At heart, I'm a progressive Democrat. When I speak to other Democrats, I usually have the feeling that they are people with whom I share a similar moral outlook, concern for society and sense of justice. When I speak to Republicans, I sense a callousness and insensitivity to human suffering that I find distasteful.
Unfortunately, these same Democrats, whom I relate on a spiritual level, often seem to be paleo-liberals who haven't done a reality check in the last quarter century. Their personal identities are so closely bound to the idea that Democrats are good and Republicans are evil, that they can't comprehend that some Republican policies turn out to be better for society that their Democratic alternatives. For example, over the last ten years, thousands of young Hispanic and Afro-American men in the city would have died at the hands of violent criminals if the Republican policing policies of Rudy Giuliani had not replace the Democratic policies of David Dinkins.
The identity problem prevents some democrats from recognizing that their party is as obscenely corrupt, and its representatives as despicable political, as their Republican counterparts.
Major contributors to the Democratic party include lawyers, Hollywood and teachers unions. Because of their obligations to these contributors, Democrats will perpetuate a system in which (1) most of the money spent on environmental cleanup goes to legal fees rather than cleaning up; (2) parents are denied any technological means to shelter their children from the media's obsession with sex and violence; and (3) teachers unions will block any meaningful educational reform.
Specific Democratic candidates have similar conflicts. Al, the bagman for the Democratic Party, will never allow any meaningful campaign finance reform. Joe, the senator from gun manufacturing Connecticut, will never allow any meaningful gun control laws. Hillary threatens to bring the same success to NY State's educational system that she brought to Arkansas and the same success in health care reform that she brought at the federal level.
To vote for either the Republicans or Democrats seems an immoral resignation to cynicism and hopelessness, yet there are few options. By splitting into two demented factions, the Reform Party has eliminated itself from consideration.
This leaves the Green Party and Ralph Nader. Over the last decade, the Greens have broadened their perspective from their earlier single-issue focus, to a broader progressive platform. Ralph Nader is a man of integrity and intelligence. Your vote will give him a voice, even if he doesn't win.
A vote for either of the two major parties is a vote wasted. If, however, the Greens can win 10 percent of the popular vote, the two major parties will spend the next ten years scrambling to adopt their policies to win the Green's constituency. This is a winning strategy. Vote Green!
Robert T. Schill