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Volume 7, Issue 186; 18 Oct 2004; last modified 08 Oct 2010

A brief sojourn into politics.

There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.

John Adams

As a general rule, I avoid essays about politics or religion. If your views are similar to mine, there’s not much to be learned from my ramblings, and if they’re different from mine, experience suggests that I’m unlikely to persuade you to my point of view, assuming for a moment that I have any interest in persuading you, which I usually don’t.

But as the election draws nigh, I wonder if I might persuade someone. Anyone. Russell Beattie asserts that it is my “moral obligation” to try. William Gibson has famously returned to blogging because of it and there’s no shortage of political opinion to read, online or in print.

Massachusetts is an uncontested state (we’re going to go to Kerry), so we’ve been spared the deluge of political advertising that gets aired in contested states. (If you can call the vicious, ugly 30 second spots “advertising”. Shame on both parties for participating in that sort of grotesque muckraking. It’s undignified.)

A few days ago, Tim Bray wrote a nice quiet, reasoned piece about “That American Election”. Go read that.

It’s hard for me to be as nice and reasonable because unlike Tim, I’m a U.S. citizen. I find one possible outcome of this election deeply, personally frightening. And I don’t have a lot of experience in this sort of discourse. I’m just not a very political animal.

As a Liberal and an atheist and an environmentalist and a rational human being, I’ve never felt quite so poorly represented by my government. This administration has, in my humble opinion, been bad for peace, terrifyingly bad for American civil liberties, bad for the overwhelming majority of Americans, bad for education, astonishingly bad for the environment, bad for Social Security, bad for Medicare, catastrophic for the separation of church and state, bad for science, and in fact, bad for just about everything I can think of.

If you are eligible to vote, please vote. Please vote for John Kerry.

If you can’t or won’t vote for Kerry, please vote anyway. Perhaps most of all, I’d like an elected government again. Although, if we elect the current government, I may most of all want to be an expat somewhere. (Ha ha, only serious.)


As an overseas resident since 1978 I just voted for the first time, because I believe as you do, that this government is terrorizing its own citizens and jeopardizing world peace. I am not convinced, however, that Kerry and Edwards will polish the tarnished international reputation of the United States. That requires a healthy portion of humility.

—Posted by Richard R. Liu on 19 Oct 2004 @ 08:16 UTC #