Vote

[Commentary] To my fellow Americans, this is that rare post in which I get political. Skip the rest, but know that there are few things more important to do next Tuesday than to vote. Whether you agree with what I state below or not, a vote is the best method that day by which you will let your voice be heard.

The presidential election is somewhat a choice between religion and socialism, two evils that people like me deplore. One of these, however, is the obvious worst evil. As Dr. Leonard Peikoff, the objectivist founder of the Ayn Rand Institute, suggested in 2006:

Given the choice between a rotten, enfeebled, despairing killer [socialism], and a rotten, ever stronger, and ambitious killer [religion], it is immoral to vote for the latter, and equally immoral to refrain from voting at all because “both are bad.”

Candidates from other parties and independents offer nothing to balance not supporting Barack Obama for president. You find various degrees of spirituality and religion among them, or little understanding of science and technology trends and therefore poor long-term thinking. Obama remains the best of all choices because he is not the religious choice, in spite of his aspirations for spirituality. Separately, he is the symbolic choice, a person of mixed heritage that has made it this far in the race, despite race. Just because of this latter choice there is a sense of hope that we have put not only the worst of racial discrimination behind us but some of the more subtle discrimination as well.

Perhaps most important to me at this stage: choosing Obama means we do not choose Sarah Palin.

The Dogma Momma has utter contempt for science, a characteristic I consider evil. According to Slate, she mocked research using fruit flies, apparently unaware, or not caring, that the fruit fly continues to play a central role in scientific breakthroughs that have and will continue to lead to better understanding of autism, disabilities, and the requirements of those with special needs. This is only the latest demonstration of how ignorant the GOP ticket is of science and technology, building on the ignorance of the current administration. In their soundbites science is viewed only as a playground for scientists who prefer to spend taxpayer money to play with fruit flies and overhead projectors in planetariums than do anything useful. Add to these her creationist aspirations, minimal sexuality tolerances, and statements about global warming, and any person of any moral scientific convictions whatsoever must be taking uncomfortable pause.

While many people fret about the economy, terrorists, and other concerns of the day, the rapid progress in science and technology requires talents no candidate demonstrates well, but some demonstrate worse than others. I will vote for Obama because his socialism-lite is not exactly the socialism we most fear, and it is most certainly not the dogma and religion of Palin, and therefore McCain. If socialism is a paintball about to cause some discomfort to our body, religion is a bullet aimed directly at our heads.

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Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a writer and poet. His first published poem, "Roadside Freak Show," arrives on August 21, 2017 in Impossible Archetype.  His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey. Richard is also the Downlink Lead for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) team at the University of Arizona. He monitors images of the Martian surface taken by the HiRISE camera located on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in orbit around Mars and helps ensure they process successfully and are validated for quick release to the science community and public. Once upon a time, Richard wrote and edited the science and technology news and commentary website Frontier Channel, hosted the RADIO Frontier Channel podcast, and organized transhumanist clubs. Follow Richard on his website (richardleis.com), on Goodreads (richardleis), Twitter (@richardleisjr), and Facebook (richardleisjr).