Irregular Times' advice experts are the Unitarian-cum-Buddhist Franklin and Selma Wheeler of Tacoma, Washington, where they spend most of their time meditating on different local mountaintops, coming down only to write this column and feed their cats. Franklin has worked as a reverend in the Unitarian church. In winter, when mountain conditions are most hazardous, Selma teaches industrial arts at the local community college. They have been married for a mostly happy thirty-three years, despite raising one now-adult child. Email Franklin and Selma your transcendental, political, and fashion quandaries to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear Frankly Selma,
I live in co-operational in mid-sized city in Tennessee, where I am an active member of the Green Party. Lately, I have been feeling some conflict regarding the upcoming election: John Kerry comes off as such a stiff, and yet Nader has ostrasized himself from the Greens, and is running as an Independent. It does not help that I am surrounded by evangelical, anti-gay, Bible-belters. The pressure is on to make a decision between "electable" and my own conscience--even if that conscience is a bit sore. What can I do?Signed,
FRANKLIN: I sympathize with your dilemma. I, myself, am a re-registered Democrat (formerly Green) in our area of the world so I could participate in the primaries. My gut reaction is that your vote is your own. Our nation casts secret ballots for a reason, and discussing your personal vote with others will only create more anxiety and confusion about your ultimate decision. I am concerned that you may have "buyer's remorse" if you vote for someone strictly because you believe he can beat the other guy. On the other hand, I can understand being put off by Nader, as he had a perfect opportunity to continue with the grassroots revolution in 2000, but dropped the ball. Both of your choices, if you are definitely leaning left, are inarguably better than the third choice you could make on the right. I suggest you keep to yourself during these months up to the election and continue to research the candidates and their positions - and, most importantly, their records, as that is a (somewhat) reliable predictor of their course if elected. Following your heart in the polling booth is always preferable to holding your nose and pulling the lever.
SELMA: If you fuck up this election, I will track you down in your Southern hippie commune, and personally tear off your arms.
Dear Frankly Selma,
What is the sound of one hand clapping?Signed,
FRANKLIN: Cripe, not this one again...
SELMA: By definition, one requires two hands to clap. Therefore, one hand on its own in insufficient to clap, let alone produce a sound from it. The question is absurd by its nature.
Ain't that the point?
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