Opinion: Don’t waste your vote

By Chuck Prochaska

Hash Wednesday, Free Tibet and the Progressive Resource/Action Cooperative prove that where there is a cause, there usually are five or 10 people who will scream in your ear about it. Enter third parties. Some people begin with a megaphone on the Quad and advance their issue to such extremes that they create a political party for it. Some succeed in qualifying that party for government funding, thereby wasting your tax dollars advocating the issue. If the issue or position is prominent in our system, chances are it’s already being advocated by Republicans or Democrats – or by special-interest groups. Rather than bringing obscure issues to light, third parties act like electoral black holes – sucking time, money, media coverage and small galaxies into their faux reality of U.S. politics.

For example, the Socialist Worker’s Party Web site encourages us to “break from the parties of the employers for a labor party based on unions that fight in the interest of workers!” Aside from unions being the root of all that is evil in the world (Disclaimer: Unions were important in the days of unregulated U.S. labor, but today, they are unnecessary to the extent that they thrive), doesn’t the Democratic Party already support lavish headquarters-building, picket-making, sign-waving, inflatable-rat-wielding “employer-busters”? Wasn’t there a time when declaring one’s self a socialist had legal repercussions? Where have those days gone?

Advice: Pay your union dues, put your work uniform on and vote Democratic.

According to the Constitution Party’s Web site, it is “the only party which is completely pro-life, anti-homosexual rights, pro-American sovereignty, anti-globalist, anti-free trade, anti-de-industrialization, anti-unchecked immigration, pro-second amendment …” Sounds pretty conservative to me, and to an extent, the Republican Party adopts some of these policies while rejecting those considered impractical and destructive.

Advice: Ditch the Constitution Party, accept globalism and vote Republican.

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In his farewell address, George Washington often is misunderstood as warning us against the two-party system. However, he only warned us against parties in general, mainly because of the problem third parties presented: “From their natural tendency it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose; and there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be by force of public opinion to mitigate and assuage it.” Translation: there could be a party for any issue – which is a dangerous and divisive thought – so the public should consider and debate every issue. Washington would reject third parties and encourage more participation in our mainstream parties.

When I go to the polls on Nov. 2, I’ll be casting my vote for the more general concept of a candidate and his vision for the United States rather than on a specific set of issues. I support President Bush despite being pro-choice. I don’t support Sen. John Kerry because of – well, I guess you could say, he likes both sides of every issue. Enough said.

Don’t waste your vote on an obscure third-party candidate because of one policy. Instead, consider the Democrat or Republican platform. Chances are, you’ll find some things you’ll like.

Chuck Prochaska is a sophomore in LAS. He is a guest columnist. He can be reached at [email protected].