No matter who you vote for Tuesday, please don't lose your voice.
Four years ago, I listened to all the debates and ended up voting for a candidate named Grace Ross, who was a member of the Green-Rainbow party. I didn't know what the hell the Green-Rainbow party was, I'd never heard of it and frankly it sounded like something I would have eagerly jumped right into with both feet when I was 19.
But in reality, and despite their name, the Green-Rainbow party turned out not to be the Birkenstock-wearing tree-hugging granola-loving solar-powered vegans their name might suggest (not that there's anything wrong with that) In fact, they turned out be sound a lot like, well, me. Like a lot of us.
The candidate didn't just sound like she cared about me and my interests, but about the whole state. Not just about it's present, but also about it's past, it's future and it's lasting legacy.
The Green-Rainbows weren't fear mongers, finger pointers, a collection of sound bytes, partisan, or puppets of the special interests. And in the next few years, we'd learn that these were the conventionally requisite political qualities we could all better do without.
Unfortunately, a lot of people, including some people I really like and respect, are telling me a vote for Jill Stein, the current Green-Rainbow candidate for governor, the only candidate to oppose expanded gambling, and to testify to that effect at this summer's State House hearings, will be a spoiler.
Deval Patrick's spoiled the last three years of my life so the least I can do is return the favor. And besides, I'm sick of being warned that I have to vote for one evil over a lesser one for the strategic benefit of the greater good.
Case in point - a few months after Deval Patrick won the 2006 election, the casino circus came to town, and I was never so pleased to realize that, even without knowing a darn thing about the casino issue when I'd cast my vote for governor, I'd cast it for Grass Ross, the single 2006 gubernatorial candidate who showed up at a Faneuil Hall anti-slot protest rally last December.
If I were to teach a class on civics in 2010 I'd have to say, "Well boys and girls, a politician is someone we vote for who goes to work to work for us, but who eventually ends up really working for the professional lobbyists and special interests who line up at their door every day and who write them big checks so that they can run for office again.
Those politicians who stand up to this pressure eventually get burnt out, leave office and never look back. As you can see, it's very hard."
Fortunately, in Jill Stein, the Green-Rainbow candidate for governor, we have a gubernatorial candidate - in fact the only one - who, in practice and not just in word, has refused to take any money from special interests and lobbyists, making her the only candidate who is even remotely trying to avoid them right out of the gate.
Which is why I'll cast my vote for Jill Stein.
And my vote, just like my voice these last 3 and a half years, will once again be considered negligible.
Except by the one person for whom it matters most.