I want to apologize to my progressive American friends: I didn't get an absentee ballot this year. I haven't voted, and it's too late.
My last US residence was in Massachusetts. According to the rules, that's where I continue to vote. Now, Sweetie lived in Seattle for a few years while she was at grad school. She gets ballots in the mail seemingly on a regular basis. They sure love to vote on stuff in King County! Or maybe in all of Washington. But for me, I have to beg the town I lived in to send an absentee ballot. I don't know why they don't just send me one, but they don't.
And I didn't plan ahead. I didn't get in touch with the town clerk. OK, it's worse. I was complacent. This is Massachusetts we're talking about, the only state in the Union to give its electoral votes to George McGovern in 1972! But that was a long, long time ago. I should not have assumed that Massachusetts voters would automatically reject regressive candidates.
Usually I concern myself only with presidential elections. After all, even though I am a US citizen and have a right to vote, I no longer live in Massachusetts. I am not in touch with the politics there. Certainly I would not have weighed in on the gubernatorial race. There is no Senate race in Massachusetts this year, but if my representative in Congress loses his race by one vote to a guy who supports the Arizona immigration law and would not raise taxes even if the bipartisan deficit commission says it's necessary, then I will be very upset with myself.
It's not that I'm all that crazy about the incumbent. But at least he doesn't support position after position that I oppose.
In the US, I'm a registered independent, but it's no secret that I am both a large-L liberal (in Canada, federally, not provincially) and a small-l liberal. Proudly. Unapologetically. Not in any kind of knee-jerk way. I am a critical thinker, and I'm not "party line" on any issue. But on issue after issue, I simply tend to agree with the progressive position.
Oh yes, I'm disappointed in the Democratic leadership, and Democrats in general. I think President Obama should be governing the way he campaigned. I think the Democrats should be proudly progressive. I'm appalled that they left such a huge strategic gulf for the Tea Party to jump into. I think they should have campaigned for strong liberalism—for fairness, for equality, for opportunity, for progress, for positive change, all of which for me are as American as apple pie. I think they should have taken strong stands, regardless of how much abuse they got from opposing forces. Being wimpy and trying not to offend anyone won't work.
I don't know if that will ever happen in the US again. Political discourse is poisoned. When this person gets "the facts" from Glenn Beck, and that other person is "drinking the Kool-Aid," then how can we even discuss issues? But I do know better than to cut off my nose to spite my face. I promise not to mess up on getting an absentee ballot again.