Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin

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Election Nonsense

If you are eligible to vote in the U.S. election and you have not yet registered, please do so immediately. In many states, the deadline to register is in barely over a week. You can register online here. It should only take 30 seconds of your time. (Plus, for the price of nothing at all, you and eve_l_incarnata both get a chance to win $100,000. Hey, she gave me the link, so I might as well pass on her referrer code.)

If you were previously registered to vote in a different state than you're currently registered in, please make sure you canceled your voter registration in the previous state. It is illegal to be registered to vote in multiple states simultaneously and could cause your right to vote to be challenged.see the comments on this entry.

Also, please bother to actually vote on election day. Yes, I understand perfectly if you hate both presidential candidates, but I do not accept that as a reason to not vote. There are other items on the ballot than just the presidential race. There are also other candidates you can vote for than the two main ones, and if every eligible voter who doesn't bother to vote showed up at the polls and voted for third-party candidates, the two major parties would be forced to take the third parties a whole lot more seriously. Plus, think of how hard people have fought to earn women and African-Americans the right to vote, and think of how many people at this moment in the 21st century have had their right to vote taken away due to felony conviction and the bright idea of Republicans to use their massively racially discriminatory law enforcement system as an excuse to also withhold the voting rights of huge percentages of poor and/or nonwhite people. If you have similar views to what those groups are likely to have, then by voting yourself, you can do a small part to help get their voices heard.

Speaking of people who's voting rights are being withheld, reported yesterday that soldiers in Iraq are now going to find it harder to register to vote than before:
In voting news, the Pentagon has restricted access to the website overseas voters, both military and civilian, can use for registering to vote, citing attempts to hack it. The story was first reported by the International Herald Tribune. Is the Pentagon, with its billions of dollars, incapable of building a simple website that is difficult to break into? And is the answer to attempted break-ins to disenfranchise overseas voters, including the servicemen and women who are defending this country with their lives? Is this how we support the troops? By taking away their right to vote?

Microsoft and other companies are attacked all the time, and their reaction is to put up strong defenses. Surely the Pentagon is capable of doing what the computer industry does every day?

I recently talked to a knowledgeable source who has been in Iraq for a long time and his impression is that the reservists and national guardsmen there are quite unhappy, especially about having their tours of duty extended. It is not unthinkable this unhappiness might be expressed if they were allowed to vote.
Overseas voters can in fact still print voter registration forms from other Internet websites such as and mail them in; they just can't register to vote online without needing snail mail service anymore. And since the deadlines are approaching fast, they need to really hurry up about it.

Anyway. I would also like to use this entry to complain about the choices we have available. Not just the two biggest political parties, either. Take a look at the following graphic, which shows all of the people running for president of the United States who will actually be listed on the ballot of any state.

Who can tell me what demographic group is conspicuously missing?

And did you notice it before I asked?

There are 17 people running for president of the United States who will actually be listed on anyone's ballot. All seventeen of them possess penises. There is not any person anywhere in the United States who will have the option on November 2, 2004, to vote for a woman for president as a non-write-in candidate.

If a space alien who knew nothing else about planet Earth were to intercept information about the U.S. presidential candidates, the alien would never know that women even even existed at all unless they intercepted something else that informed them. At that point, I suppose the alien would conclude that women probably represent less than 6% of the U.S. population, since if women were any more common than that you'd certainly expect that a few of them would be running for president.

For the record, female presidential candidates certainly have been listed on the ballot in past U.S. elections. The first presidential candidate I ever voted for was a woman: Marsha Feinland of the Peace & Freedom Party in 1996. And it isn't as though I object to the Peace & Freedom Party nominating Leonard Peltier this year instead of a woman. I like Leonard Peltier. I support his candidacy. I want him on the ballot. But there were 16 political parties plus one independent campaign who could have put women presidential candidates on the ballot this year, and I object to the fact that none of them did.

It might even bother me less if the majority of these parties were right-wing lunatic parties. I'm pretty used to the fact that right-wing lunatic parties don't like women to be president. But the majority of these parties are actually left-wing parties. In fact, you can recognize almost perfectly which parties are left-wing by checking which parties have women as vice-presidential candidates. The only fairly clear exceptions are that Ralph Nader, Bill Van Auken, and (sort of?) John Kerry are left-wing presidential candidates with male vice presidential candidates. Additional "possible" exceptions are Stanford "Andy" Andress, who is running an independent campaign in Colorado with his wife as his vice presidential candidate and has apparently said nothing whatsoever about what his political beliefs are other than that he supposedly stands for "honesty" (but he must not stand for "forthrightness" or he'd be a lot more specific than that), and Charles Jay of the Personal Choice Party has a woman vice presidential candidate and their party is a libertarian party that supports same-sex marriage but opposes affirmative action, so depending on how you personally feel about such things, you may or may not consider them to be "left wing" on feminist issues. (They do seem to be less right-wing than the capital-letters Libertarian Party, anyway.)

But there are lots of left-wing parties here:
  • Socialist Party USA? They nominated a presidential candidate who's not only male, but is personally opposed to abortion rights, though like Kerry he says he would support the laws for them anyway. Naturally they had to nominate a female vice presidential candidate to keep from totally alienating female party members.

  • Socialist Workers Party? They certainly can't be said to care about actually winning - they nominated a ticket that's completely ineligible to hold office, because their male presidential nominee was not born in the U.S. and their female vice presidential nominee is under 35 and therefore below the minimum age requirement. As a result, they had to nominate a backup ticket in order to be listed on the ballot in the states that refused to list the names of people who aren't actually eligible to hold the offices they're running for. So they nominated another male presidential candidate with another female vice-presidential running mate. Incidentally, this party makes a practice of regularly nominating candidates who are ineligible to hold the offices for which they are running, because they say it helps reach out to disenfranchised demographic groups and bring them to the polls so they'll vote on other issues too. Apparently they've failed to notice how disenfranchised women are.

  • Green Party? Male presidential candidate, female vice presidential candidate.

  • Workers World Party? Male presidential candidate, female vice presidential candidate. (Though at least this party is the only one that nominated a black man as a non-substitute presidential candidate this year - James Harris is the Socialist Workers Party's backup presidential candidate running only in the states where the first-choice candidate was ineligible to get on the ballot.)

  • Christian Freedom Party? Yeah, I know you probably wouldn't think it from their name, but this party claims to be a far-left party that's fed up with how conservative the Democrats are. Apparently it's just the one left-wing concept of "separation of church and state" that they have a bit of trouble quite grasping. Anyway: male presidential candidate, female vice presidential candidate.

  • Socialist Equality Party? Male presidential and vice presidential candidates.
I guess we can say with great certainty the precise location of the glass ceiling in American politics. It's right between the vice presidential and presidential candidate levels - for third parties, that is. For the two major parties it's rather lower, and in California we haven't even had a woman governor yet.

Okay, enough about that. Now about this test. Here are my results.

Now, I have some questions.

1. Come on now, is Hillary Clinton really that close to my politics?

2. How can it be that Hillary Clinton, a senator, is deemed important enough to be included in the illustration, while her husband, a former president, is not? And don't tell me it's because he's no longer president - Ronald Reagan is no longer president either, but they included him. And not Nancy Reagan. I think the reason they included her is that if they omitted her it would have been all the more obvious that politics does not contain any women.

3. Politics does contain nonwhite people, but only if they are either from other countries or, in the case of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., being included specifically just to hide the fact that American politics does not contain any nonwhite people. And speaking of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: look, I know he had to be careful not to come across as a Commie, but to go so far in the non-Commie direction as to be an economic centrist really makes you kind of pointless as a civil rights leader for a group of people who are, after all, disenfranchised because the profits reaped from their ancestors' lifelong hard labor was inherited not by them but by the white descendants (such as me) of the people who "owned" their ancestors. I didn't think he went that far to the center. Did he?

4. How funny is it that George W. Bush is in a more conservative quadrant overall than Osama bin Laden?

5. [added to the list at a little prompting from leex] Shouldn't anarchism extend down and border with socialism somewhere? And did the Unabomber even call himself an anarchist?
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