|Matt Carmody, November 2004|
It's Primary Election Day here in West Virginia. Those of you who live in Indiana and North Carolina get to vote today, as well. It's a hugely important day in NC, as Amendment One goes to the voters. There's no question I would be voting against it, if I lived in the Tarheel State. It's a bad bill, brought to the voters by overzealous (GOP) legislators who think it's just dandy to peek into your bedroom or crash your wedding reception.
They should mind their own business and quit effing around with the state Constitution.
We Mountaineers are 59 percent Democrat and 29 percent Republican, but you wouldn't know it looking at the last three Presidential elections. Only one Democrat Congressman (mine!) remains in the state. Of our two U.S. Senators, one is a solid Democrat with a lot of seniority (he's not up for re-election this cycle) and the other is a freshman moderate Dem (some call him a DINO – Democrat In Name Only) hoping to be elected to his first full term in November. Our governor also is a DINO, and also is fighting for his first full term.
Manchin has some opposition, but she's not a serious threat. She is, in fact, to the right of Manchin on several key issues, and has been endorsed by West Virginians for Life. Until we learned that tidbit, my friends and I considered voting for her as a way to send a message to Manchin. In the end, though, we will hold our noses and put him on the November ballot.
Why do I say Primary Day is the second most important day of the year? Obviously because Election Day is the most important. We get to vote twice a year, and voting – particularly now that the Tea Party has highjacked Congress – is the most effective way to make a statement. Protesting feels good. I know, because I've done it. But if something else happens on the day of your protest, you're not even going to get 10 seconds on the evening news. And no one from your Congressman's office is out there counting heads at your rally.
They do count phone calls. They read letters and e-mails, and they answer them. They listen at town hall meetings and chicken dinners and county fairs. And if you think your vote doesn't count, think again.
If West Virginia's five – FIVE – electoral votes had gone for Gore instead of Bush in 2000, what a different country we'd be living in now. I take this very personally, and feel somewhat responsible.
Because I voted for Bush.
(I'm astonished, still, that local and state Democrats have trusted me with leadership positions at both levels, considering what an irresponsible voter I was then.)
Take time to vote today. Vote for Democrats, whether you like them or not. It's not a popularity contest, as I learned the hard way. It's the future of our country. The GOP is hell-bent on preserving the United States for the wealthy, for corporations, for themselves. They'll defend your rights from conception to birth and after that you just need to pull up your bootstraps and go to work, fercryinoutloud. Oh, and when you're 18 they'll strap a gun on you and send you to war, war, war.
This republic has survived for more than 200 years, but we're nearing the end of our life cycle if we don't turn it around now. If we elect Democrats – even DINOs – we can at least flood their offices with letters and phone calls urging them to represent Democratic values and platforms. If we don't …