religion whose members make up about 0.1% of the US population—one that doesn't even have a formal creed?
The answer to both questions is complicated, but it comes down to this: I believe that both my party and my church have the potential to improve life on this planet. Just as importantly, the major parties and major religions have similar potential, but they squander it.
- Saturday on Facebook: Original post from a fellow UU links to this article on Forward Progressives that trots out the usual litany of seventeen reasons you'll regret it if Donald Trump wins the presidency because you had the audacity to not vote for Hillary Clinton. A choir-mate comments, "This is not the time to play third party!"
- Sunday at church: Two former choir-mates who have retired and moved away are in town and drop by for second service. In the fellowship hall, between services, out of the blue one of them shouts above the thrum of conversation: "Two bit, four bits, six bits, a dollar! All for Hillary, stand up and holler!" Not everyone hears it, and not everyone stands up and hollers, but a substantial number do.
The "two bits" chant was a harmless escapade, but it stoked my paranoia. It felt like a conformity check: Let's see who dares not express fealty to the woman whom Fate herself has chosen to be president.
The "play third party" comment might normally have goaded me into replying on the thread. I love a good online political argument. But lately I've been content to let the liberal echo chamber echo itself, keeping my Joe Progressive alter ego under wraps. This close to Election Day, nothing I might have said in response would change anyone's mind.
Still, I find it insulting that anyone might think I'm just playin'. My vote is dead serious.
20-Year Green Veteran
As stated previously, this is the sixth time I have voted Green in a presidential election. Bill Clinton lost my vote in 1996; Hillary Clinton has not earned it back in 2016.
Millions of US voters may have flirted with the idea of casting a presidential vote for someone other than the hugely unpopular Trillary. A subset of those millions may actually have progressed beyond flirting and cast that vote. And then there are those of us who had no intention of voting for the nominee of either major party, even if the Democrats had nominated Bernie Sanders.
I can't speak for all of us, whether we are 2016 third-party-fling voters or committed progressives working to destroy the Duopoly. But as for me, I am voting for the presidential ticket that best embodies my values—and that, in my view, best embodies UU values.
- UU values do not include bombing vulnerable populations or aiding other nations that do.
- UU values do not include facilitating coups d'étât on behalf of one's corporate benefactors.
- UU values do not include dilatory half-responses to climate change and environmental degradation on behalf of one's corporate benefactors.
- UU values do not include pandering to one-percenters like the Podesta Brothers' pals or the Might Morphin Power Ranger guy.
- UU values do include the ability to say, sincerely and unreservedly, "Black Lives Matter."
- UU values do include standing up for Mother Earth and her creatures.
ADDENDUM: Looking back at my previous post about UU's and their habitual Democratic leanings, I must give some credit to Rev. Dr. Daniel O'Connell for acknowledging in his sermon that some of us have doubts about both major candidates. True, he then proceeded to ignore the minor-party choices, but at least he didn't just assume that everyone in the sanctuary was enthusiastically supporting Clinton/Kaine.
The Wall Street Duopoly Can Suck It
Once upon a time, the Democratic Party may have been the party of peace, social justice, economic justice, popular sovereignty, and environmental protection. Since the Information Revolution that flourished in the 1990s, anyone with an Internet connection, basic research skills, and a built-in bullshit detector can see how Democratic politicians' actions have diverged from their rhetoric.
The Democrats are now the party of saying they're for peace and justice and all that. They are merely the less odious head on the corporate-funded two-headed monster.
The monster has given us two major-party nominees selected by a combined 14% of the voting-eligible population. Public Policy Polling's final pre-election poll shows majorities with unfavorable opinions of both. A majority of the nation's voters align with neither major party; they would love to see more and better choices. If the media machine weren't constantly bombarding them with Duopolistic propaganda, people might wake up and see that the alternatives they crave already exist.
Arise, Great Independent Majority! Together let's stop Trump, Clinton, and their accomplices from stealing our democracy! The monster must die!