Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Prepare yourself for some rambling
As the title suggests, you'll need to bear with me for this one. I've got some things I need to say, and I'm not sure that my thoughts will be all that coherent. Maybe they will, maybe they won't. If you don't want to know what I'm thinking, then stop reading here. If you do, then I hope you enjoy it, and I hope you'll comment when I'm done. Anyway, here goes...

I'm just back from an event at Fairfield University—a discussion between Katrina vanden Heuvel (editor and publisher of The Nation) and William Kristol (editor of The Weekly Standard). This was part of a series of lectures called the Open Visions Forum, and in particular was their "Election Day Special" in this lecture series. Mr. Kristol opened with 15 minutes, followed by Ms. vanden Heuvel for 15 minutes. Next were a few (far too) long-winded questions from the moderator (Dr. Philip Eliasoph, a Professor in FU's Department of Visual and Performing Arts) for the speakers, a few questions from two student panelists, a few more from the moderator, and then a handful from the audience. As with most debates, I was frustrated by the format, but interested in what the speakers had to say.

I won't touch on the substantive things that were said tonight, but I am hoping to initiate a sort of "lecture series" of my own on this blog over the next few weeks and months. I know I've said it before, but I'm really feeling a need to get back into this blogging thing in a way I haven't over the past year. I simply do not have the bandwidth (or ability without losing my job) to post multiple times a day like I did back in college; that does not mean I cannot post a few times a week with more substantive thoughts.

So where is this coming from?

It started with an ongoing conversation that my brother initiated with me last week. It actually began with our father, and led to him drafting this post over at dcfb. As he says:

a big reason I haven't posted for so long is frustration. Frustration with the lack of progress in Iraq, frustration with the Bush Administration, frustration with Congress, and most of all frustration with feeling like there is nothing I can do about it. Well I'm tired of being frustrated; it just takes too much energy. So, I'm going to try to vent that frustration here.
One of the things we discussed was his frustration, and the fact that he felt a need to stop letting it get the better of him, and to try and do something about the roots of that frustration.

Well, I've been feeling similar sentiments myself.

Now, I openly admit that I am a partisan. I think the Republicans are completely off-base. Yes, you read that right. I said Republicans on purpose.

Unfortunately, the Democrats are far worse on just about every issue that frustrates me with Republicans. At the very least, they don't offer any alternatives worth discussing.

You can scroll down and see my evisceration of Kerry's playing politics while accusing others of playing politics for an illustration of this. Nobody is saying anything worthwhile because they're all too busy accusing each other of failing to say anything worthwhile or of saying the wrong things.

And the result, is someone like John Kerry making a joke about the intelligence of the administration and utterly failing to take up any of the very serious issues that he could consider at the present time.

So, to bring it back to my focus: I've been frustrated. I feel like there's no one out there who's even coming close to expressing what I believe. Sure, I think Chris Shays is a decent guy, and I know he's closer to what I believe than Diane Farrell. But do I really want to support him? I mean, Phil Maymin is far closer to what I believe. There's no way in hell, for example, Maymin would have supported BCRA (McCain-Feingold in the Senate, Shays-Meehan in the House), whereas Shays was a sponsor of it!

But Maymin is never going to win, and Shays, if I don't vote for him, could very well lose. Strategic thinking says, vote for Shays. And I probably will.

So, let's move on to the CT Senate election. Schlesinger is a joke who will never win. Lamont disagrees with just about everything I believe in. And Lieberman disagrees with me on just about everything but school vouchers and foreign policy, and even on that last one he's a much bigger cheerleader of the Bush Administration than I am these days. So who the hell do I vote for there?

Again, frustrated.

I supported the war in Iraq, and still think it was the right thing to do. I now think it was entirely botched not only in the prosecution, but also in the goals at the outset. I think that my brother's take is pretty much spot-on.

Yet again, frustrated. You get the point, I won't bore you with more examples.

So, my conversation with my brother has begun moving me to the point where I feel a need to stop being frustrated and start doing something about it, as he is doing. I helped him edit his Iraq post some (you can thank me for the sub-heads and most of the links—i.e. you can thank me for making it readable instead of one huge block of text). I felt a need to rip into Kerry—and if you made it to the end, you saw that it wasn't a partisan complaint, but one about politics in general.

And I feel the need to keep it up.

So, as I said, hopefully I'm going to find the time to provide you with more of my thoughts on every day events. I'll pick one or two issues per week on which to pontificate, and present you with the results.

Consider this morning's post the first in the series, serving as a general rant against the political noise machine of current politics. Consider tonight's post the second in the series.

And I hope to offer you more soon.

As I've said, this is my little effort to be heard, and to feel like I'm doing at least something. I can't change the system with my vote, so I'm going to lend more of my voice.

And please, please lend me yours in response. If you agree, if you disagree, stand up and be heard. (Unless you're John Kerry—he should still sit down and shut up.)


Phil Maymin said...


Thanks for your nice words about me. You are right, I would never support all those campaign finance restrictions on free speech.

Do you think you will get a personal response from Shays on your blog? From Farrell?

One vote will never make the difference in an election. If it's just one vote, it will be decided by recounts and courts anyway.

So why vote? To find out what kind of person you are.

When you're in the voting booth, you are there alone, appreciating the freedom our founding fathers secured for us. Despite what the Republicans and Democrats would have you believe, you don't have to vote for the lesser of two evils. You can suprise them by voting for someone you actually agree with, and who is responsive, and available. Have the courage of your convictions.

All the best,
Phil Maymin

p.s. Everybody please feel free to join us for a town meeting TONIGHT, 11/2, at Westport Library at 7:30pm. The suggested topic is Iraq but as always I will answer any questions and respond to any comments.

DemFromCT said...

Well, I read the dcfb with great interest. I'm not here to gloat, but I always wonder why the points in the excellent post at dcfb aren't more widespread. If we have some honest appraisal of Iraq, we can find more common ground.

I'll leave it at that, out of respect for the intent of this post.

Peter Borah said...

You said: "But Maymin is never going to win, and Shays, if I don't vote for him, could very well lose."

Tell me honestly, do you really think it will come down to your vote? This race is so close the winner will have a plurality of exactly 1 vote? I would be willing to bet money that it won't be.

Under your logic, any vote for a losing candidate is a wasted vote. If you thought Shays was going to lose, would you be forced to vote for Farrell instead?

You may be wondering, if this is how I really see things, what is the point of voting? Put simply, it's to make your voice heard.

The winner of the election is a binary thing. There is always exactly one winner, and the rest are losers. Your vote won't change who the winner is and who the losers are.

But there is one important number that isn't binary: vote totals. And would you rather give a larger vote total to Shays or Maymin? A vote for Shays a vote showing that you like the way he thinks and acts and want more of the same. A vote for Maymin is a vote showing you like his ideas and want more of the same.

You've said you don't like Shays, so why give him a bigger mandate?

-Peter Borah

(Disclaimer, I'm a Libertarian)