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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I'll vote for John Kerry. His election won't reverse our nation's rush to establish a fascist plutocracy, it's too late for that. But it may slow the process enough to let us over the next few decades build a viable alternative to the two nearly interchangeable parties that together in the last few decades have essentially stolen the republic. It's the only way we can avoid the necessity down the road of a Second American Revolution—a thing I'd dearly love to see, but I clearly won't live that long.

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Anyone who reads my work knows that I favor de-escalation rather than inflammation of violence, the discouragement rather than the display of avarice and careful contemplation over rash action. For these reasons and more I am voting for Mr. Kerry and Mr. Edwards.

I am a registered Democrat. I disagree with George W. Bush on gay marriage, stem-cell research, a woman's right to choose, and, to a lesser extent, a host of other issues, but I am supporting him unreservedly for president. We are in a protracted war with Islamofascism and I do not trust John Kerry to lead us in that war for one minute. Also, I think my party has been hijacked by a cult of know-nothing isolationism out of the 1930s. But if they win, I hope the hell I'm wrong.

I'm planning to vote for John Kerry, four times. Once for me, and once each for Jerry Smith, Jerry Smith, and Jerry Smith, three African-Americans in Florida who, unfortunately for them, have the same name as Jerry Smith, an ex-felon, and therefore won't be allowed to vote. So I'm going to level the playing field a bit.

No, just kidding. I am going to vote for John Kerry because I am deeply disappointed in the vision of America being advanced by the Bush administration. Let's think of this in terms of Huck Finn. Huck is generous, concerned about the suffering of others, generally pleased with life, and interested in it. Tom Sawyer, on the other hand, is obsessed with a highly conceptualized view of the world, and imposing this view on others (the Sunday school picnic, Huck, Jim), regardless of how this imposition might actually affect them. Huck is bold, curious, flexible. Tom is, at heart, afraid of the world, suspicious, ego-driven, incurious, and rigid. Our nation is engaged in a struggle to decide if it is going to be the United States of Tom or the United States of Huck. Is John Kerry, then, Huck? No, but he is more Huck-like than our current president, who, in an attempt to answer a complicated question ("What to do about terrorism?") with a simple answer ("Exterminate the brutes, or some of the brutes, or some other guys who basically seem similar to the brutes, or who are, at the very least, pretty brute-like themselves") has led us into one of the bigger and more tragic Sunday school picnics in recent memory.

I'm voting for Kerry. In my opinion, too much about Bush is dead wrong—from the reasons we went to war with Iraq to his take on a woman's right to choose to the No Child Left Behind Act to the disservice he's done to our environment. The way he interweaves church and state frightens me, too—I think the founding fathers of this country went to great lengths to keep that from happening. And I think that globally, people think much worse of our country than they did four years ago. Under his leadership, I think this country has not just fallen into recession ... but regression.

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