Tag Archives: politics

Don’t Vote For A Jackass

8 Nov

In years past, I’ve written about local and national elections several times.  However, I’ve always tried to keep my personal beliefs to the side.  I’m guessing it would not be very hard to figure out which way I lean on the political spectrum, but I’ve tried to stop short of saying “vote for _____” or “you’d be a fool to support X”.

 

But that needs to change.

 

I cannot imagine how anybody with half of a brain could vote for Donald Trump.

 

Let’s set aside the primary reason (“he’s not Hillary”) for a moment, and try to understand why.

 

Throughout this grueling death march of a campaign, Trump has shown himself – over and over and over and over again – to be:

  • An habitual liar who invents his own reality, and refuses to own his past words and actions.
  • A creepy (and possibly dirty) old man who struggles to show basic respect to women – especially if they do not meet his ridiculous standards of beauty.
  • Someone with zero patience for dissent, debate, or diplomacy.
  • A vain, pompous blowhard whose apparent motivation for getting out of bed is the continual gratification of his own ego.
  • Somebody easily manipulated into flying off the handle and saying inappropriate things.  When a grown man has his Twitter account taken away from him – for his own good – that should be a sign.
  • A man incapable of accepting any setback without claiming conspiracies, bias, or the system being “rigged” against him.*

 

*The irony, of course, is as a white male born into extreme wealth, the it would be very hard to rig the system any more in his favor.

 

  • A person who has built much of his campaign on fear of those who are not white Christians.
  • A businessman who has had some shady business dealings, lost over a billion dollars, and bragged about not paying taxes for years.
  • A candidate who won’t denounce the support he receives from the KKK.
  • Somebody wholly unfit – by nearly every measure – to be Commander-in-Chief
  • Sadly, there are probably a half-dozen more examples that I’m forgetting.

 

Seriously, if you look solely at who Donald Trump is (and completely ignore any of the other candidates), I cannot fathom how anybody could support him in good conscience.

 

I honestly believe that if Trump was running against anybody other than Hillary Clinton, this would be the greatest landslide in US history.  In my lifetime, nobody has gotten stomped worse than Walter Mondale.  I’d wager that he’d kick Trump’s ass.  But, the reality is that Hillary is the other main candidate.  And she has more than enough warts, flaws, and character issues to keep the race as competitive as it has been.

 

I get it:  you dislike Hillary Clinton.  You don’t trust her.  You believe that she is corrupt, dishonest, and represents everything wrong with Washington D.C. politics.  You contend that so many things she is connected to (emails, Benghazi, her husband, etc.) stink to high heaven.  For the sake of time, I won’t argue any of that.

 

But seriously?  She will do more damage to our country than Trump?  How can you possibly believe that?  Even if she forwards every email for the next four years to every email account in the world, I’ll still take my chances that we still come out ahead with her versus a Trump presidency.

 

The primary system is seriously flawed.  It favors candidates who pander to the extremes of their party instead of those who will be moderate, can compromise, and get results.  This broken system is how we got to Trump, Clinton, and some third-party jokers barely worthy of a mention.  So here is what I propose:  let’s spend the next four years fixing the primary system, locating better, more competent candidates and getting them more in tune with what the majority of Americans actually want.  Make Hillary a one-term President, especially if she’s not getting the job done.

 

But please, pretty please, for the sake of our country, our children, ourselves, do not vote for Donald Trump.  He needs to be defeated so soundly, so thoroughly that no other candidate tries to emulate his path to the nomination.

 

Voting Lines.  When I go vote today, I’ll have to travel all of five blocks to my precinct.  I probably will arrive around 5:20, when many of my neighbors will be getting home from work.  If I have to wait to vote – which has rarely, if ever happened in my 24 years of voting – I expect that wait to be less than 10 minutes.

 

Sadly, that will not be the case for many of our fellow Americans.  Take a look at this video explaining why we vote on Tuesday.  https://youtu.be/e0bMfS-_pjM   When I watched it, I could not help but notice the vast majority of people in line were African-American.  Maybe I notice it because Nebraska is not a very diverse state.  Or maybe I notice it because in some parts of our country – intentionally or not – it is needlessly hard for people to exercise their right to vote.

 

Nebraska’s Death Penalty.  Last year, the Nebraska Legislature voted to repeal the death penalty.  Governor Pete Ricketts vetoed that bill, but the Unicameral overrode his veto.  Death penalty supporters then started a petition drive to bring it back.  Governor Ricketts has supported this initiative with several hundred thousand of his own dollars.*

 

*This is a good place to note two key things:  1) Under Nebraska law, Governor Ricketts can spend his money however he damn well pleases.  If he wants to spend a small fortune to restore the State’s ability to kill capital offenders, that is his right.  2) The comments and opinions shared on this site do not necessarily reflect those of my employer (who does work with several state agencies).

 

I bring up this referendum for two reasons:  First off, the language is very counter-intuitive.  When Nebraskans go to the polls, their options will be to Retain or Repeal.  Repeal gets rid of the law (LB268) that eliminated the death penalty, thus bring it back.  Retain keeps the law in place, therefore ending the death penalty.

 

Secondly, there are a multitude of reasons to RETAIN the law (and get rid of the death penalty):

 

  • Capital punishment has been shown to have a systemic bias against minorities.
  • There have been many instances where an innocent person was sentenced to death, or killed.
  • The multitude of appeals (needed to prevent wrongfully convicted people from being killed) costs more than life in prison.  For a fiscally conservative state, this should be reason enough to RETAIN.
  • Capital punishment is not proven to be a deterrent to violent crime.
  • Currently, Nebraska is unable to legally procure the drugs necessary to perform an execution.
  • Capital punishment is rarely used.  Nebraska has only executed three people in the last 40 years, and no one since 1997.

 

There’s also the inherent irony of an overwhelmingly pro-life state being so eager to kill people, but that’s beside the point.

 

LD25 .  Closer to (my) home, there is a hotly contested race for the Nebraska Legislature.  I learn just how contested it is every time I go to my mailbox.  For the last few weeks, I’m averaging a couple of campaign flyers a day.  With few exceptions, they bash the other candidate and focus little on what the candidate will do.  Very few of these flyers were purchased by the candidates – instead, they come from the political parties and faceless PACs.  And all of this for a (supposedly) non-partisan office that pays $12,000 a year.  Tonight, one of the candidates will be elected.  But frankly, the only winners will be printing companies and US Postal Service.

 

Finally – as always, be sure to use your right to vote – or be willing to waive your right to complain.

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Selective History

11 Jun

The last few days, I’ve been seeing versions of the same image showing up frequently in my Facebook feed:

history

(source: facebook.com/sarahpalin)

Selective History

 

 

I know the message that the Republicans are trying to send:  “On issues that are fundamental to the American way of life (freedom, voting rights, racial justice, etc.) the Republicans have been on the right side of history, while the Democrats have been overwhelmingly wrong time and again.”.*

Who knows?  It is quite possible that the Republicans are right about Obamacare, just like they were right on these three other examples.

But….

It would sure be nice if they could find a more recent example of where they were overwhelmingly right (and the Democrats were overwhelmingly wrong).  Since the infographic is about history, let’s do a little American History refresher:

  • 13th Amendment:  Passed Congress on January 31, 1865
  • 14th Amendment:  Passed Congress on June 18, 1866
  • 15th Amendment:  Passed Congress on February 25, 1869
  • Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”):  Passed Congress on March 21, 2010

*Let’s pause for a minute to reflect on how radically the identities of the two political parties have shifted since the Reconstruction Era.  Can you imagine the Democrats of 2015 being almost universally opposed to increased rights and protections for illegal immigrants?  Or having near unanimous GOP support for legislation allowing gay marriage?  Right, wrong, or otherwise, neither of those things would happen today.

For the sake of argument (and avoiding partisan talking points), let’s assume that Republicans will one day be able to say “I told you so” on Obamacare.  Is the implication here that the GOP has not been on the right side of history in over 140 years?

Obviously, I’m not naive enough to think that the Democrats have had a monopoly on being overwhelmingly right on the important political and social issues of the last 140 years.

But here is the message I get from this infographic:  “Once upon a time, we were on the right side of history.  But since we don’t have a good example of that happening since Andrew Johnson left office, we really hope we’re right on Obamacare.”

And that really doesn’t seem like something to brag about.

Thought of the Day – 11/4/2014 – You Get What They Paid For

4 Nov

If I paid $50,000 for the opportunity to get hired as a minimum wage cashier at McDonald’s, you’d either think I was a moron or I had some shady plan in place to make my money back.

Yet, we don’t think anything of candidates who spend tens of thousands of dollars for an office that pays $12,000, plus per diem (Nebraska legislature) or millions for an office that pays $174,000 (U.S. House and Senate).

So are we electing morons or are these elected officials recouping their losses?

I approve this message

We Don’t Want the Capitol

13 May

Recently, there has been some local and national buzz around the notion of moving the United States Capitol to Nebraska.  It’s pretty easy to see why media members and bloggers would run with this idea – it makes for an attention-grabbing (and click generating) headline.

The story behind it is a political ad by Ben Sasse, a candidate for one of Nebraska’s U.S. Senate seats.  For better or for worse (and probably it’s the latter), Sasse has employed some interesting ads in his senate campaign*.

*Sasse’s latest ad has his two young daughters talking about how much daddy “despises” Obamacare.  I’d like to comment more on that one, but every time I watch it, I get creeped out.  Maybe if Sasse wins today’s primary election I’ll take a second look at it.

Here is the 30 second version of the Capitol ad:

Normally, when I talk about advertising on this site, I go into the nuts and bolts – what works and what doesn’t.  But political advertising is a completely different beast.  The genre is known as much for a lack of creativity (here is Candidate X standing in front of a bunch of flags, or looking like a regular Joe at the corner cafe) as it is for an extreme creative license with factual information (read:  they’re jam-packed with exaggerations, half-truths, and outright lies).

Instead of picking apart the ad, let’s focus on the key message:  America would be better served if the Capitol is in Nebraska.

Certainly, there is something to this.  Nebraskans, by and large, are a roll-up-your-sleeves, git-r-done, kind of people.  Our unique unicameral (one house) state legislature is officially non-partisan, and is generally free of the political gamesmanship that plagues Washington D.C.

Nebraska, Our Nation's Capital

Nebraska, Our Nation’s Capital (Photo credit: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com)

But with all due respect to Ben Sasse (and his stroke-the-ego-of-the-populace move to imply that Nebraskans are above the political fray), I think I speak for all Nebraskans when I say, we don’t want the Capitol here.

Why not?  Let’s look at some of the reasons:

  • The majority of the nation (I’m looking at you East and West coasts) would have to think of Nebraska as something other than a barren wasteland of flyover country.  You’d come here, realize how nice it is, and screw it up.
  • Being the center of U.S. politics is not a good way to maintain Nebraska as “The Good Life“.
  • Nebraska trails neighboring states in the number of operational wind turbines, so we are ill-equipped to handle the hot air 535 senators and congressmen would generate.
  • The national media has put too much time and effort into cultivating the national stereotype that Nebraska is nothing but farms, cows, and dudes driving tractors.
  • Depending on the month (or the day) it would be too cold or too hot for you here.
  • As the only state with a unicameral legislature, we wouldn’t know what to do with the extra house.  Besides, we’d probably just decorate it with Husker stuff.
  • Have you ever tried to fly into Nebraska?  It’s not exactly easy.  The four gates at Lincoln Municipal Airport (LNK) would be packed with lobbyists and corporate interests.
  • Bringing Congress here would double, if not triple, the number of democrats currently in our very red state.
  • We don’t want the Beltway gridlock.  We’re pretty partial to “rush hour” slowing our commute down to 35 mph, instead of the usual 45 mph.
  • Washington’s sports teams are a collective train wreck – especially the District’s NFL franchise.  Given that Nebraska football is a statewide passion, we cannot jeopardize it being corrupted by D.C. influences.
  • I think the last democratic president to step foot inside Nebraska was JFK.
  • 17% of Representatives and 6% of Senators could not find Nebraska on a map.  (Hint:  we’re above Kansas and below “One of those Dakotas”)
  • We prefer our manure to come from cows, not politicians.

That said, today is the primary election in Nebraska, so get out and vote for your next Senator, next Governor*, and other local races.

*Oh, you think Nebraska’s Democratic candidates for governor and senate have a chance in November?  You’re so cute!

More Facebook Pet Peeves

20 May

A year or so ago, I compiled a list of my biggest Facebook Pet Peeves.  While some of these have slipped away – the “copy and paste this as your status if you agree” movement has mercifully slowed down – some new ones have cropped up.  Technically many of these are more about annoying Friends do than true pet peeves, but close enough for the Internet…

As before, the standard disclaimer applies:  If any of these apply to my current Facebook friends, (and you might be able to guess where most of my inspiration came from) I mean no offense.  Consider it a friendly intervention (sans the How I Met Your Mother banner).  You might get defensive at first, but I’m only telling you because I care.  If you disagree, I’ll respect your right to de-friend me (but know that I might do it first).

Extreme Partisan
Obama sucks, Republicans are stupid hypocrites, the Occupy movement was a bunch of dirty hippies, the Tea Party is full of racist jackasses, and on and on and on.  Every single post is about furthering your agenda, spreading some gross distortion, or sharing your general disdain for the other side.

Unfortunately, the only thing you’re convincing me is the next time I bump into you, I should either pretend that I’m running late or keep the conversation solely on the weather.  Even then, you’ll probably try to blame George W. Bush for the heat or mock Al Gore for the chilly temps.

Single Issue Guy
A close cousin of the Extreme Partisan.  Instead of telling me how the other party is ruining the country, you lock in one issue.  All day.  Every day.  24/7/365.

I get it:  you like your Second Amendment rights.  You hate abortion.  Gays should be allowed to marry.  While I may or may not agree with your positions, I am not coming to Facebook looking to debate issues (especially when your best argument is some ridiculous image with a bumper sticker slogan or tired talking points falsely attributed to a celebrity.

Please stop filling my timeline with your propaganda.  Of if that is too hard for you, at least try to mix it up.  Give me your rabid rantings and conspiracy theories on the designated hitter, college football playoffs, or the age-old Taste Great/Less Filling debate.

Recipe Sharer
My news feed currently has recipes for seven different chocolate-laden desserts, two pies, four casseroles, and enough quick and easy dinners using Pillsbury crescent rolls to last a month.  Enough!  Unless you made it yourself, I don’t need to see a picture of it.  And if you’re not offering to make these dishes for the rest of the class, find a better system for storing recipes*.

*Some recipe posts urge you to share so it will show up on your Wall so you can find it later.  Yeah, I’m sure when I’m trying to make a dessert for Christmas dinner, I’ll remember to go into my Facebook Wall, navigate to February 2013…wait, was that in March?…skim through two dozen other recipes…or was it January?  When was the Super Bowl?…hope that particular recipe is actually displayed on my Wall…no, I’m pretty sure it was February, because that was when Cousin Tito was in town…and hopefully find that recipe. 

Recipe sharers, there’s a site you should check out.  It’s called Pinterest.

Game Player
Please don’t invite me to play another game.  I’m perfectly capable of wasting time on my own.  Also, I don’t give a crap that you just passed Level 71 on Candy Crush Saga or scored 30 points on Words With Friends – and I play both of those games.  Here is a tip*:  when you authorize Facebook to use an app, change the privacy to “Only Me”.  That way, nobody else has to suffer through your latest “achievement.”

*Time to break out my Feit Can Write end-user documentation skills for a quick Public Service Announcement:

How to Change Sharing for Facebook Apps (or How to Keep Automatic Posts to Yourself)

  1. In Facebook, click on the sprocket icon in the upper right hand corner.
  2. Click on Privacy Settings.
  3. In the left hand pane, click on Apps.
  4. A list of your authorized applications will appear.  The middle column shows the visibility of an app and posts.
  5. To edit the visibility and posting access, click on either the word in the middle column or the Edit link to the right.
  6. Click on the drop-down list next to Visibility of apps and posts, and select the desired privacy level (Public, Friends of Friends, Friends, Only Me, Custom).
  7. RECOMMENDED:  Select “Only Me” to prevent game notifications from polluting the feeds of your friends.
  8. Repeat steps 5 and 6 for other applications.
  9. Exit the Privacy section.

Sharin’ Sharon.
Who am I talking about?  The person who shares dozens of images every day, and all from weird accounts like “Crazy Lady Duck Farts & Humor.”  Cat pictures, memes, syrupy “I love my sister/bff/cousin/podiatrist” images, and more personal affirmations than an AA meeting?  Share it.  A cute video of babies or puppies?  Share those too.

Look:  the Share button should be reserved for things that your friends want – nay, NEED – to see*, not two dozen eCards, some ugly-ass cowboy boots you won’t win, or schmaltzy inspirational images that made you smile.  That is what the Like button is for.

*Disclaimers:  If you’re sharing anything that starts with “YOU NEED TO READ THIS”, take 30 seconds to check it on snopes.com first, so you don’t end up looking like a gullible fool.  Obviously, the amazing and clever posts from the Feit Can Write Facebook page are exempt from this, and should always be shared.  Always.

I think Facebook should institute a limit on the number of shares you get per day or per month (say 5 a day and 100 a month).  Hell, let Zuckerberg sell additional shares for a buck each.

TonyAndToniTonestsonJointAccount. 
I know I did this one last time, but it still bugs me.  I am convinced that couples who share Facebook accounts either have severe trust issues or one person doesn’t really want to be on Facebook.  If there is another plausible reason, I’d love to hear it.

Seriously, it’s time.  Get your own account.

What did I miss?  What drives you nuts on Facebook?

Exercising My Right to Complain (and other random election thoughts)

7 Nov

Today, I voted over the lunch hour, guaranteeing my right to complain for another four years.  I would like to exercise that right, as well as share some of my thoughts and feelings on other national and local issues.

Let’s start it off with the main event:  the presidential race.

President Obama reelected.  Despite this and my last two posts, I do want to keep this space largely free of politics so I’ll withhold my thoughts on the reelection itself.  But I will say this:  I have two (adopted) children under the age of four.  My daughter has an African-American birth father, and both my son’s birth parents are African-American.  Having an African-American President isn’t going to erase (or likely reduce) the racial challenges they will face in their lives – especially in an overwhelmingly caucasian state like Nebraska – but it will make it easier for me to tell them that anything is possible.  And that is a huge victory in our household.

Poor timing.  For the majority of the night, we kept our coverage on ABC – mainly because I prefer their Lincoln affiliate for local coverage.  Unfortunately, when Obama got the necessary 270 electoral votes, we missed out on the moment as we were watching a local reporter stumble through an interview with a reelected Congressman.  Talk about anti-climatic.

Popular vote vs. Electoral College.  As I write this, President Obama has a very slight lead in the popular vote* (around 200,000 – less than the population of Lincoln, NE), but he is absolutely crushing Romney in the all-important Electoral College (303-203 at the moment).  This is bringing up the same debate we have every four years on if the best way to elect our President is to continue the Electoral College or put it simply to a popular vote where the candidate with the most votes wins.

*Currently, I’m mixing up my election coverage with some Fox News.  The nice blonde lady is struggling to figure out why Romney lost even though he is doing well in the popular vote.  I’m guessing this anchor was hired more for her looks than her political savvy, but surely somebody there can explain the Electoral College to her, right?

Without getting into that debate, I think the thing we must recognize is how well – in this election and in 2008 – Barack Obama and his campaign team did in a) understanding exactly how the system worked and b) creating a winning game plan to win under the system in place.  Frankly, I think if the goal was to win the national popular vote, Obama’s team would have emphasized that instead of focusing on the critical swing states.

For what it’s worth, I’d love to see how the election would have played out if every state used the system in place in Nebraska and Maine:  the electoral votes are not winner-take-all, but are divided by Congressional district.  That could be a fair compromise to the issue.

Long lines to vote.  Throughout the day, I heard stories of folks having to wait for hours on end to vote at their local polling place.  And I don’t understand it.  This is my sixth presidential election, and I have never waited more than five minutes to cast my ballot – and for most of them (including today) I simply walk in, sign the thing and vote.  So what is the deal?  Are there not enough polling places?  Not enough workers staffing them? Whatever it is, it needs to be fixed.

Moving closer to home, there were a handful of local races and amendments that I felt strongly about.  Looking back, I probably should have shared my thoughts before the election, but given the large margins by which they were defeated, it probably would not have mattered.

Bob Kerrey loses his bid for the U.S. Senate.  Despite some late polls that showed Kerrey (a former Nebraska Governor and U.S. Senator) had closed the gap on state senator Deb Fischer, this was never really in much doubt.  Kerrey never had much of a chance, and the simple fact that he – somebody who has not lived in the state since 2000 – represented the Nebraska Democrats’ best (and only) hope for retaining Ben Nelson’s Senate seat should tell you everything you need to know about the strength of the democratic party in Nebraska.  But to be clear – it stinks.  Yes, there are some bright, young, and talented democratic senators in the Unicameral, but blowout losses in the elections for  three congressional districts, both Senate seats, and the Governor’s mansion over the past few years demonstrates the failure of the democratic party to recruit, develop, and support talented candidates.

I can certainly understand that few people in this vastly Republican state care about the stumbles and fumbles within the Democratic Party, but, having both parties being viable and competitive is in the best interest of all Nebraskans.  The GOP is more than holding up their end fo the bargain.  Let’s see if the Democrats can do the same.

During his acceptance speech, Nebraska Congressman Jeff Fortenberry forgets one of his children.  It is a standard part of the post-election speech.  Candidate thanks his wife, his kids, and everyone who supported him.  Fortenberry was doing the same thing; he recognized his wife, named three or four kinds, and was moving on when his wife interrupted him to point out that he had forgotten about one of his daughters – who was standing four feet away from him.

An amendment to extend term limits is rejected.  The amendment would have kept term limits on the Nebraska legislature, but would have changed the maximum number of terms from two to three.  Personally, I liked the idea as the Unicameral is seeing good senators forced out and replaced with inexperienced newbies, who spend most of their first term getting familiar with the ropes.  A part of me thinks this was defeated for the same reason term limits were initially enacted – to keep argumentative and contrarian senator Ernie Chambers out of office.

Speaking of which….

Ernie Chambers reelected to the Nebraska Legislature.  He’s baaack!  His WikiPedia page refers to him as “‘Defender of the Downtrodden’, the ‘Maverick of Omaha’ and the ‘Angriest Black Man in Nebraska.'”  He was forced out by term limits, sat out for four years, and is back and ready to use his mastery of the political process to block bills that he does not support.  Ernie adds much-needed life to the Unicameral, and he does a good job of thinning out some of the junk bills that get pushed every year.

No pay raise for the Legislature.  An amendment to give Nebraska’s state senators a $10,500 pay raise (from $12,000 to $22,500 a year) is soundly rejected.  I know that my fellow Nebraskans are a fiscally conservative bunch, but I wonder a) why anybody would spend thousands of dollars campaigning for a full-time “part-time” job that likely pays less than minimum wage per hour worked. and b) if there is any way that a person like me (i.e. married, kids, car payment, job that pays considerably less than six figures) could ever survive as a Senator without starving (or getting cozy with a lobbyist).  As the old cliché goes – you get what you pay for.

Campaign Workers and Volunteers.  As I was driving my kids to daycare this morning, I recognized a former co-worker (Phil Montag) holding a alarge campaign sign at an intersection.  Ten hours later, as I was taking my daughter to her gymnastics class, Phil was still on the street corner still holding that sign.  I assume that Phil did not spend his entire day holding a sign up for motorists to ignore, but I have a ton of respect for the folks – on both sides – who freely give their time, talents, and energies to help their candidates get elected.  Some really believe in their candidate(s).  Some – like Phil – are political junkies who enjoy the nuts and bolts of elections.  Regardless, I applaud those who do the little things to help make our democratic elections work, from the presidential elections down to a humble race for County Commissioner, such as the one Phil was holding a sign for.

Why I Vote

6 Nov

Nebraska is a big red state – both in football and in politics.  It’s been said that the only thing that outnumbers Republicans in Nebraska is cattle – and most of those cows would vote GOP if they could.

There are definitely pros and cons to living in a state where one party dominates all of the state and national offices.  For example, I don’t think the Lincoln TV stations have shown a single Obama or Romney ad (or super PAC attack ads bashing one of the candidates)*.  The campaigns know that Nebraska’s miniscule amount of electoral votes are going to Romney, and no amount of soft focus ads with ominous voice-overs will change that.

*This isn’t quite the case in for folks who watch the Omaha channels, as a) neighboring Iowa is a swing state, and b) because Nebraska is one of two states who splits their electoral vote by congressional district, there is a (slight) chance that Obama could steal an electoral vote in Nebraska, as he did in 2008.

And I’m okay with that.  I have a degree in Advertising and I’ll be first to tell you that political ads (from both sides) are entirely composed of lies, half-truths, and slanderous evil.  So the lack of wall-to-wall ads is a positive.

But there is one big negative:  pretty much any vote I cast in a state or national election – regardless of party – is purely symbolic.

Since I live in Lincoln, a vote for Obama isn’t going to help him win an electoral vote.  I could still vote for him as a show of support (or dissent from my Republican neighbors).  I could also write-in my own name*.  Both have the same impact.

*Nebraska residents, for the first time I am elgible to be elected President of the United States.  Feel free to (FeitCan) write me in.  I’m willing to release my birth certificate, tax returns, helium balloons, whatever it takes.

If I vote for Romney, I’m a single snowflake in a GOP avalanche.  In 2008, John McCain won Nebraska by approximately 120,000 votes, which is more than the number of registered voters in Nebraska’s third, fourth, and five largest cities.  Combined.  I feel safe in saying that Mitt will do just fine in Nebraska without my vote.

But I will still vote today.

Why?  I’ll spare you the 8th Grade social studies response about it being my civic duty, or any other clichéd answer.  Instead, I’ll give you the primary reason I vote – and the reason you should vote today too:

By exercising your right to vote, you gain one of the most fundamental American rights.  It may not be in the Constitution, but all Americans hold this right dear.

The right to complain.

That is why I’ve been tolerating the barrage of politically charged Facebook posts this year – I know the people posting that stuff have voted in the past, and will vote today.

But if you don’t vote, I don’t want to hear it for another four years.

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