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Something’s been pissing me off lately about the healthcare debate, and now the MA Senate race.
When presented with two options, one of which is a deeply imperfect Democratic position (the Senate bill, voting for Coakley so she can support it) and the other of which is to refuse to support this position, inevitably the person who chooses to withhold their support is cast as an idiot. A moral failure. A selfish, uninformed dope.
Disagreement is not allowed if it might injure the great Democratic Party.
Don’t believe me? Check out this recent diary.
The author states a relatively simple argument: the Democrats in the Senate have utterly failed to utilize their 60-vote caucus to achieve Progressive goals. Therefore, they cannot support casting a vote to allow the Democratic party to maintain that majority for another few months. They hope, though with great skepticism, that a loss in this special election might jar the Party enough to cause it to take the concerns of its left-leaning base, who are deeply dissatisfied, more seriously.
This is not a flighty, ill-considered position. It may or may not be wrong, but it is not a rash decision. A voter, in the great democratic tradition, has informed themselves of the issues, searched their conscience, and made a choice about casting their vote. This is a good and honorable thing, and should be respected.
Was it? Absolutely not. Because that protest vote might injure the Great and Mighty Democratic Party.
Let’s take a quick survey of the responses to this discussion:
BayStateLibrul, at comment 3, offers to BRIBE the author to vote for Coakley. I’m pretty sure that’s a crime.
At 10, this bribe offer is reiterated.
At 23, it’s increased.
Tbogg, at comment 5, links to his post last year viciously excoriating a Nader supporter for living in a fantasy-world of universal magical happpiness. It’s a disgustingly immature piece that fails to address any of the substantial concerns that Nader-fan had, instead castigating them for not living in the real world. It concludes by telling people who disagree with Tbogg to ‘grow the fuck up’
At 49 he insults anyone who chooses not to vote as ‘wallowing in their own cynicism’, and says low turnout is the result of stupidity.
At 50, he says that talking to people who disagree with him is like ‘Rapture for Retards’
Jason Rosenbaum, at 8, claims that the author has no ‘real message’ and by failing to do their proper duty and vote against their conscience, is only helping the Republican.
He says that again at 45.
At 159 he implies that anyone who disagrees is a ‘political idiot’ and links to a Wikipedia article on plurality voting to show that failing to do your duty and vote lockstep for the D on the ballot marks a person as ‘behaving like a political idiot’.
And he uses this language again at 162.
Then he linked to a full length diary where he again attacks people who choose to exercise their fundamental right to vote however they please as, amongst other things, ‘infantile’ and akin to a ‘spurned child’.
It is worth noting at this juncture that, despite having this two party system, third parties have in fact emerged in the United States and grown to eventually displace and defeat one of the dominant political factions. You might have heard of one of them recently: the Republican Party.
Remember that guy, whassisname, won the Civil War? Lincoln? Yeah. Lincoln was elected President when the Republican party was six years old.
The Republicans replaced the Whigs, who had themselves emerged as a minor party to oppose the Democrats. (Funny that; I thought a third party making a difference was Unpossible)
So let’s review. A diarist writes a post explaining that they cannot in good conscience support a particular candidate for Senate, because of the failure of health care reform their party, and caucus, has been pushing. They are promptly offered bribes, subjected to ridicule, abuse, scorn and accusations of ignorance. The very IDEA of failing to vote for a Dem in a general election, for any reason, is cast as a failure of character and betrayal of principle. Not by random trolls, but, amongst others, by frequent front-page writers, who show no respect whatsoever for an American’s fundamental, and guaranteed, right to vote however their heart tells them.
I don’t have an opinion on Coakley. I haven’t studied her record or lived in her state. I don’t know how I would vote in the upcoming special election, given the chance.
I do, however, know that I would respect another citizen’s choice to vote for whomever they wished. Because, the last time I checked, this was still America, not the Soviet Republic of Democratistan. I’d rather a person vote Rush Limbaugh for President than cast a vote against their conscience.
So to all the Dems out there flagellating their MA brethren for showing insufficient support, I simply say:
Take your sanctimony and shove it.