I heard a good one tonight on an interview with a proud independent voter. He said he did not vote in 2004, because he doesn’t believe in voting for the least evil.
Well. That sounds like a kind of a personal stand, only it standing confidently on quicksand.
He went on to say; that is why most of America does not vote, and that that should send Washington a message. He went on to say; If Washington was listening.
Oh. Washington is listening. And to those who do not vote, what Washington hears is; you do not count. Since your stand is in the negative, or at best a nice big 0, what you will get is nothing but advantage taken from you. Washington hears you loud and clear. You scream it in your democratic absence; I am nothing. Nobody. Just ignore me. Don’t pay any attention, just do whatever you want, cause I wont even pick the least worst of you and make that small difference.
The real choice difference may feel very small to many of us, but that little difference compared to nothing, is at least something. The active choosing in a democracy, not only keeps democracy in some ways relevant, it is infinitely more civilly, than nothing.
If you do not vote, might as well stay out of political discussions on any governmental policy, just to stay honest to your actions.
Doing nothing in this regard, earns one exactly what one payed for.
True, we live in a Representative Democracy, not a direct one. We elect the Electoral College which actually elects the president, with all the states Electoral votes going to the candidate who got the majority of the votes (in most states). Three times (as far as we know) the winner of the most in a presidential election did not receive the most actual votes of the public. The last time was when the Supreme Court in 2000 halted vote counting in Florida to select who a majority of the court favored. Although I am sure someone could disagree with that statement for their own reasons.
Regardless, your vote does choose your Electoral College representative, which in most cases passes it along to elect the president. If that is not democratic enough for you, only the pressure on your congress to amend the US Constitution is provided as your direct influence on these matters. It remains; you accept the way it is or you leave it and your choice behind. The same idea goes for election tampering, which may be allowed now without verifiable paper or other trails. No mater how I vote, that vote remains vulnerable to those who intend to corrupt the democracy we do have. But does that then mean I should not vote? These decisions are left up to us to evaluate from our viewpoints, as are all things that occur in ones life.
Withdrawing from ones choice in whatever kind of democracy one has, may let that person seem to be above the political process, able to say; ‘Well don’t blame me, I did not vote for any of them.’ That, however, is an alienated assumption, for your lack of choice, even if it were to temper the damage of the “lesser of two evils”, results by that very definition, in the likelihood of even more evil.
Not voting does not absolve oneself from consequence. Whatever your voting choice is, even if it is to not vote, produces a consequence no matter if one chooses not to acknowledge that. Democracy itself, is no guarantee of good candidates or policy, yet choice still matters even if I do not approve of the situation. It is stunning, given the impacts of active voting, that some citizens view elections as a convenience store, where if they do not find their favorite food product, they buy nothing. Yet it is the only food store in their lives for national consumption.
I see the appeal of having a self releasing fantasy to put me out of democracy’s connections, I just don’t buy into it.
I also would rather have a multiparty system, not essentially two. With a two party system your votes impact is 2 votes though. If you vote for the winner in a twenty vote race, lets say an 11 to 9 outcome, you broke the tie. Not voting would have produced a victory still, but if you voted for the 9 instead of the 11, it would have been a 10-10 tie. Oddly, until we have a viable multiparty system, voting for third parties changes the difference in the two main parties none, except that 2 in your effective absence.
Still, the two major party’s voters decided, while you decided to make a statement, or begin the possibly long process of withdrawal from the two viable parties, and creation of that alternative party. That choice carries a positive and negative charge. It is wrong to call those who notice, the potential to them, negative impact of your withdrawl from the two party real contest, your vote would have been very important to the outcome, and ends up being of some impact for its absence. Some of those breaking to 3rd party’s have called those who want them in the two party real contest “elitist”, a standard buzz word these days, that everyone seems to use. No need to blame those in the two party’s when they notice that two point difference your vote would have made for them. It’s a point of view thing likely prodded by the math, and the thought that you didn’t spend those 2 votes you had, for them and what they feel are your better interest.
I would rather have multiparties and a vote of confidence, so more immediate changes could happen in a rapidly changing world. 2-4 years seems too dangerous to leave practically unchecked. With multiparties, at least it is more likely to have a party held accountable with its coalition partners. This gives some more minor interest some potential influence when now it is ignore those citizens forever. We would likely see an energized citizenry, since voting would carry more influence more often, involving those who feel they should have a say in the world to do so. I am not now certain we can handle direct democracy yet, but I do hope it is possible in the future. But first some of us may have to learn how important factual information and fact based debate would be to a more open democracy, since emotions getting out of hand might more easily lead to a world-wide conflagration.
To find out much more about Direct vs Representative Democracy, here is a good link below.
Should you ever forget this fact, critics of the Electoral College will be sure … the highest-ranking U.S. officials elected by direct popular vote of the …