I vote for whoever is going to murder the fewest people.
For practical purposes, this means that I'm not a Democrat, but I play one in the voting booth.
Early in my freshman year of college, my roommate read to me an on-line description of a particular geek personality archetype that fit me well, in his opinion. He got up to "political orientation". I interrupted, "Who cares?" He continued reading aloud: "Apathetic."
That about summed it up until he told me about the Clipper chip, which opened my eyes to the crimes the government was trying to commit in the name of crime prevention. Everything I learned scared me more; our congress is phasing out out the Bill of Rights. I did some writing and speaking to make people aware, but I have by since found venues more appropriate for making use of my talents than activism was; there are others who do a much better job anyway. Check out the American Civil Liberties Union1, the Electronic Frontier Foundation2, Wired magazine3, the Electronic Privacy Information Center4, or Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility5, to start with.
Sadly, the aims of the Democratic party have little to do with the ideals of Democratic voters. They're willing to authorize mass murder in exchange for bribes, just like the Republicans. The only difference is that, when it makes no difference in finances or power to them personally, a Democratic politician is less likely to kill and oppress people than a Republican politician is.
If there were somehow a way to make bribery illegal, being a Democrat might even mean something.
Heck, without bribes, Congress might even make mass murder illegal. Wouldn't that be something?
By "mass murder," I don't just mean wars. I also mean pollution-friendly legislation like the Clean Air Act and the crippling of the EPA. I mean "tort reform" that renders huge corporations immune to the consequences of the destruction they cause on any scale. In every case, including war, it's a matter of corporate profit over thousands to millions of human lives. And corporate profit is what drives the legislature.
So what about other political orientations?
Republicanism is a hereditary disease. Despite the openly destructive Republican policies, you vote Republican because your culture and your parents keep telling you that it's right, and you never feel the need to question the illogical propaganda that your hacks feed you to keep you brainwashed. Destruction is what it's all about, for Republicans. Their propaganda has nothing to do with building a good world; it's all about standing firm against things that they've taught you to fear and hate — especially those things that are necessary for building a better world, such as tolerance and social justice.
There's the Right to Life party, a collection of vicious, oppressive, unthinking bigots more bloodthirsty than all the other conservatives put together. Here's a hint, assholes: If you support war, you don't care about life.
The Green party comes close to kicking a fair amount of ass. They need some weight, though, for the asses in question to notice.
The Liberal party: Where are they now? I feel like they filled the niche that the Green party does now, back when I was too ignorant to understand the intricacies of their platform.
Libertarians. They're kind of like smart Republicans: All about working against things, rather than for things. But in this case, it's all about self-righteousness, working against what feels unfair to people with money. And just like Republicans, their position is supported by illogic and a falsified worldview. I can't really blame them: Ayn Rand also had me convinced for about six months, once I read Atlas Shrugged as a teenager. I came to my senses, though, thanks to enough exposure to the real world (something that, sadly, moneyed people are likely to lack). (For example, Rand portrays the government as a tool of the people, oppressing the rich. In the real world, the government is a tool of the ultra-rich, to take money from everybody else and put it in their pockets by any means, no matter who gets hurt. All you have to do is look at where the money goes, and Rand is blown out of the water.)
Proportional assessment of votes for Bush. (i.e., why people voted for him.)
Proportional assessment of votes for Kerry.
1. ACLU website
2. EFF website
3. Wired website
4. EPIC website
5. CPSR website