Much like presidential candidate John Kerry, I've flip-flopped my voting habits in the last two presidential elections. To paraphrase Mr. Kerry, "I actually voted for a Republican, before I voted against one." Bob Dole in 1996, Al Gore in 2000 (And by the way who has kidnapped the Gore I voted for and replaced him with the one ranting about the resignation of Don Rumsfeld, as if infected by a dose of Howard Dean venom). I joke, but what follows is a timeline of events in which I became increasingly disenchanted with liberals. And now after having all the liberalism flushed out of my system, I'm refreshed and ready to go to the polls to cast my vote for Bush.
It all started when certain friends of mine made it clear that a vote for Kerry was a vote against Bush and that's how they were aligning themselves. Many of my friends willingly admit that they don't really like Kerry or know what his policies are, all they seem to know is that his name is not Bush. Basically the idea seems to be, "I know nothing about candidate B, but I don't like candidate A. Therefore, I will vote for candidate B." This just didn't make sense.
After I saw Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" and read his book "Dude, Where's My Country," in which he suggests among other off the wall comments that talk-show host Oprah Winfrey should run for president, the wedge between myself and the left was driven deeper. My biggest problems with Moore are not entirely based on political viewpoints, but how he discredits himself by employing a grab bag of slick film editing tricks to assert his version of the truth, whether or not it is really the truth. Not satisfied with letting raw footage speak for itself, his own version of reality emerges from the smoke and mirrors. I agree with Moore on a few points, especially concerning U.S. foreign policy with the Saudis, but for the most part it endlessly reiterates what most Americans already accept, George W. Bush is by no means a great orator and comes across goofy on newsreels. This is not documentary filmmaking, it's agitprop. How ironic it is that the film was touted as this big political weapon to defeat Bush and that one of the reasons I will vote for Bush is because of Moore's off-putting methods. From what I hear he's keeping the big fat profits all for himself. Why not donate some of that loot to charity, or is capitalism not so bad after all, Mr. Moore?
Next on the list of reasons I have parted ways with the left is the contention that John Kerry should be president because of his supposed intellectual superiority to Bush. I've never been one to jump on the "Boycott France" bandwagon, realizing of course that it's the birthplace of photography and home to influential directors of the cinema such as Renior, Truffaut, and Godard, but so what if Kerry grew up over there? Is this what entitles him to that worldly status? I'm not going to vote for the guy just because he comes off as more sophisticated and astute in the areas of philosophy and the fine arts. When it's time to respond to another terrorist attack I don't want the commander in chief quoting a bunch of arcane philosophy or having some Shakespearean internal monologue in the oval office. I want to see action, not a "sensitive war on terror." I want to see that trademark decisiveness that Bush exhibits.
Being that I attended art school I do have a life-long dedication to the arts but it doesn't qualify me or anyone else to run for president. I absolutely love painting, photography, literature, fine foods and philosophical debate but I don't want to depend on the government to regulate these things. It seems perfectly clear that future artistic inspiration will derive from whatever situation the world is in politically or otherwise. You can't pin down the process, the art will evolve as the world does, however events may unfold. To say that we need one individual, namely John Kerry, to nudge the cultural arts along is to negate the untold thousands of artistic thinkers out there and their own ability to be stimulated by the world around them and continue the artistic process.
Next up, Kerry's 19 ghost years in the Senate. It's increasingly clear that Kerry has three Purple Hearts, but what has he done during a career of political service in Washington? Since Kerry has run his campaign and based his qualifications on the four months he spent in Vietnam instead of the 19 years he has been in the U.S. Senate, is it any wonder the controversy over his military service blew up in his face. To get all caught up in the Swift Boat controversy is to miss the point. I'm sure he served his county well as did so many others. But not nearly as many men and women get to be senators and vote on important decisions in Congress.
Finally, all ad campaigns, rallies, and endless commentary aside, the number one reason that I have swerved suddenly to the right and got off that congested liberal highway is because I saw the sign reading, "Personal Freedom, Next Exit." Below that read "Get off here and feel free to help yourself." I have left those waiting for John Kerry to reveal himself safely in the dust.
Zach Porter is a photographer with the News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753 ext. 248 or firstname.lastname@example.org