I've no quarrel with folk who pass out buttons and signs and t-shirts and register others to vote. I've no quarrel with their position or their ideology or their various states of education. I welcome debate or at least decent conversation, and I firmly believe that if your ideas cannot survive the crucible of being challenged by others then they're not worth hangin' on to.
I also think that cultural festivals are poor platforms for any political speechifying, and thus it was that I buried my head in shame during the Pittsburgh Irish Festival this past weekend. One of the sons of Bobby Kennedy was present, along with a trivial pair of Dem politicos from the area, and I don't know who was responsible for this decision but they chose to believe and act as though all good Irish people are Democrats. One two three they stood on stage and told a crowd waiting for music "And I know that all of you are going to go out on November 2nd and vote for JOHN KERRY!"
One two three they were booed into oblivion, and rightly so by my count. I will vote Democratic on Nov. 2, but for fuck's sake, I came to the Irish Festival to drink beer and buy crafts and hear good live Irish music (that evening's closing act was Gaelic Storm, who did much to erase the bad vibes that lingered). If someone had been yelling at me to vote for Bush on that stage, I might have thrown something, and I think it's admirable that no one did. But I will vote with a stain on my conscience for reasons that should have been apparent already, and were brought back to the forefront: I did not wish to be voting for John Kerry, and I think that an awful lot of Dems are beginning to feel the same way. (I have no idea what this whole "electable" bullshit is about - to me someone like Gen. Wes Clark is far more electable, and as a true political outsider would not have brought the baggage of a voting record. Also, he has a history of standing up for himself at all times, something Kerry seems to feel should be reserved for October.)
Goddammit! At this point Kerry couldn't beat a retarded squirrel with one testicle and a lopsided gait, even though this same squirrel could beat Bush. Mike Moore, bless him, still sounds an optimistic note, and I think that in the end the enormous blocks of people who haven't voted in the past will vote for Kerry, if only because there is too much to lose. But I can still be disapointed that this was not the campaign, the election, or even the choice that we were promised. The American body politik is an abused and discarded corpse, rotting slowly, surely, and irreversibly unless and until Someone with real conviction gives the rest of us something to vote for instead of just another Boogeyman to vote against.