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Don't Call It Democracy

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We begin this week with Doug MacPherson, who argues that a recent Soapboxer column discouraging third-party votes ["Don't Nader Us," September 28] overlooks the fact that, in his view, we need better candidates: "The year 2000 was also my first opportunity to vote, and I voted for Gore," he writes. "Not that he inspired me; I really wanted to vote for Nader, but it seemed so important to vote against Bush. Then I voted against Bush a second time. Then Obama came and my friends were hopeful. I wasn't hopeful, but I saw an opportunity to break the mold of forty-something straight white male presidents in a row. And it worked.

"But now I'm being asked to vote against someone yet again, and I'm sick of it. Democracy is about voting for a candidate you can trust, the person who most represents your own views; politics is about doing whatever it takes to win. Politics demands we vote for Hillary, not democracy. I truly believe that forcing voters into a pattern of electing the lesser evil will undermine our already imperfect system. Hearing that younger voters want to go third party gives me hope. If Nader had gotten no votes at all, would Bernie have even run? Who else would have been discouraged from trying to beat impossible odds? We need better candidates. We will only get better candidates by showing the dominant parties that we are willing to take our vote elsewhere. I hope Trump loses in November, but let's not call it democracy if we only ever get to vote against something."

Dennis Smith is more succinct—and sarcastic: "Yes, I would be thrilled to vote for a criminal who has sold her country out for cash."

Moving on to last week's cover story, about Wake County's transit referendum ["Busboy," October 5]. Commenter ecodweeb seems to be a reluctant no on the plan. "I really want to support this, but I'm not OK with yet another hike in vehicle registration fees. I already pay $130 more than most everyone else because my car is zero-emission."

Linda Watson says that, while her experience on the bus has been largely positive, more frequent and efficient service is necessary. "I'm in another demographic group the transit planners hope to attract: families trying to get by with one car no matter what their income level," she writes. "My truck was totaled in an accident eighteen months ago. For almost a year, I couldn't drive. The silver lining was lower costs and a smaller carbon footprint, so for now we are sticking with one car. Everyone is just an accident away from having to rely on others for transportation. The 'accident' that is climate change should also encourage folks to have fewer vehicles and drive fewer miles. ...

"On the other hand, the buses come only every half hour, and most of my drives take twenty minutes or less. If the buses came every ten or fifteen minutes, taking them would become the first choice for anyone who wants to avoid traffic and parking hassles. We also need routes that don't rely on the hub system. I shouldn't have to go from west Raleigh to downtown before going to North Hills. It's a ten-minute drive and an hour bus trip each way."

"One can't help but escape the feeling that rightwing-extremist organizations like the John Locke Foundation or Wake County Taxpayers Association (or community activists like Octavia Rainey) may not have the average person's best interests at heart," writes commenter Sogno. "I may not ever ride the bus, but as someone who spends 90–150 minutes of my day staring at the vegetation off of I-40, I am pragmatic enough to know that pulling a few cars off the road is in my interest. I also care to see folks who can't afford a car aren't condemned to a life of isolation. We should be empowering our neighbors, and if it costs a little more, so be it."

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