07 February 2008

Vote, then vote again!

No, I'm not advocating that anyone double-dip our electoral system; I just have two topics I want to address in today's post that both happen to be related to voting. First, I want to draw everyone's attention to The Oregon Trail's newest features: the snazzy photo of Heceta Head at the top of the page that replaces the lackluster witticisms I'd previously posted there, a whole bunch of new links to sites that I think are worthwhile, and most importantly the new poll. Blogger introduced a new feature that lets you post questions that your visitors can answer, and I thought that sounded like a good time. So, each month you'll get a brand new, off-the-cuff question from the random-most reaches of my brain. This month's question, as you can see, is about which southern continent you'd most like to visit. With only six votes in, it's quite a tight race, so please do chime in on this frivolous and entirely meaningless debate!
My second topic today is addressed to my audience in Washington (though the rest of you are welcome to read it as well, I suppose). What with Super Tuesday turning out to be entirely indecisive on the Democratic side (though the Republican race seems to be over; congratulations to John McCain, the first GOP candidate in years that I genuinely respect), the Great State of Washington is all of a sudden hugely important on the national scene. The state's caucuses are on Saturday, and I urge - even beg - everyone who's able to go to do so. I urge this regardless of which candidate you support, because as I've previously remarked, caucuses are democracy as democracy should be. That said, I am partisan, and at the risk of proselytizing, I encourage everyone out there to consider Barack Obama. I've already stated why I think he's the best choice out there, and I won't be repeat myself except to say that he's the only candidate we have that truly understands how our system of government is supposed to work and who has any shot at turning the tide away from political dogmatism and special interests. On a more practical level, McCain's apparent victory on the Republican side means that the GOP will be fielding a candidate with significant appeal to independents. Of the two Democratic candidates, only Obama has shown that he has strong support outside of the traditional Democratic base, and as such has a much better shot in the general election. For those of you that are going to the caucuses this weekend, regardless of who you support, it's always good to go in with more than empty rhetoric to back up your candidate; to that end - and, again, because I'm biased - here's a link to Obama's stances on major issues. Of course, if you're a supporter of Clinton, McCain, or any of the other candidates, they all have similar sites that you can look up. Just remember: this is a big deal. It's the first time in a while that Northwest voters will play a major role in determining the course of national politics, and we (by 'we,' of course, I mean 'you;' Oregon doesn't get to vote until May) should make sure we take the responsibility seriously by using the caucuses as a forum for informed debate and rational decision-making. That said, enjoy them as well; the 2004 caucuses were lots of fun because I got to argue politics with complete strangers. As I recall I even changed a few peoples' minds and that, of course, is one of the greatest feelings in the world...

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