Sunday, October 10, 2004

Waving high my partisan banner

I have been a registered Independent all my life (or at least since I was old enough to register to vote.) This is a conscious statement: I am not beholden to any political party. Unfortunately, this also means that I don't get to vote in Primary elections in Pennsylvania (the ones that determine which candidates will get to run for office), because this state is one that restricts these elections to members of each potential candidate's party.

I find discussing politics distasteful, something like discussing religion or sex. In a controlled environment, or in a theoretical sense, or with people whose positions are already well-known, it's fine to discuss any of these topics. But in mixed company such conversations can easily spiral off into heated arguments that deeply offend the sensibilities of some or all involved.

Up until a year ago I had taken a live-and-let-live approach to politics. I had my opinions, other people had theirs, and everybody was entitled to them without having to worry about criticism or coercion. But as I saw that some of my friends held fairly strong political views that were antithetical to mine, I realized that smiling and nodding was no longer an acceptable strategy. I would have to get ready to engage in rhetorical combat, and I would have to get myself armed. And I would have to be willing to put up my dukes when necessary.

A few weeks ago I suggested on a conservative friend's website that the statement "Bush is not a liar" is not a completely accurate one. The counter-example I provided was weak (the old "There are no plans on my desk to invade Iraq" lie, told a few months before the invasion of Iraq), but I was pounced upon by the conservative commentors at the site. One of them questioned if I were "stupid, rabidly partisan, or just kidding" - and then proceeded to provide a practical demonstration of just what "rabidly partisan" means.

I realized then the futility of sparring with Bush partisans. They are, for the most part, beyond reason and immune to persuasion through logical disputation. No number of examples or citations of fact can convince them to change their minds. There is a possibility that by engaging in combat with them I might persuade some of the non-commenting lurkers who frequent my friend's site, but I decided that this would be an improper use of my friend's comments function - if his readers were interested in what I had to say, they could always follow the links from my comments to my site.

I did a bit of reflection. Am I a partisan? According to my Webster's New World Dictionary, a partisan is "a strong supporter of a faction, party, etc.". By that definition I don't think I am. My activism is more in opposition to Bush and his administration than it is support for Kerry. I believe that Kerry is the better candidate by far, but my support for him is not because I am enthralled with him or any particular promise he has made. I want to see Bush, Cheney, Ashcroft, Rumsfeld, and the rest of the gang sent packing. Kerry is the one who can do it.

This is a tight election, both on a national and a state level. Pennsylvania has a lot of electoral votes, and it can easily make the difference between who wins and who loses. In Pennsylvania the vote is also very tight, so it is important to try to do all you can to sway voters toward your candidate. In my case that means Kerry. If I can convince enough people locally to vote for Kerry instead of Bush, I may help tip the balance in this state.

To this end I offer two original creations. These are intended as bumper stickers, and were originally made 8 inches wide by 3 inches high. Permission is hereby granted for free use of these two images. As always, click on the images to get the larger-sized versions.

Trumping the Incumbent Posted by Hello

A call to action Posted by Hello

(These aren't my first pieces of political art - I previously did a modification of the public-domain Rosie the Riveter picture. But these are both original creations, if not original sentiments.)


Anonymous said...

I'm not quite as pessimistic as you about talking to conservatives... but they seem to display a certain level of denial. Their arguments would be strengthened if they could acknowledge that, indeed, every word out of Bush's mouth might not be completely accurate. This strikes me as an unusual time in history and I don't think the Republicans can hold it together much longer even if they win the election. Somethings gotta give.

"Power tends to corrupt; ..."Super G

D.B. Echo said...

One point I forgot to make: I haven't exactly given up on arguing with the disciples of Bush, I've just realized that with only a few weeks left until the election there are far more effective ways I can be investing my energy to influence its outcome.

I think it's telling that no conservative websites I've visited (and that's a very small sample size) have been encouraging voter registration; my website has been encouraging voter registration since August 21. This makes me think that having newly-registered voters enter the picture was something the conservatives didn't feel would help their candidate. So if I've encouraged ONE person to register to vote, and persuaded them to vote for Kerry, I've effectively DOUBLED my voting power!

Now it's too late to register, in Pennsylvania at least. But I can still do all that I can do to encourage people to VOTE FOR KERRY!

Anonymous said...

DBE: Everyone thinks they are reasonable, non-partisan, moderate and fair-minded. Somebody's gotta be wrong.

Could be we see your presence on our site as an opportunity to raise your consciousness and are frustrated by your willful blindness to the glories of reason. Heh.


D.B. Echo said...

The Washington Post today published an article ( ) that suggests that I am actually not in the minority of Kerry supporters: while the most ardent Bush supporters support him with an almost fanatical fervor, most Kerry supporters could more accurately be called ardent Bush opponents.

So, IBB, is that the editorial "we", the collective "we", the imperial "we" or the schizophrenic "we"? (Yes, I'm using the common, incorrect equation of "schizophrenic" with "multiple personalities", but it fits the rhythm better.) Just kidding. I actually used that line earlier today at work in reference to an overseas client's use of the word "we".

Anonymous said...

it was the king's we.

Anonymous said...

and you lost me somewhere. most supporters of the president are pretty tepid, it seems like to me.

but on a side note, i particularly like the use of "ardent" for bothg sides but then dropping in "fanatical" for the side you don't. nice touch.

remember the first victim of propaganda is the propagandist. i'm just saying ...

D.B. Echo said...

Oh, crap, I used "ardent" twice? I really need an editor.

D.B. Echo said...

Wait, the repitition of "ardent" was intentional. Diregard the previous "Oh, crap" comment.