Earlier this year, I was undecided as to whom I would vote for in the Democratic primaries.  In addition, I questioned whether Ralph Nader would eventually join the race for the White House once again.  In the elections at the turn of the millennium I cast my vote for Mr. Nader as my sign of utter disgust with the democratic system as a whole.  Ideologically I stand with Mr. Nader, even more so today than four years ago.  Where did this leave me in February and March?

My earliest choice was not Howard Dean.  I felt he really hadn’t shown much by way of presidential fortitude.  I never considered Kucinich because I felt he was nowhere near presidential material although he spoke to issues that were closest to my concerns.  I felt that Wesley Clark was the man for the White House.  Amongst many other reasons, he seemed to hold the characteristics this country needed to pull itself out of the holes that the Bush administration had dug itself into.  As time moved on and Clark’s chances faded, I was left to wonder again:  Where is Ralph?

Iowa hit with an extreme blow to most of the American population.  John Kerry took the front seat.  I hadn’t even thought much about Kerry except for the fact that he looked presidential with his Lincoln-like stature and composition.  He didn’t say much to me that really hit any nerves.  He screamed nothing to me and, therefore, I ignored.  By this point, I had wondered if Howard Dean would make the clean sweep, as it seemed he would, with his youth vote backing, his web campaign, and his classy Vermont style.  When Iowa hit him across the brow and when the media took hold and screamed him into infamy, we were left with very few choices.  Kerry seemed to be the best all-around choice, although my contempt for the “goofballs” of the Kucinich campaign seemed to be diminishing.  Here in Portland it is easy to see that vegans and old-school hippies would vote for Kucinich simply based on the fact he appealed to their apparent narrow voting base.  I saw no reason to support Kucinich because I felt there was no steam in the rantings of vegans and the hippies because they did not constitute the issues at large.  I may have been wrong, admittedly, because as the Oregon primary approaches, well past the deciding moments of these campaigns, I am going to cast my vote for Dennis Kucinich.  I know that John Kerry has the helm for the Democratic ship, but I want to show my support for the grass roots campaigning Kucinich has done.  He really kept the Democratic process clean and proactive.  Never did he back down in the face of the primary giants.  Even during the debates, he was being chortled at and disrespected by John Kerry and John Edwards.  This made me angry because what they were doing by belittling Kucinich was making this primary process a mockery and that only the big hitters need be involved.  John Kerry had what seemed as a small and almost dead campaign before Iowa, remember?

When Ralph Nader entered the race I felt relief that someone who so closely mirrored my own positions was again running for office.  Of course amid all the tirades presented by the Democrats, I felt that Ralph should run.  He has made the most sense in the plans he has outlined for this country.  Mr. Nader knows how to rail against big business, which, as well all know, has taken seat in our congressional and presidential offices.  He knows how to turn this economy around.  But, could he win?  No, sadly.

The question at the moment is this: Should Nader be allowed to run?  Should he be allowed ballot access?  Of course he should.  In order for Democracy to run its tried and true course, Ralph Nader should be allowed to run if he can meet the requirements for ballot access.  Period.  I know Democrats out there look at him as the reason why Bush is in office now, which, really, is not the case at all.  Bush is in office because he cheated.  This would have been the case no matter what.  The apparatus for his slide into the seat of power just happened to work so well that it came down to Florida to decide our country’s fate.  And, now, we are left to eat with the dogs.

The election four years ago is history and we cannot keep looking back and yelling at someone because we’re not happy.  Nader stands as a positive change in the Democratic process.  No, let me correct myself.  Ralph Nader stands as a positive torchbearer for what democracy truly is.

So, why am I supporting John Kerry?  This is simple: I am voting for John Kerry because President Bush needs to be removed.  John Kerry, as Howard Zinn has stated recently, may not be the ideal candidate but at least he gives us a ledge to stand on.  What does this mean for all of us whether we are Democrats (as I am registered), independents, or Republicans?  This is only the beginning.  Those of us who are supporting the John Kerry campaign by donating time, money, or baked goods must see this as only the beginning.  When November arrives we will see truly what are job is.  If Kerry takes office, then our job is to work ceaselessly for the completion of his promised ends.  This means that more work will actually be required of us on a grass-roots level to make sure changes are made to restore the Democratic process and to restore the heart of this country: the Constitution.  We must, in understanding this, move to vote Democrats back into congressional and senatorial offices.  This is only the beginning of a long road to rehabilitate the United States of America.

If John Kerry does not succeed in his campaign for the presidency, then the work we have ahead of us is multiplied a hundred-fold.  If we cannot vote Bush out, then he must be forcefully removed within the due process of law.  The mob must not rule.