I’m seriously considering not voting in the 2012 Presidential election.
For people who have known me a long time, this might be construed as a Really Big Deal. I voted three times in the fall of 2001 (an “off” year)–the first election day was September 11, so it was cancelled, but I had dragged Taxman to the polls at 7:00 that morning.
I was never heavily “into” politics, but I take my rights as an American, and as a woman, extremely seriously. I was born only 55 years after women got the right to vote. I am fully cognizant that in swaths of the world, free and fair elections aren’t happening for women or for anyone else.
It seems like a common trajectory is that your parents get more conservative as they age. But my parents (all four of them) have rebelled against the influence of the religious right and the polarization of American politics. I am sure they voted Democrat in 1980 but could live with Reagan. The Tea Party, however, is something else–it is not Reaganomics and libertarian leanings. It seems to me that it’s mostly Bible-thumping, hate-mongering, tale-bearing garbage.
So my parents, all of them, volunteered for the Obama campaign.
I voted for Obama, mostly buying what he was selling regarding social responsibility and preservation/progress on the front of rights for all Americans: women, gay people, poor people, immigrants. You could also regard my vote as one against what the Republicans were presenting. Sarah Palin…not the best idea. From my perspective, anyway.
A lot of my peers (the ones I discussed it with–not many) were horrified that I had voted for Obama, calling his election a disaster for Israel.
“I don’t live in Israel. I live in America,” I said. “I voted based on what I thought was good for Americans.”
But that was 2008.
Now I live in Israel. I don’t know what The Answers are for peace and stability in this region, but I am pretty sure that any American politician, no matter what party, is not going to make any inroads in four years or eight years or an entire 50-year career. Sorry. It’s way over their heads.
I am not impressed that the White House press secretary, Jay Carney, refused to identify Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. You know, it probably would make some governments unhappy. But guess what? Israel’s mere existence makes a lot of governments unhappy. It’s difficult to believe that Obama administration views Israel as a partner or friend or whatever the right word is when they’re so busy trying to tamp down on the squabbles over hurt feelings.
Trust me, Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. There’s this huge government complex there, including the Knesset (parliament) building and the High Court of Justice. It’s where the prime minister and president live. (When they’re the prime minister and president. They probably live in Caesaria otherwise because they’re pretty loaded.) This isn’t about spirituality or emotion or pissing rights. This has to do with where we direct our sighs when the raise the VAT (Israel Tax Authority –> located in Jerusalem). Not sexy.
But do I think Mitt Romney, a one-term governor and long-term moneymaker, is an appropriate replacement? Um. No. Just being “on Israel’s side” is naive and unhelpful. Coming to Israel and only appealing to Israeli hawks looks naive and unhelpful. Lots of ideas in play here–and that’s just in Israel, never mind what’s going with the neighbors.
And of course there’s the American side of me. The one that’s horrified by the seemingly systematic attempt to strip women’s rights away (state governments in the South…and Midwest…I’m looking at you). Moderate Republicans, who would keep human rights in place while being fiscally more conservative and more hawkish in terms of foreign policy, are being branded as RINOs and sent packing at the polls. There’s no middle anymore.
And the Israeli-American mix of me, which cannot understand what the hell is so wrong with health insurance for all citizens. Isn’t it bad juju to turn your back on your most vulnerable people? Not everything is about profit. Oh. Unless it is. In which case…<shrugs>
Anyway, I feel like I have no candidate to vote for. There is an organization here encouraging people to vote and making it easy to register, like the college voter drives of old, but all their speakers and events have featured Republicans. And it doesn’t erase my unease with the two choices.
So I think I am going to sit this one out. It’s difficult to say that, but really, America, this was the best you could do?
(How about Will MacAvoy? I’d vote for him.)