Election Day

Every 4 years we cast a ballot for electors for the President of the United States.  4 years ago, the candidate (technically the electors) for whom I voted were not elected, but I was proud of my country for demonstrating how far we had come as a nation.  I will not be voting for our President this year either, but it doesn’t change the fact our incumbent President is a person of color and that is what makes this country great.

That said, here is my ballot:

Electors for President of the United States: Gary Johnson / Jim Gray – Libertarian 

I believe the two party system in the United States is a corruption of what the United States should be.  We have two institutional parties manipulating politics toward their own ends – voting on issues and not solutions.  We allow politicians to give us a false choice of one or the other.

“Don’t waste your vote” is a fallacy.  The utter arrogance to hear Al Gore complain that Ralph Nader cost him the Presidency or George HW Bush complain Ross Perot cost him reelection – it presumes that the Presidency belongs to one of two parties, that people casting a ballot for someone more aligned with their beliefs somehow bastardizes the result.

I am voting for Gary Johnson because his articulated positions are more inline with my beliefs than those of any other candidate.  He’s a legitimate candidate, having been the 2-term governor of New Mexico as well as having built his own company.   He stands for the reduction of government power and control.  He stands for the freedom of making your own choices and taking your own consequences.   GaryJohnson2012.com

Massachusetts Senator: Scott Brown – Republican

Senator Brown has had 2 years to put a stamp on the Senate.  It’s been an unremarkable 2 years (particularly given that at least the last 1 year has been spent campaigning), but I like what I have seen from him.  I believe he is a genuine person who wants to do a good job for the people of Massachusetts.  I want to know what he would do with a full term.  I found the whole Elizabeth Warren ancestry issue to be a red herring, and more than slightly offensive – that died the death it deserved to die.  That said, I find the Warren campaign’s distortion of Brown’s record to be equally as offensive.

All in all, I’m going to vote for a candidate who has expressed and demonstrated a willingness to work across the aisle over a candidate running on keeping the other party at bay (as noted above, I believe 2-party politics to be a corruption of what politicians are elected to do) every time.  ScottBrown.com

Referendum Questions:

Massachusetts “Right to Repair” Initiative, Question 1 –  Yes.  This is the intersection between the auto makers’ intellectual property and my access to data I create.  I willingly choose to give away data to such sources as Facebook and Google because they provide a service for which I do not pay; I have bought my car, as part of that cost I expect I am buying the access to the data created by that car.  The legislature passed a compromise bill in July – to my mind, that bill is not comprehensive enough.  I will vote “YES” on this bill.

Massachusetts “Death with Dignity” Initiative, Question 2 – Yes. We should have the right to control our end of life decisions.  Beyond the sound bites, one truth remains: the individual should control his/her destiny on his/her own volition when faced with an incurable disease.  There is no mandate on a doctor – an individual doctor does not have to write a prescription and can choose not to treat a patient in this way. Death is a uniquely personal experience and an individual deserves the authority to make his/her own choices around it.

Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Initiative, Question 3 – Yes.  I don’t believe marijuana should be criminalized to begin with, however in this case if there’s a positive use for it there’s no reason a doctor should not be allowed to prescribe it.   The Massachusetts Chiefs of Police are against the question, largely because of their concerns about distribution, or in other words control – which I believe is part of the problem.  Attorney General Coakley is concerned passage would lead to a “headache” ensuring it’s not “abused,” a concern that would be eliminated if the sale of marijuana were controlled as is the sale of tobacco or alcohol.

The rest of my ballot resembles a Soviet ballot – for all of the other positions, save one, there is but one person running for office.

The one that has more than one candidate (on my ballot) is for Representative in General Court (or Representative to the State legislature); this office has 3 candidates running: a Democrat (incumbent), a Republican, and an Independent.  I’m planning to vote for the Independent, because he’s a little wacky – a little far out – but because he seems genuine and a true counter balance to the overwhelmingly Democratic legislature in Boston.  He has been an elected member of my hometown’s light board for 15 years and a volunteer for NEADS Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans and Canines for Combat Veterans for 30.  He’s a small business owner, and has some solid ideas for growing small business – the economic generator this country needs.  And he thinks this experience is qualification for government.  In the ideal world, and in the vision of those who created our system – it is qualification for government.  And he’s got a great name…even if his website is broken.  He says some things I don’t agree with, but he says a lot that I do – and he’s not aligned with either of the major parties.  I’m of a mind to give this man a shot. “Winn Handy.”  I like it.

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The Here and Now

My dog has cancer.  Stage 4 Lymphoma.  A month ago, he started having diarrhea and vomiting.  We went through all kinds of tests until this past week when we had some really invasive tests.

The thought that he could have cancer had crossed my mind in passing once or twice, but I brushed it aside.  I keep telling myself we have made the right decisions based on the information we have had.  It still doesn’t feel good.  How could I not see that my beautiful little dog was slowing down?

I’m watching him now – so lethargic, not eating.  It hurts so much to see him like this.

When we’ve been away and come home, he comes running down the stairs – you can hear his nails clicking on the stairs, *click, click, click*, as he comes rocketing down to greet us at the door – and when he arrives, he’s so happy to see us his rear end flops around the way a bigger dog’s tail might.

I’m looking at him – that beautiful dog, that guy that makes me smile to just say his name – and I just want to burst into tears.

I know I expected far more time with him.  He’s only  halfway through his life expectancy and we thought he would see our family grow up just a little more.  A week ago, we had no reason to believe he wouldn’t.  Today, we’re wondering if he’ll be with us for Thanksgiving.  He’s never done anything but bring us sunshine, and love, but I look at him and my heart breaks just a little more.

I’m so sad, so heartbroken.

I remember the day we brought him home – he was maybe 2 months old, maybe 3-and-a-half pounds; smaller than my slipper.  He picked us out, and he had a (comparatively) big lump of poop on his head.  He wanted to be with us and he’s never known another family, never lived anywhere but in our home.  The day we brought him home, we promised him we would take care of him his whole life – this would be his forever home and that he would never live anywhere else.  I guess we just thought we were making a longer commitment.

On Thursday night we got the news – we could have left him at the hospital to start treatment on Friday or take him home.  We decided to take him home to consider our options – we were assured that if we started treatment on Monday vs. Friday it would be fine.  We decided upon a course of treatment, but couldn’t begin on Friday – we had to wait until Monday.  We’re now questioning why we didn’t start on Friday as he seems so much more lethargic today.  We just have to remember we’re making the best decisions with the information we have at the time we make them.

In the meantime, we’re just trying to make him as comfortable as possible and spend as much time as possible with him – taking the time to love him.  We’re happy when he gives us the smallest sign – he’s failed to eat his all time favorites like peanut butter and cheese.   We’re feeding him bites of leftover chicken every 10-15 minutes – anything to get low-carb calories into him.

I want so much to see him happy and healthy again.  When we take him in the car, we let him out of the house – from which he bolts, and runs around the block of houses, a smile you can almost see on his face.  I know he’s never going to be “healthy” again, but I’m hoping we will see him happy.  I love this dog so much – he’s the sweetest, most gentle animal – and I’m incredibly sad, but the worst part is that I know I’m being incredibly selfish.  He has no expectation, he just has the here and now.  Here’s to the here and now, Pokey.