Who are novelists voting for?

All about fiction.
Oct. 11 2004 6:51 PM

Roll Call

Who are novelists voting for?

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Why? If we ask ourselves the trillion-dollar deficit question, are we better off than we were four years ago, the choice seems to me very clear. The war in Iraq, and earlier in Afghanistan, has united more terrorist factions than ever before, so we are not safer than we were before Sept. 11. We have bankrupted our children's future, neglected the environment. Our educational system has left more children behind than we can count. Our civil liberties are being eroded. We can't keep going like this for another four years. We need a new start, new leadership.

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John Kerry. Why? Because in every regard vis-à-vis the policies of this country I support John Kerry instead of George Bush. I would be voting for Kerry as a protest vote against the Iraq war alone, but even without that horrid mess, Bush and his handlers are heading us in the wrong directions in energy policy, the environment, civil liberties, tax issues, health care, education, judicial appointments—the list is endless. Cheney is also right when he said at the Republican Convention that this is a historic moment—I've never felt so keenly motivated as I am now, to help make sure the country doesn't re-endow what could prove to be a truly disastrous Bush legacy.

I am voting for John Kerry. Would George Bush steal the election if he thought he could get away with it? The evidence is that he has (disenfranchising black voters in Florida in 2000) and wants to again (attempting the same trick already this year). That such a man, an amoral prevaricator and ruthless opportunist, actually has supporters in his bid to wreck American democracy appalls me. I think that the coming election will result in a constitutional crisis of unprecedented danger. I consider a vote for Bush a vote for tyranny.

Are there really any novelists voting for Bush? I am tempted, since my vote is almost always bad luck, its recipients almost always losing.

Mark me on the Bush side of the ledger, a lonely side for this survey, I'm certain. Most novelists live in their imagination, which is a fine place to be until the bad guys come knock knock knocking. I don't agree with Bush on shoveling free meds to granny and grandpa, or his antipathy to fuel conservation along with opening up the arctic reserve, but this is small stuff. I'll be voting for Bush because his approach to stopping the people who want to kill my children is the right one, i.e., kill them first. Kerry will dance the Albright two-step with Kim Jong-il, consult with Sandy Berger's socks, and kowtow to the U.N. apparatchiks who have done such a fine job of protecting the Cambodians, Rwandans, and the Sudanese. No thanks. No contest.

I'm voting for John Kerry. Not just because the Bush administration has plunged us into an opportunistic war that has needlessly killed thousands, wrecked the economy, widened the chasm between rich and poor, savaged the environment, tried to mess with our Constitution, swatted away the international community, and caused me to wonder whether I really am an American, if being American means having to embrace a man like George W. Bush as my proxy, the avatar of my wishes and beliefs in the wider world—not, finally, for any of those reasons, but because I believe that John Kerry might be a great president. I hope to God he wins.

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