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Why I Voted For Obama, and Think It's Better If He Wins

Oct 31, 2012   [permalink]

As many of you know, I founded the world's first Internet Service Provider, back in the day when ordinary people couldn't get on the Internet; and that I founded Critters as the first writers' workshop on the web, as a free service for the common good. (Yes, this is relevant to the election, and what kind of society we want to have... It relates to issues of balance, competition, the economy, science, religion, and social issues.)

I started Nyx because I thought the Internet was such a transformative thing it was extremely important that everyone be able to access it (and, equally important, not be gouged, pricewise). When I launched Critters, again it was because there wasn't any such thing as writers workshop on the web, and I thought it could be really helpful to people if such a thing existed (and didn't charge an arm and a leg). I should clarify that I do fully embrace capitalism, and think it has a vital role in society. (I founded ReAnimus Press to help authors, and me, earn money selling ebooks, for example.) But it's the interplay among all the parts that's more important.

I should also note I'm not a member of either party, and have voted for both R's and D's in my time, so I measure my vote against the needs of the day and the direction things are going.

This election is, as many of them are, a question about What Kind Of Society Do We Want To Have?

There are many components:

Security of basic needs:

I tend to think Maslow was onto something with his Hierarchy of Needs, with basic security needs at the bottom, like food and shelter, and loftier spiritual needs at the top, like "self actualization."

I think it's important -- to the spirit of "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness" -- that we provide a society wherein we try to ensure nobody will be so beat down by events that they have to worry about not meeting their basic needs for food, shelter, etc. If they have a safety net for those most basic of human needs, then they are better poised to aspire higher on the Maslow hierarchy. Indeed, I feel only then can people be truly free in life, have true liberty, and be able to pursue happiness.

Nyx, by way of example, was a means to provide a free stepping stone to everyone to get the benefits of the Internet. While I'm no longer associated with it, it's still out there, still being used, still free of cost. (Donation funded.) There are many fancier ways to access the Internet, but the concept of base-level access remains an important one.

The current Republican platform is, at it's core, about letting people sink or swim on their own. The Democratic platform, at the core, today, is about people working together (e.g. via the government, the ultimate aggregation of "we, the people") to build a base upon which people can be secure to reach higher. I don't advocate giving everyone everything for free, as that simply can't work; but the current Republican style polices advocate for diminishing the safety net at a time when we need it to be a bit stronger.

It's a question of...

Balance:

The human race and our civilization progresses when we have a balance between doing Big Things collectively that we couldn't accomplish alone (like the space program) and also when there's healthy competition of ideas, businesses, and aspirations. Right now that balance is out of whack, and I believe tilting Republican will make it more unbalanced; tilting Democrat will make it more balanced.

That may change in the future, but today I think we need to tilt the Democrat way to improve society as a whole.

Competition and business climate:

I love competition. In fact, I think one of the roles of government is to ensure competition is working when faced with impediments (such as monopolies -- which is the natural aspiration of businesses, to be the last man standing, and then be able to charge whatever one wants). I believe we have currently tilted too far that way -- such as with banking deregulation, that let banks cease to be about lending money, and become all about making risky investments. That's proven to be destabilizing, and I feel the Democrat approach to solving that is far more likely to work than the Republican "let them do whatever they want" (which is what failed in the first place).

The Economy:

I've studied it a fair bit, and while it's way beyond the scope and my blogging time right now, my analysis is that the Democrat-type policies -- at the moment -- are the better ones to heal the economy; and that the Republican-espoused policies could lead to a severe economic depression, if they really mean what they say. (And if they don't, they shouldn't be saying it.) Based on several independent studies, the economy has done better under Democrat policies. Going into that in depth is for another day, but I'm convinced the Democrats are the right choice for the economy right now.

Science:

The current Republican stance toward science is much as David Brin calls it, "A War on Science." Our civilization is as advanced as it is today because of science, and the Republican hatred of Science is repugnant to me. As someone who favors science and scientific advancement, I have to side with the Democrats today.

Religion:

I side with the founding fathers that separation of church and state is of the utmost importance to our society. The Republican stance is to weaken or remove that wall, and I can't go along with that.

Social issues:

There are many here, and, again, more than I have space to go into. On the whole, I find many of the current Republican views to be generally more harmful to the progress of our society.

Summary:

Obama has been, in many ways, almost an old-style moderate Republican; and, given all the various other aspects, I can't, today, find even one major area where I think the Republican position is currently the better one.

The Democrat platform is far from perfect, and Obama far from perfect, but given the stark differences there is no question whatsoever that Obama is the better candidate for me to vote for.

Thanks for listening to me ramble -- and regardless of your views, be sure to vote!!!

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