Is Voting for A Third Party Candidate Throwing Away Your Vote? (by George Drake)

{Editor’s note: The thread below started with the “Too Big To Fail” entry below. I’ve opted to move this discussion to its own thread so as to focus each of two threads of discussion, both of which seem to have legs, in differing locales so that people interested in one won’t have to put up with the other to follow along. The other thread will continue at the “Too Big To Fail” entry. I’ll attempt to copy enough of the earlier discussion points for a newcomer to follow}

The first diversion in this direction came from a response to the cover letter I sent to a list I believe is intereted in my thoughts. The comment that was at the start of the e-mail anouncing this entry, but that is missing in the blog itself was

“Be sure to get out and vote, and, please, don’t throw away your vote on a third party–you’ll only hurt the leading party that is closest to your point of view. Sad, perhaps, but true, and a function of the fact we have a republic not a parliament. But this election is too important to abstain.”

Daniel Says:
October 24th, 2008 at 10:00 am edit
Hello George,

I should probably refrain from commenting on your email. People don’t seem capable of understanding each other on the question that you raise at the beginning.

I am not entirely sure how I will vote, and I don’t really care to argue the case for or against candidates like Ralph Nader. However, I know with absolute certainty that the people who will be voting for him do not consider that they are “throwing away” their vote. To say this is to show arrogance and contempt, to betray a dismissive unwillingness to accept that none of us has an infallible grasp on what is best under the circumstances. Surely you can believe that all of us are doing our best to do the right thing as our lights lead us – even those who will vote for Nader again in this election. I may add that I regard the treatment of these people to be an indelible blot on the progressive movement that needs to be understood and remedied, else it will fester like a sore that will not heal. Such comments as yours do not contribute to a cooperative attitude among progressives of all stripes, which will be essential as we go forward, even if the corporate tool and war-monger Barack Obama is elected.

Dallas Says:
October 24th, 2008 at 11:52 am edit
My father (a Superior court judge and libertarian at heart) used to stress the fact the we have a “republic”, not a “democracy”. The most visible fact that supports his view is the electoral college, an all or nothing tally which gives greater weight to the smaller states, due to their dis-proportional number of electoral votes. The electoral college is a strong underpinning of the two-party system. Third party protest votes are mostly relegated to symbolic significance, except when the two major parties are so close as to make the third party’s vote the deciding factor. Personally, I prefer voting to effect the desired result, even “the lesser of two evils” rather than indulging in a symbolic vote that might tip the election to the “greater” of two evils, as in the case of Bush vs. Gore, as affected by the Nader voters.

Hank Says:
October 24th, 2008 at 9:21 pm edit
Our electoral system made sense when it was invented because electricity and telecommunications hadn’t been invented. Electors had to ride on horseback to vote in the electoral college. However, once telecommunications were invented, the electoral college became obsolete. However we’ll never get rid of it because small states with a disproportionally high number of electoral votes will never agree to get rid of it. Also, neither major party wants to get rid of it because it helps maintain the 2 party system. A different system would encourage third, fourth and fifth parties. As Dallas and George have said, voting for a third party candidate only helps the candidate that you like the least, the one who is the “greater” of 2 evils.

Jim Says:
October 26th, 2008 at 8:30 pm edit
Interesting discussion and some strange comments from Obama being a corporate tool and war-monger to telecommunications making the electoral college obsolete.

Oh, I guess they’re just joking.

– Jim

George Says:
Daniel: I think my first comments, i.e., those suggesting that a third party vote is a “throw away” are the most important of the entry, and especially so in the present election. I don’t think the problem is one of not understanding those who choose to “throw away” their vote. I think it is disagreement, based, at least partially, on differing opinions on what is and isn’t important, especially in the context of the system within which we operate.

I understand that those who do it don’t consider it “throwing away” their vote. I just think they’re wrong. In a Parliamentary government I wouldn’t say that, but in the republic that America is, it’s just a fact. We have a number of provisions in our constitution making it hard for the people’s will to be honored. Some are on purpose, and whether they are wise or not is the subject of considerable debate. But the propensity for our government to discourage minor parties wasn’t intentional and is mostly supported by the two parties that are currently on top of the heap.

Independent of where the support comes from, though, the bottom line is that, since ours is a “winner take all” executive branch, the party in power following an election, needing no support from coalitions with minor parties, has is no incentive to appeal to minority interests. As a consequence, having no chance to be in power after an election, the only power third parties have in this country is *before* election day, when they could conceivably throw their weight behind one of the major contenders. On election day, any minority party on the ballot only draws away votes from the party most apt to be receptive of movement in the direction the third party would like to go. That means their presence only makes it harder for their ideas, or anything like them, to ever become policy.

Okay, I was wrong. “Throwing away” isn’t strong enough. It’s voting against your own best interests. Frankly, I think it’s stupid.

That said, I do understand the reason many perfectly intelligent people choose to do it anyway. Or, at least, I think I do. Many people, yourself included, if I understand you at all, just believe there is no difference between the two dominant parties in American politics. Again, although I can understand their frustration at the similarities between the two, I definitely disagree.

Anyone who thinks the direction this country has taken under a Republican administration since 9/11 is, in any way, similar to what would have happened if the Democrats had come out of the Florida debacle of 2000 in the white house is simply not paying enough attention to national politics. And believe me, it’s better not to name Bush and Gore, for this is about differences in Republican administrations and Democratic administrations. It’s virtually irrelevant whose name is at the top of the ticket. But it’s far from irrelevant which party has the power.

It may be arrogance to say my understanding is correct and someone else’s is wrong. But, if I *am* right, then it’s a virtue, not a vice, and I’ll remain faithful to it, despite your attempt to borrow the techniques of the right wing to silence dissent. I’ve watched it stymie their opposition for too many years to bow to bull s-word intimidation. I’ve never backed down from the term “liberal” and I wish others hadn’t either. Nor shall I back down from voicing an opinion different from yours, whether you think my holding it is “arrogant” or not. I firmly believe anyone who doesn’t vote Republican or Democrat in the current election under the current conditions is throwing his/her vote away as surely as if they hadn’t voted at all. And I think it matters.

As far as contemptuous. Yeah, I am that. I’m sick of all the idealistic crap that’s kept the power for so many of the last forty years in the hands of pragmatic politicians with whom I and most of those spewing the crap disagree. If you want to see ideals come to pass, you better get pragmatic.

As for remedy, I think the idealists need to actually analyze whether they think their “let’s all go our own way” mantra has gotten them to anywhere good. My god, America is torturing people! Is that what you wanted? Obviously not, and I don’t mean to start (or continue, if that’s more accurate) a flame war. I just think accusing the pragmatists of being a “blot” deserves a little fire back. I *do* blame Nader for a substantial part of George Bush, and I’m *really* sick of the “true liberals” not owning up to their part in it. If you guys hadn’t had your heads so stuck on “principle” we’d have had a much more rational response to Bin Laden, one without most of the horrors of the past seven years.

I think it’s time for the “true liberals” to think about cooperating a little bit with those who prefer having their hands on the tiller rather than to continuing to shout at the wind to blow from the rear of the boat.

As for Obama bashing. Come back and complain after he serves at least one term, unless you’d just rather be certain of your ability to complain at the end of McCain’s about the unjustifiable fact that Nader ain’t going to be there. He ain’t, so that’s a safe place to go to the polls from. And, yeah, I’m contemptuous of it. Guilty as charged. But I’ll not apologize for it, cause I think I’m right. Politics, like torture, is about power. And talking about idealism, while it may have it’s place, isn’t going to change either our politics or our torturing in the face of a close election like this one. (Don’t try to promise me that McCain would never tolerate torture. The Republicans started it, McCain’s demonstrating right now some of what he’ll do to lead that party, and you’re going to have to convince me that Palin wouldn’t tolerate it anyway, if you want to make that argument, for she’s *very* likely to be president if McCain gets elected.)

Oh, and don’t get me started on the difference you’ll see in the supreme court.

Dallas: I agree with what he said, everybody.

Hank: Obviously I’m with you, too. The electoral college vs direct vote is a bit more nuanced than that, I think, though. The tyranny of the majority might be far more likely. Some sort of safeguards might be needed. Perhaps a topic for a later entry.

Jim: Trust me, only Brian’s entry {Ed note: Not included above} may have had humor intended. But, just to be sure, if people joke hereon, in the future, please say “ha, ha” Thanks.
. . .
Sorry if I did sound a bit “flamy” before. This stuff is hard, and I’m not trying to disrespect anyone. We all have strong opinions on this kind of stuff. And we’re all entitled to them, including their strength, usually. Let’s just try to give our reasons for those opinions from an “I think… and here’s why…” position as much as possible.


Daniel Says:
October 29th, 2008 at 1:37 am edit
Well, on the other hand, George, I do love passionate people.

As I said, I don’t personally care to discuss or debate the Obama question. Did you suppose I hadn’t heard your arguments before, by the way. I addressed myself to how we behave when we find ourselves disagreeing with each other. Contempt? Somehow I can’t believe you have contempt for me, even if you express it.

Daniel (from an e-mail reply to all, not previously posted to the blog) Says:
November 2nd, 2008 at 9:43 am edit
{Editor’s note: This was first sent to the list on the original e-mail alert list and not posted here. I hadn’t responded because I hadn’t realized it had been sent to all, and didn’t think it requiring a response otherwise, as things were clearly deteriorating into a flame war. A reply will, apparently, have to be made now that I realize Daniel chose to go larger with his blast than I’d thought he had, though, so stay tuned}

Hello George,

I read your blog post last night and wrote a short reply. But this morning I’m thinking about it again, with a different sense of what it means for me, and I almost feel that I’m obliged to let you know what I’ve concluded.

It might have been helpful if you had given more credit to what I said at the beginning of my first email to you last week. I said that I hadn’t decided how I was going to vote. This was true, believe it or not.

My problem in deciding was that I’d already heard the arguments on both sides – from a progressive point of view, for and against Obama – a hundred times over, and still found myself unsure. I am not by nature indecisive, but both sides have, it seems to me, valid arguments, yet without any one being absolutely conclusive. It seems I still needed some sort of push or draw one way or the other.

Your response to me, being viciously angry, disrespectful, rather pompously dictatorial in spirit, and, yes, also contemptuous in word and tone, reminded me that I have long been noticing in progressive Democrats the very same mentality that we have suffered under for so long from the evangelical right. I have nothing in common with that strain of progressivism.

To a very great extent, my feelings about this are very closely related to how I view issues of war and peace – for your comments were, I daresay, violent. Yes, violence can be wreaked with words, too. And there is a continuum between violent words and violent acts, as in war. I remember in the past only off-hand comments of yours with respect to your fears of Islam and the rightness or wrongness of our barbaric national wars against it, and so I realize that I don’t know enough about your view to comment. Still, I suspect that your view is of a violent piece with the self-righteous certainties that you express as a supporter of Obama. Indeed, the terrible despair with which I have become aware of progressive support, among Democrats, for the war in Afghanistan – most notably in their candidate, Obama – has led me to believe that this is but one more measure of what the Republican Right and the Democratic Left have in common (to the ultimate peril of us all) – they share a kind of spiritual affinity, little as they are capable of seeing it in each other. The moat is never in our own eye.

I should add that I regard the war as the paramount issue of the day. It seems to me that people do not begin to understand that America’s wars, whether administered by Republicans or Democrats, will inevitably end in tyranny and the utter destruction of our nation. We are seeing this play out even now in the collapse of our economy. The founders of the Republic understood to a man that standing armies are death to a republic, and they wrote extensively on the incompatibility of militarism with liberty. Their philosophical grounding in the realities of history was of course beyond reproach. In this light it is quite obvious how meaningless an Obama victory may be, but to understand this you may have to broaden your perspective from very narrow immediate concerns that you have expressed – looking at history not just as a record of yesterday and the day before at most, but as a process unfolding over decades and centuries. You might then begin to see President Nixon as a gift to the nation from LBJ, President Reagan as a gift from President Carter, President Bush as a gift from President Clinton; and you might then ponder who will be Obama’s gift in another four or eight years. We should marvel at how the pendulum swings, while time stands still. Political time, that is. Time for the planet has in the meanwhile unwound mercilessly.

In any case, I said that I felt almost obliged to write because it surely ought to be helpful for people to know how effective they have been in interactions of this sort. Surely we all hope to be effective in the sense that we may be able to influence other people to do what is right, as we see the right. Thus, you may need to know that you have been the decisive voice in the process of making my own decision.

You have succeeded by your approach in canceling your own vote for Obama. I will be voting for Ralph Nader. I have decided at last with your help.


Hank (From an e-mail reply to Daniel) Says:
November 2nd, 2008 at 10:01 am edit
You might as well not vote for president Daniel. You should let the issues be your guide, not something someone said that offends you. Too many voters let personalities get in the way of making good decisions. I guess it doesn’t really matter anyway unless you’re in a swing state. Those are the realities.

{Editor’s note: Daniel is, in fact, a resident of a swing state. My point, by the way, is that Daniel’s decision to vote for Nader is not equivalent to his choosing not to vote at all. It is equivalent to his choosing to vote against the candidate from the top two for whom he was leaning prior to the decision to go with the minor party candidate. It is equivalent to shooting himself in the foot on purpose. It also has the perverse effect of further detracting from the Green Party (Is Nader still in the Green Party??), for not voting would, at least, not throw discredit on the Green Party’s role in the election. Assuming, of course, that it does, in fact, have a role.}

Daniel Says:
Hello Hank,

Actually, I am in a swing state: Nevada.

If I approved of Obama’s stand on the issues, I would not be one of the undecided. For, in fact, I am still undecided. Of course, you are right; I should not be moved by the offensive behavior of Obama’s supporters. And, I’m not. My last post was a reaction of the moment.

The principle reason that I am inclined to vote for Obama is that I remember what happened in Germany in 1933 when the socialists and the communists could not agree on a united front against Hitler. They split the majority vote, and we all know what happened thereafter.

However, it is clear to me that the bipartisan trend in America is toward fascism. And how naive it seems to me to imagine that Obama stands as an obstacle to fascism. Consider only his vote on the new FISA bill, which in itself was a gigantic encouragement of that nefarious trend.

Moreover, I am disturbed that the hallmark of Obama’s career has been his craven support for the corporate agenda in general, his vote on the Bailout (while lobbying his fellow Democrats against homeowner relief in that bill) was but the most recent instance. His stand on healthcare is another blatant example in which he promises (explicitly and publicly) to serve as yet another obstacle on the path of a single-payer system which has been supported by a majority of American citizens for many decades.

Much more serious is his support of an expanded military budget (a cause very dear to our corporate masters despite the increasingly obvious probability that it will bankrupt the nation), his inexcusably bellicose attitude to Iran, and his stated intention of escalating the war in Afghanistan (with its expansion to Pakistan). Here, our so-called intellectual giant of a candidate reveals a childish – and psychologically unhealthy – ignorance of global realities. Or, if not ignorance, a brand of political opportunism with which we are all too familiar.

I have just one question that has not been answered by any Obama supporter I’ve asked. Perhaps you can answer it for me. How would I be asked to vote by the Afghani mother of a dead baby incinerated by an American bomb? And if she says NO to Obama, the Afghan war-monger, should I listen to her, or to you and George? I can’t seem to get beyond this question. It seems to me to have deep moral implications that I simply cannot dismiss.

Best regards to you and Lily,

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6 Responses to Is Voting for A Third Party Candidate Throwing Away Your Vote? (by George Drake)

  1. george says:

    Reply to Daniel:

    I am struck with how very incapable people are of seeing faults in their own position. I surely share the characteristic, as, I suspect, we all do. But, since the flame war doesn’t seem to be something you care to avoid and I’m not inclined to ignore public attacks, I’ll try to point it out in your writing with the hope that, if you don’t see it, at least others may.

    My response to you was angry. I admitted that from the outset. You apparently deny that so was your initial response to my suggestion that a vote for any third party candidate was throwing it away. The angry words you used were, as I recall, “arrogance, contempt, infallible grasp, and indelible blot,“ all used accusingly.

    I was angry, for, like it or not, those who chose to throw away their vote on Nader in 2000 were, had they chosen instead to vote for one of the two candidates who had a chance of winning, clearly sufficiently strong to have elected Gore. That they act as if their choice in that election was not a factor in the horrors of the intervening years is, frankly, cowardly. And, yes, I’m still angry.

    But, then, “The moat is never in our own eye,” is it?

    Politics is not idealistic. That isn’t to say idealism isn’t a powerful directional force. But, in the very act of exercising power the politics of a government is practical. Idealism in the face of starkly differing platforms is useful if it serves only as a statement and not as an instrument of the triumph of the party whose position is clearly farther from the ideals. It is, in short, only useful in our system when there is little or no chance that it will result in the side farthest from the valued ideal gaining power.

    That does not include this election, and it did not include 2000, and the perception that voting for Nader was the “pure” thing to do in that election gave us a government that has seized so much power, and demonstrated so much evil intent, that I frankly fear for the future of the world if it is allowed to continue. And I am, indeed, self-righteously angry at you and anyone else who spouts that kind of nonsense. You, in particular, are smarter than that. Words do, indeed, have violent potential, and words that get McSame elected are words that kill. Saying that Obama would kill, too, is , simply put, a cop out, for, like it or not, the degree and nature of the killing embraced by one political party versus the other is evident. The choice is clear and voting “pure” isn’t an acceptable option for a responsible person.

    It’s not unusual, as you yourself acknowledge in regard to the Hitler regime, for the idealists to contribute to the horror by their refusal to touch the dirty stick of practicality. But there are times when not picking that stick up is complicity . 2000 turned out to be one of those times, although one could reasonably say that it wasn’t so obvious at the time of the election. So is 2008, and it’s now obvious.

    I am not nearly so invested in my own impotence in these matters as you seem to be. In even a vaguely democratic-like systems, governments don’t “gift” us a government of a differing persuasion at their demise. The people choose one way or the other. If anything has been gifted us, finally, it is the recognition that being informed and making meaningful decisions in the voting booth are powerful responsibilities of the electorate not to be abused. Sometimes the power does lie in making a statement. Sometimes, though, it lies in electing a government. Now is one such time.

    As for your attempt to make me feel bad about your decision to throw away your vote on account of my anger at the bullshit you spread about liberally, voting doesn’t work that way, Daniel. You and I aren’t voting for or against one another, we’re voting for ourselves. What *are* you thinking??

    As for your comments to Hank re whether Obama stands for fascism, well who knows? I don’t believe that for a second. But only time will tell for sure. What we do know for certain is that McCain’s party has demonstrated its fascistic nature in ways never possible for Obama, who has yet to be in power, nor displayed by his party in recent times, at least. If we judge by tone alone (which was certainly easy to do in Hitler’s day and is almost equally so today) the neo-cons, who lead McCain around like a puppy, have to go.

    All I ask of anyone, Daniel included, is that you get down off the high-horse and vote in this close election as if your vote was more than “a statement.” Talk is cheap. And I’m sick of seeing America kill and torture and imprison people forever without trial because your talking, Daniel, is more important to you than your putting your vote toward actually doing something. “All that the devil needs to win is the silence of good people.” And a vote for Nader is a good person going mute.

  2. Hank says:

    Well Daniel, since you are in a swing state, your vote for president does matter. You are lucky. I live in California so my vote for president is pretty much meaningless because of Obama’s huge lead. But your vote is much more special. Your one vote is much more powerful than my one vote. You can choose to vote for whom you deem to be the lesser of two evils and make your vote count, or you can vote for someone else where it might as well not be counted. The fact that you live in a swing state means that your vote is very powerful. I hope you use that power wisely.

  3. George says:

    {Ed Note: The following is transferred here from the thread “Too big to fail”}

    Jim Says:
    George: I have taken Daniel to task on two occasions for statements he has made. However, I take great offense that you would post what is essentially a private email from him to you as note above in “Daniel (from an e-mail reply to all, not previously posted to the blog)”

    As a matter of fact, I did not receive his response so I’m not one of the “reply to all”. Yet now I am a party to his private communication to you. The fact is that if Daniel had wanted his comments to you to be posted on your blog then he would have posted them to it himself.

    Your justification that it was a “reply to all” to a limited group of email recipients
    does not mean that Daniel wanted his views posted to to the large universe of those who read your blog. You’ve violated an implicit trust between yourself and Daniel.

    Also, as you are the “god” of your blog I’m now unsure about what opposing view points you receive via personal emails that you filter out because they don’t support your personal view point. Your blog and your private mails, regardless of the emails distribution list, are not the same. The least that you could have done if you wanted to post Daniel’s comments to you on your blog is ask his permission.

    I’m new to this blog but this is the second time that I’ve noticed that you’ve posted a private email (see “George Relaying an e-mail Says:” from November 2nd, 2008 at 9:38 am above) here.

    By selectively choosing which of these private emails you choose to post you’re are essentially exercising the Bill O’Reilly “SHUT UP” made so famous on Fox news.


  4. George says:


    It may be that I am ignorant of both blogging and the protocol
    involved. I’ve been blogging a long time, but that has, really, only
    meant that I post to a public place. I’d so like to think someone
    reads the blog, but, so far as I’ve been able to figure out, the only
    people who go there are those who are on my mailing list, which is
    about 280 long. As it stands now, I believe the posting of a reply to
    all is a much more public thing than a comment on the blog itself, for
    I’m pretty sure more people get the e-mail alert to the posting of the
    blog than actually read the blog, including anyone who might stumble
    upon it.

    I had assumed Daniel’s reply to me had been a privileged communication
    until I got a copy of a response from Hank. Apparently they
    were both “reply to all’s,” otherwise I don’t know how Hank got the
    first one in the first place, nor how I got his response. This all
    may have to do with the fact that the e-mail list is so big that I
    have to break it in two parts to avoid getting g-mail upset. Perhaps
    you are on one list and Daniel on another, while Hank and Daniel are on the
    same one. In view of the more public nature (and more invasive, I
    might add) of the reply to all, I don’t see how posting to the blog, and,
    hopefully, downplaying the invasiveness of the message by doing so, can be so bad.

    As for permission, when I have reason to think the messages are to me,
    I do ask for it. In one case I chose to post a private communication
    under “annon” because I thought the message important (although it
    runs counter to my position) anyway. I prefer people make their
    comments via the blog. You may not know it, but the comments posted
    to the blog also go through an author’s vetting, and, if I wished, I
    could control the content there. I don’t generally. But when someone
    responds to the entire mailing list, and especially with an attack on
    me, I regard the reply appropriate and inclusion as part of the blog
    more an effort to encompass anyone who has stumbled upon what ought to be the
    more appropriate place for all this, anyway..

    I do prefer to know whether someone who communicates via e-mail goes
    public, and will attempt to keep you informed if such a situation
    arises. I am certain of one piece of good advice for e-mails, though.
    Many people have rued the day they thought e-mails are private, so it
    is never a good idea to make that assumption. How blog protocol fits
    in, though, is a new one to me and I’m appreciative of whatever
    guidance you can give and will consider your remarks in that context.

  5. Jim says:

    George –

    A Bcc is frequently used in the email world to hide the email addresses of members of a distribution list. However, the real reason for using a Bcc is that the sender doesn’t want a person to KNOW that someone else is receiving a copy of the email. For example, you Bcc the Justice Department in an email to your boss because you don’t want the boss to know you’re ratting him out.

    The persons listed in the Bcc list will not receive a copy of a reply from anyone in either the “To” or “CC” list when a “Reply to All” is sent. That would defeat the purpose of the Bcc and you could end up wearing a pair of cement shoes.

    If Hank got a copy of Daniel’s email to you and you were not aware of this, then Daniel must have sent it directly to Hank via a Bcc himself or sent it in some other fashion.

    I have no illusions about emails being COMPLETELY private. They live forever on whatever ISP email server they happen to pass throught and so are potentially readable by anyone who has server access. Also, they can be forewarded outside of the original distribution list. These are all things outside the control of the author. Indeed, there are low tech and historical equivalents to this that apply to traditional mail correspondences.

    However, as I have pointed out already, there is still an expectation of privacy on the author’s part. Just as the person who sends a handwritten letter does not expect the recipient to publish the contents of that letter in the local newspaper without permission, the person who sends an email does not expect it to appear on a blog without permission.

    George, you said: “I believe the posting of a reply to all is a much more public thing than a comment on the blog itself, for I’m pretty sure more people get the e-mail alert to the posting of the blog than actually read the blog, including anyone who might stumble upon it.”

    The point is not how many actually read the blog but the fact that ANYONE can read the blog. This makes the blog more public than your limited email alert list.

    The fact is that you don’t know who got a copy of Daniel’s email except you, Hank, and Daniel. What you do know is that more than the three of you read your blog. For all you know, everyone on your email list and half the people in China read your blog entry.


  6. george says:


    Thanks for this thinking. I still don’t fully understand how the “Hank got the message too” thing worked out, but it sounds as if I was a culprit in violating an impied expectation of privacy protocol, even if Daniel had done so, too, via some sort of bcc. I’m sorry for that, especially since it seems to have become an issue which may detract from the entire discussion. I’m also sorry for the larger group getting caught up in what amounted to a flame war when it might have been handeled more productively on the blog as an important topic, for I still think it is that. I’ll certainly be more careful in the future. it will help, of course, if I can get people to start posting comments directly to the blog. That may be a natural result of the class I’m taking, but it will be a few weeks yet. Til then I’ll continue to notify via the e-mail list for, despite the theoretical possibilities, I just can’t believe that many see this thing. That, too, may be something I can resolve through the class. But I will be much more careful in the future.

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