I wanted to write a longish essay on my thoughts about the presidential election this year, along with justification for my vote. As it turns out, there is a subject with much more personal weight that I have to expound on this weekend, so I’ll settle for condensing my political views into something much smaller.

I am a registered Republican, but this year I will be voting for John Kerry. Iraq is NOT the primary reason. I believe that the invasion of Iraq was appropriate with or without their posession of WMDs. I am angry at Bush for giving false reasons for military action, although I’m unsure whether the intelligence was bad or their interpretation was overzealous. But the bottom line is that Saddam Hussein repeatedly tried to work his way around rules placed against him, and the legitimacy of an international governing body was in question after repeated threats and repeated failures to act. Yes, there are other countries with terrible dictators, and yes, we had — and continue to have — very serious terrorist threats from sources other than (but still including) Iraq. But the people of Iraq deserve to be free like all other people, and I think we did the right thing. At this point, we should be concerned with finishing our job and leaving Iraq to govern themselves. I believe either president will do the responsible thing, but perhaps Kerry will do a better job of doing it without overly irking our global neighbors. On foreign affairs in general, I’m fairly certain that Bush has polarized the world with his trademark unwavering and idealistic approach to most problems. I think, at the very least, that Kerry represents a “fresh start” and that other countries will be willing to work with new leadership to forge and re-forge the relationships we all need.

I am mostly voting on the basis of a few social and domestic issues that I just can’t follow as part of the Republican platform. First, I can’t understand the opposition to gay marriage. Bush claims that he just wants judges to uphold the law, and he’s right — judges are not supposed to rewrite the books. At the same time, it would just be a deplorable shame for the United States to pass an amendment that restricted marriage to heterosexual couples. We have no need or use for this kind of overzealous, hyper-religious bigotry in our Constitution. Furthermore, Bush is taking a very weak position to hide his opposition to stem cell research. I understand that this is consistent with his views against abortion, but the almost limitless vision that the scientific community sees in stem cells is going to remain a very dim picture until more stem cells are available for culture. This is a case of personal moral or relgious views getting into government, and again, we absolutely can’t have this kind of stifling environment to progress look what i found.

I could go on and on. I want to see liability limits placed on malpractice claims, more work done to ensure that America can afford health care, protection of our right to buy and own firearms, abortions that are not used as another form of birth control, and so on. Neither one candidate fits my views perfectly; however, it would be a crime to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. (Bill Clinton wrote something to this effect in his autobiography.) I have my doubts about Kerry’s ability to lead the nation in all respects, but I think he has more going for him than Bush as far as my interests are concerned. Either way, I’m counting on the balancing power of Congress and the Supreme Court to ensure that things don’t go wildly out of control in either direction. Perhaps, in another four years, we’ll have a candidate whom I would truly want to be our President. Until then, I believe Kerry is our best choice. I know that Virginia is typically a strongly Republican state, but this only makes my vote all the more important.

So what’s this other topic that is so important? Well, I’ll get to it. More later.

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