Kerry, Cobb, Nader

I’m still wrestling with this whole who-do-I-vote-for thing. To further confuse matters, I just read Amy Goodman’s interview with Ralph Nader.

And now my thoughts are even further blurred. Consider:

AMY GOODMAN: Last question, and that is the rage of your former friends that you’re experiencing right now. What is your response to this, to your being so — to them feeling so alienated by all of the things that you have represented in the past that they say they have supported?

RALPH NADER: Think they deserve John Kerry for another four years. So, then they’ll come back in a year and start complaining, oh, oh, this party, oh, the White House, so terrible on the environment, caving in to the coal companies and the nuclear and not doing anything about biotech or W.T.O. or NAFTA. How many times do they have to be betrayed? You can forgive them in they’re under 30. They have not been betrayed enough, but people — my peer group going like that? There’s no end to the lowering of their expectation level. The least-worsters have no end logic to their attitude. Because every four years until the end of kingdom come, there will be a least-worst party in America. They have no end, in 2008, 2012. And every four years, both parties get worse and they make no demands. If you are going to go for least worst, at least pull the least of the worst in your direction. They don’t even have the courage of their convictions to stand tall, and to say they have wimped out is truly an understatement. And it’s a tragedy because they’re very bright, and they fought a lot of good fights in the old days. They have either run out of gas, or they have lost their self-respect.

So for me it comes down to compassion vs. authenticity. The only authentic choice I have would be to vote for Nader or Cobb (I still haven’t taken the time to distinguish carefully between the two candidates). However, I can’t help but think that significant, nonzero suffering would be alleviated if I do everything in my power to get Bush out of office.

So what to do? Should I be authentic? Or should I be compassionate? Or is this line even a false one? In the long run, it may actually be more compassionate to vote authentically, at least that’s probably what existential philosophers would say.

Just when I think I have a nice ethos to help figure things out in my life, I am flummoxed by this.

Perhaps the only conclusion is that voting, at least in America, is utterly absurd.

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