Dear Karma Cleanser:
My parents have never voted, all my life. Because of the sheer importance of this upcoming election, I have been hellbent on a campaign of my own to get them to vote this year.
Finally, Dad (poor black Ohio father of a lesbian daughter) has decided to vote. For George W. Bush. Argh!
Upon learning this and his reasons why (he feels safer with Bush in office and wants a president that won't "pussyfoot" when it comes to deciding to "push the button" -- gag!) my instinct was to abandon the effort to convince him to vote. If you're not voting for Kerry, don't bother voting!
However, Ohio is one of the states that has a state constitutional amendment on the ballot banning gay marriage, so I want him to vote "no" on that. He's agreed to vote against the amendment.
So now I feel bad that my persuasion is ultimately resulting in a vote for Bush. At the same time I feel victorious that one more Ohio voter will vote against discrimination. Will the karma cancel out?
-- Optimist Child of Diehard Pessimists
Your dilemma cuts to the heart of the political problem: How to weigh a dozen issues at once, many of which obviously clash. It's messy. John Kerry isn't exactly the savior of the gay-rights movement, but at least he objects to his opponent's crusade to inject homophobia into the Constitution. That your dad lives in a so-called "battleground state" (a term designed to make the rest of us feel not only ignored, but decidedly less cool) makes matters more complicated. Regardless, you shouldn't lose sleep over the election. Do your own civic duty and vote for your beliefs. You'll reap karmic rewards for convincing your parents to participate in the political process at all. What they do in the voting booth is their business.
Dear Karma Cleanser:
I'm worried about what's going to happen Nov. 2. I keep having bad dreams that it's going to be like the 2000 election, with lawsuits and no winner decided until weeks later. I did not vote in the last presidential election, though I did feel bad when the state I was living in went to the candidate I probably would not have voted for. Are we doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past?
-- Political Prisoner
Sadly, the Karma Cleanser's crystal ball is still in the shop, awaiting repairs ever since we incorrectly predicted that Colby would win "Survivor 2." We do know this: If you didn't like the way the last contest turned out, your karma is seriously screwed if you choose to snooze this time around.
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