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 Waste Your Vote 

April 20, 2004 
If you don’t like the choice between George W. Bush and John Kerry, there’s always me. Read Joe's columns the day he writes them.Yes, I’m available. I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ve put off active campaigning because I don’t want to peak too early. You can write my name in.

But won’t that be wasting your vote? No, voting for Bush or Kerry is wasting your vote. In fact, voting itself is wasting your vote. If by some miracle your vote made the difference, there would be endless recounts and the real election would be held in the courts. The mess after the 2000 election proved that, for anyone who still thought his vote mattered.

One economist has calculated that you have a better chance of dying on your way to the polls than of deciding the outcome of an election. So your vote won’t make me president.

Why, then, should you vote for me? I don’t even want the job. In fact, that’s my chief qualification.

Nobody could possibly be trusted with the power of the presidency of the United States. Only a megalomaniac would think he deserved such power. This means that we are doomed to be ruled by madmen. So it would be a healthy gesture to cast your ballot for someone who would accept that immense power (if he had any chance of winning) only so that one of the major-party crackpots didn’t get it.

[Breaker quote: On me, if need be]In the purely hypothetical case that I was elected, I would take the radical approach of honoring my oath of office and respecting the limits imposed by the U.S. Constitution. That would mean vetoing just about every bill that came across my desk. Which would in turn mean that I would soon be impeached, convicted, and removed from office.

Meanwhile, I’d try to do a little good during my brief tenure. In order to make sure that no American soldier should ever again die in vain, I would bring all our troops home from every military base in the world. Presidents always say that our fighting men (and women) haven’t died in vain, but that’s always false. More than 600 have already died in vain in Iraq alone. More will die in vain this week.

Bringing our troops home would put an end to anti-American terrorism. Some will deny this, on grounds that “the terrorists hate us for our freedom.” I want to put that proposition to the test by ending American imperialism and increasing American freedom. If terrorist attacks continue when we have chosen freedom over empire, I will have been proved wrong.

I am a Catholic, and I would govern as a Catholic. Most people who say they favor the separation of church and state really want to get rid of the church. My own view is that the best way to separate them is by, as far as possible, getting rid of the state. This doesn’t mean I’d be taking orders from the Vatican; I wouldn’t need specific orders. I know how to apply the principles of my faith on my own. I would, of course, be open to advice from the Pope; I might even ask for it. But I would do this openly, hiding nothing from my fellow Americans.

So there is my tentative agenda: restoring constitutional government, ending the American empire, and governing as a Catholic. My enemies would call it “turning back the clock,” “capitulating to terrorism,” and “taking orders from the Pope.” All I can say is that we’ve been doing it their way for a long time now, and they may take pride in the results if they like. I agree with our first Catholic president: “I say we can do better.”

And we used to do better. Much better. That was before messianic government replaced modest government, at home and abroad. Bush, who calls himself a conservative, speaks obsessively of “changing the world” — spreading democracy all over the place, fighting AIDS in Africa, and assuming other fanciful “obligations.” He’s not even content with doing good on this planet: He also wants to put a man on Mars. We’ve reached the point where we hardly pay attention: Such ballyhoo goes in one ear and out the other.

I told you they’re crazy. Everything they do is, so to speak, in vain.

Joseph Sobran

Copyright © 2004 by the Griffin Internet Syndicate,
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