This is a very strange election season for me. For the first time, I plan to vote differently than my husband (and practically everyone I know).

It started with the Democratic primary campaigns. I didn't see any candidate I could get excited about, or even reach a mild level of interest in. Then, as Kerry, Edwards, and Dean all jockied for position, I realized that I didn't agree with ANY of the front-runners.

It all comes down to values. Kerry has not demonstrated any serious committment to a future that is viable, and he has allowed the MoveOn.org and MediaFund people to go over-the-top in their attacks on Bush and Cheney. The ad comparing Bush to Hitler was the last straw for me. Though it has since been removed from the MoveOn.org site, the fact that it was considered reasonable clearly shows the distance between them and me.

I was a cradle Democrat. I was raised in a blue-collar union family, and, as a young adult, always voted the straight party. On my first presidential election, I waited up until the wee hours, certain that when all the votes were counted, McGovern would triumph.

I can no longer support a party that will allow its alter egos to engage in such shoddy, dishonorable attacks.

Not voting is also not an option. When I think of the many people 'round the world (particularly women) who would be thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of the process that freely selects their leaders, I know that I MUST use my franchise. It would be a betrayal of the privilege to fail to use it.

I am not saying that Bush is the absolute best candidate that has ever run for the job. He happens to be the best one available at this time, and one who has demonstrated that he can manage a crisis without needing to check with his pollsters or the UN to see if his position is OK with them. He meets enough of my criteria to qualify for my vote.


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