It has not been easy adapting to these innovations. In all honesty, I count characters about as well as I count calories.
In fact, these limitations placed on my natural verbosity leads me to write this very blog post—a response to a follower on Facebook named Emily who asked me (and I quote): “I gather we’re supposed to vote Democrat this year?”
This comment was left below a recent Facebook update of mine, one in which I had been critical of Rick Santorum. Many of my updates and tweets, in truth, have been critical of Rick Santorum. And Mitt Romney. And Ron Paul. And Newt Gingrich. And also those who have dropped out of the Republican race entirely in the preceding months.
I have, of course, also criticized President Barack Obama on occasion. Not as often, however, I admit. Apparently the fact that I have been leveling the brunt of my ire against the GOP hopefuls—members of the party to which I myself belonged, before deciding to run as an independent candidate in 2012—has been construed as some sort of endorsement of President Obama.
Perish the thought.
To clarify where I stand: I am an independent candidate. As such, I agree with a great many things the GOP stands for. I also agree with a great many things the Democrats stand for (President Obama included). It must be remembered that in my time, I was both a Republican and a Progressive. Back then, the two were not mutually exclusive. I believe they should not be mutually exclusive now. Indeed, it is only by rejecting demagoguery in favor of compassion and pragmatism that America will rise once again to its full resplendence.
It is also worth bearing in mind that, at this point in the election cycle, I have five opponents: all four GOP contenders and the President. I believe I find equal fault in all five. However, I will admit that I hold the likes of Romney and Santorum to a different standard than I do Obama (or any Democrat). After all, Romney and Santorum are Republicans. Or at least they call themselves such. I once led their party. And it pains me to the quick that they propagate such a regressive, distorted vision of that Grand Old Party I once helped usher into the future.
I must also confess that I have become increasingly angered by the uncouth, ignorant, and frankly childish behavior of the GOP throughout this contest. Regardless of one’s ideology, it must be admitted that President Obama—in the face of so much rancor and divisiveness—has maintained his empathy and dignity. For that I admire him, even as I aim to best him come November.
There is another thing. Seeing as how I am the only current presidential candidate (besides Mr. Obama, of course) who has held that high office, I feel a brotherhood with him. He and I are of the same fraternity. Much as you see all surviving U.S. Presidents interact warmly and with mutual respect, so do I respect the trials and tribulations Mr. Obama faces on a daily basis—trials and tribulations that, out of the current field of candidates, only he and I truly know.
So, to answer your very fair and insightful question, Emily: No, I am not asking anyone to vote Democrat. I am asking them to vote their conscience. And I pray that conscience will lead them to vote neither left nor right, neither Democrat nor Republican, but rather freely and independently.
In other words: to vote for Taft in 2012.