The State of the Hat: Ken is busy, really really busy, but will be returning soon. I am writing this post as much as anything else to shame him into doing so.
In other news about Popehat contributors who write with any frequency, Ezra has been doing wonderful work holding down the fort during Ken's absence. I haven't been. I've tried a couple of cases, and have started my own "web log", which is a more personal affair and more to the point it's mine. Think of it as a last nod to the "ownership society" in the waning days of the Bush administration. I own it, and the idea had been growing on me for a while. And no, I shall not promote it here. And yes, I shall continue on occasion to write here. And no, to the once prominent member of our commenting and forum community I banned, you're not coming back as long as I have anything to say about it even though I know you've gotten around our filter and are just biding your time.
Now, as to voting. The guide is this: you should vote your conscience if you haven't already done so and if your conscience demands it, but if you're a cynic perhaps you should vote strategically. While I think that McCain and Obama are both admirable men, and like both in the disinterested way we like celebrities we're unlikely ever to know, I voted for alleged Libertarian Bob Barr, a man I despise.
I did that for several reasons, but among them were that both major candidates have already alienated me terminally. McCain, ages ago, on campaign finance "reform", which I consider a blatant First Amendment violation. It wasn't just about money, and even if it is, speech costs money. Do you think this interweb site appeared out of the ether with no money involved? Go back to geocities. I also have serious concerns about McCain extending the surveillance/national security apparatus that's been growing, with nothing but the best intentions behind it, since Jimmy Carter was President, but particularly since the latter Clinton years and most especially under Bush.
Obama has alienated me by his flagrant and unapologetic associations with some of the worst creeps in America today, but more importantly by his proposed economic policies, which if imposed will utterly strip America of the dynamism that has usually characterized its economy, taking us out of a growth-friendly economy (with the attendant ups and downs) into a European model where nothing ever happens (except for the odd bombing), the population ages and shrinks, the culture declines, and people with ideas look to emigrate to, well in the future I suppose it will be Australia.
So I voted for Barr, because I want both major parties to know, as far as my tiny little voice will carry, that I don't like them. If you actually like one flavor of big government or the other, well do as you will. Note that this advice (to throw your vote away) only applies if, like me, you can't stand either major party. But if you can't, and you live in a state like California or Alabama (both certain to go one way), you should certainly consider my "send a message" strategy. If you can't stand to vote for a wich-burning freak like Bob Barr, there's always Nader, or voting for the "wrong" candidate if you won't vote for a third or fourth party. If you live in New York, vote for McCain to send a message to Obama, "Don't get cocky kid."
As for specific state ballots, the Voter's Guide is this: if you live in California, vote against Proposition 8, which seeks to eliminate gay marriage. The California Supreme Court overreached in deciding as they did, but what's done is done, and it's not as though judges in California are bound by actual laws as written anyway. The prejudice that prevents people of one sexual orientation from marrying while another may is stupid and barbaric, and you know that. Unless your religion tells you otherwise, in which case I'll just respond that the God I worship is above worrying about stupid things like who puts which body part into what orifice, as long as it's done within the bounds of holy matrimony.