C.J.("Ceej")Silverio recently supplied a link to SpeakOut, a site that covers U.S. politics, especially the 2000 presidential race. There is a survey form there, asking you for your position on various issues (Strongly Support, Support, Neutral, Oppose, Strongly Oppose) and when you complete the survey, it compares your responses to the positions taken by the presidential candidates and lists them for you, ranked by the degree to which they agree or disagree with your positions. They did not restrict this to the two leading candidates, but included all of the more serious "third party" candidates. The political candidate whose opinions were closest to mine was Harry Browne, candidate of the Libertarian Party. (My views were characterized as being "moderately libertarian" so I suppose his views must be "strongly libertarian"?) The listing of candidates not only includes the Liberarian and Green parties, etc. but also includes the two main vice presidential candidates plus major Republican and Democrat candidates who failed to win nomination.
The next closest candidate (after the Libertarian Party) to my responses was Hagelin of the Reform Party (that is, of one half of the Reform Party since Buchanan seems to have split them into two rival factions that are filing lawsuits against each other). After that is Senator McCain (explanation for non-U.S.A. residents -- he was the Bush's key opponent for the Republican nomination; in fact, I voted for him in the Rhode Island primary.) Then comes Senator Lieberman (Al Gore's vice presidential running mate) followed by Bill Bradley (Gore key opponent within Democratic Party)... and they are followed by (continuing in decreasing percent of agreement) by Dick Cheney (Bush's vice presidential running mate) and Alan Keyes (unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination) and then Ralph Nader (Green Party candidate). Only that deep down the list do we come to the actual major party candidates: first, George W. Bush (Republican Party candidate), followed by Pat Buchanan (the unspeakable right-wing candidate from half of the former Reform Party) and Al Gore (Democratic Party). The only candidate below Gore was the candidate of something called the Constitution Party (which I think used to be called the United Taxpayers Party or something like that).
Hmmmm... did I skip anyone? Isn't there a Socialist in there, or is that being covered by Hagelin? Or maybe by Nader?
Adam, my eldest, has attempted to persuade me to vote for Ralph Nader. He has made a reasonable case, even though I personally dislike Nader. I'm not sure. I'm more tempted to vote Libertarian, although I don't know if they are even on the ballot in Rhode Island. (As an indication of the inherent corruption and ingrained self-interest of both Republican and Democratic Parties, an incredible barrier of rules and regulations and red tape makes it extremely difficult for third parties to get listed on the ballot in each state.)
So give SpeakOut a try, see how close the various candidates's positions are to yours. My previous political type rants include March 7th mumbling about primary elections and March 9th listing my impressive array of votes for the losing candidate -- I've only voted for a winning presidential candidate one time (I have a better record for local officials).
Every once in a while I escape from my office and take a walk around through the corporate park where we are located, get away from CRT's and reference manuals and cubicles, enjoy a few minutes of fresh air. Today was exactly the right kind of day for that: mild temperatures, warm but not hot, blue skies with a few white clouds. There are several two story buildings in this area, each surrounded by acres of blacktopped parking lots, each in its own setting, the other buildings and parking lots separated by rows of trees or even overgrown barriers of trees and shrubs, walls of vegetation.
I walked about a mile, circumnavigating our parking lot, about a lap and a half, walking at the outside edges, enjoying the grass and the trees and the bushes -- the greens, the myriad tones of green, leaves bright in the sun, leaves dark in the shade. I went through a period of painting, mostly watercolor, about twenty years ago. How can so much time have passed without my picking up a brush to paint (other than painting walls)... when Nancy and I were first married, we were involved in so many activites. We were working on our Master of Science (in Systems Science) degrees, taking all of our classes together. We went to plays and concerts almost every week. And we took art classes -- sometimes together and sometimes separately. We took a drawing class together. I took a watercolor class and a photography class. She took a stained glass class. I have two simple watercolor still life paintings I did back then, framed and hanging in my den. I discarded my other work (not very good) but I liked those two and I'm still pleased with them. And then we had children. And now the children are not really childen... Jennifer starts college in two more weeks and Sean only has three years of high school left. I've been throwing the term "empty nest" around a lot recently, but it does describe what is happening. Maybe I'll get back to painting? Someday.
One day last week while walking around the parking lot here I saw a wild rabbit, looked just like the neighborhood rabbits I wrote about recently, the group of rabbits that is coexisting with human neighbors around my house. I was surprised to see it, but in looking around here there really is a lot of habitat for them. There is a residential neighborhood uphill behind the corporate park but it is separated by a thick wall of shrubs and vines, could picture Br'er Rabbit living there... So I was looking for rabbits on my walk today and sure enough, there was an inlet of lawn, perhaps a twenty by twenty foot indentation of grass into a wall of trees and bushes, and there sat a rabbit, enjoying the afternoon sun. As I passed about forty feet away from him he hopped into the concealing shadowy darkness beneath the bushes.
Get home from work about 6:30. Nancy and I go for a walk, maybe a mile and a half, just around the neighborhood, then drive to the library and check out some books. Back home, it's about eight o'clock, throw dinner together quickly (steamed veggies -- asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower -- with a little lemon juice... and leftover last night's boneless chicken breast in a mushroom sauce over egg noodles... fresh seedless red grapes for dessert).