January 20th, 2012


If You Don't Like Your Party's Candidates ...

... you have other options.  Melinda Snodgrass discussed this in an essay, "A Sane Man's Dilemma," about how not all Republicans support the agenda of the Republican presidential field.  I have friends like that too.  I also have Democratic friends who are dissatisfied with President Obama. 

Well, fine.  You don't have to vote for someone you totally disagree with!  That's why it's called voting.  First, consider whether the party you currently claim is still representative of your opinions.  That means you go look at their materials and find a platform statement.  The individual candidates often post such a list also, or it can be compiled from things they've said and done.  Make a list of what you consider your top priorities and your stance on each.  Compare those lists.  If they match pretty well, you're fine.  If not, go look at some other parties.  You might find a better match elsewhere.  Changing to a party that represents your beliefs may work better than clinging to one that matches in name only.

Consider these ...
Directory of U.S. Political Parties
List of American Political Parties
List of Political Parties in the United States
U.S. National Political Parties & Organizations

As a quick pick, dissatisfied Republicans might want to check the Constitution Party or the Libertarian Party.  Dissatisfied Democrats might want to check the Green Party or the Peace and Freedom Party.  There are LOTS of other options, though.  You can go as far as you want.  You don't even have to vote for democracy!  Isn't that awesomely ironic?  Yes, it's legal to vote for fascism in America: see the American Nazi Party.  Yes, it's legal to vote for socialism in America: see the Socialist Party USA

Don't vote for someone you really don't support, and don't stay home.  People fought and died for your right to vote; use it.  You may think that voting for a third party is throwing your vote away, but that's not completely true.  It's a statement that you don't like either of the famous parties.  Take a look at their support numbers; America as a whole isn't really thrilled with either.  That means sometimes a third party can swoop in and win an election -- especially on the local or state level.

While we're at it, you might look into voter organizations too.  They can help you find out what political candidates are really up to.  They're also good for pooling votes, fundraising, and meeting like-minded folks.
List of International and National Advocacy Voting Rights Organizations
List of Nonadvocacy Voting Rights Organizations
National Special-Interest Groups

Finally, make sure you are registered to vote if you are eligible.  Do this long before an important election; don't wait until the last minute.  If you're not eligible to vote, you may be able to help in other ways, such as by making donations to a candidate or party, or by volunteering your time.  And anyone can talk about  voting, in person or online: what you think the important issues are, who you think would do a good or bad job, etc.

Poem: "Three Brothers and a Bull"

This poem came out of the January 17, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by prompts from janetmiles and ellenmillion.  It was sponsored by rix_scaedu.  This poem belongs to the series Fiorenza the Wisewoman, which you can explore further through the Serial Poetry page.

The form is a terza rima, a traditional Italian form, which can be somewhat flexible in structure.  Sometimes the interlocking pattern of the last verse loops back to the first verse, as I did here.  Other times the poem ends with a couplet or a single line.

This poem also draws on some common fairy tale motifs:  There are three siblings, two rude and foolish, one more polite and sensible.  There is a wise woman, whose responses are influenced by how people treat her.  And the plot structure actually covers both the common ones -- lack/lack liquidated and lack/lack liquidated/lack -- depending on whose perspective you consider.

Three Brothers and a Bull
-- a terza rima

Three brothers, in a will, were left one bull
To make their fortune and to tend their cows --
But all they did was argue, pitch, and pull.

The eldest called the herbalist, his brows
Both blacked by brother-hands, and said "It's mine!
That bull should haul my wood and draw my plows!"

But Fiorenza shook her head.  "That's fine.
Just let your brothers plow with him as well,
And don't start fights from drinking too much wine!"

The middle brother came, and she could tell
From how he limped the bull had scored a hit.
"I'll grind the beast to burger!" came the yell.

Well, Fiorenza'd had enough of it.
"You're foolish as your brother, then!" she snapped,
And wrapped his thigh although he threw a fit.

The youngest brother came, and gently rapped
On Fiorenza's door.  "Our bull is gone,"
He said, and ducked, afraid of getting slapped.

"You want my help for some pathetic con?"
The youngest brother grimaced then, and said,
"No, please, just spice to lay a false trail on."

So Fiorenza gave him peppers red,
And no one ever found that missing bull,
Which brought peace to the brothers' family spread.


Poem: "Tabagnino and the Beanstalk"

This poem came out of the January 17, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from shadows_gallery and sponsored by rix_scaedu.  I also pulled in ideas from the fairy tale "Jack and the Beanstalk," especially an Italian version, "Tabagnino the Hunchback."

Tabagnino and the Beanstalk
-- a sonnet

The cobbler had a son, a hunchback bent
So that he could not work and was half-lame.
He lived, and Tabagnino was his name,
But his cruel parents charged him board and rent.
A witch gave him some magic beans and sent
Him home to plant them on the family claim.
A beanstalk grew, and down a giant came
To trouble all the village where he went.

So Fiorenza let the giant climb
Back toward his home somewhere up in the sky,
Then poisoned all the vines so that he fell.
To Tabagnino went the treasure prime
That he might live in comfort by and by
And nevermore with his cruel parents dwell.


Making Your Vote Count

westrider tipped me to this very sharp essay about how to make your vote count, even if that means voting for a third party.  Most of the time, it's about denying your support to a party you would ordinarily support, because they undercut your interests and you want that to cost them.  Make sure they know that.  Maybe they'll do what you want next time, if they want your vote. 

But sometimes, just sometimes, support for the two major parties sinks so low that a third-party candidate wins.  Think about it; the jackasses and the white elephants have alienated a LOT of people.  This is more likely in local or state elections.  But we've had some serious scares in the Presidential race, including Rose Perot and Ralph Nader.  The right candidate could DO it.  Keep your eyes peeled, just in case.