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To vote or not to vote?

First, a quote from Bill Moyers.

Vector: gruntinator

Link: http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0610-11.htm

Excerpt:
Let me make it clear that I don't harbor any idealized notion of politics and democracy; I worked for Lyndon Johnson, remember? Nor do I romanticize "the people." You should read my mail – or listen to the vitriol virtually spat at my answering machine. I understand what the politician meant who said of the Texas House of Representatives, "If you think these guys are bad, you should see their constituents."

But there is nothing idealized or romantic about the difference between a society whose arrangements roughly serve all its citizens and one whose institutions have been converted into a stupendous fraud. That difference can be the difference between democracy and oligarchy.





A couple of days ago my wife, who has voted Libertarian since her college days, told me that she has decided to vote for whomever looks capble of unseating Bush. That means she'll be voting for a Democrat. I don't have much confidence that a Libertarian candidate will appear on the ballot in Arkansas, so voting my conscience may not even present itself as a quixotically futile gesture.

I registered to vote when I got my Arkansas driver's liscense. The woman at the DMV (not called the DMV in Arkansas) asked me for my party affiliation. When I told her I wanted to register as a Libertarian she gave me a blank yet friendly stare. I asked her what parties I had to choose from. "Republican, Democrat, and independent." I registered as an independent.

How will I vote? I have no idea. I think I'd rather drop an unmarked ballot in the box than vote for Howard Dean, but really, what's the point in checking in at the polling station only to cast no vote?

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
footsandwich
Dec. 14th, 2003 08:37 am (UTC)
i keep hearing about all these rabid dean supporters, and i can't really see why he's so great. what's your beef with him?
kmo
Dec. 14th, 2003 01:35 pm (UTC)
what's your beef with him?
I don't have a specific beef with him other than the vertigo induced by the desparity between my unremarkable mental image of him and the messianic status some of his more fanatical followers seem to think he deserves. He's kinda like Ayn Rand for me. I've never read any of her books, but I've had many dealings with her true believer followers which have left a nasty taste in my mouth, particularly given the fact that I tend to agree with them on many points. With allies like Randroid Objectivists, who needs ideological enemies?

And, Dean fails my all-purpose political litmus test in that he's a prohibitionist.
carocrow
Dec. 14th, 2003 09:14 am (UTC)
I hate to say it, but that is why I voted Gore in the last election, and all things being equal, I'd do it again. Why? Because I don't harbor the illusion that wasting my vote for a third party candidate will do anything but elect the least favorable two party candidate... let's face it, all inde parties in this country do right now is divide the "liberal" vote, while the "conservatives" herd into the Republican camp.

We see that over and over in MA, where there has been a Republican governor in this supposedly Democratic state for the last decade. It's disheartening, but I *do* want my vote to have a bang, not a decorative poof.
kmo
Dec. 14th, 2003 01:38 pm (UTC)
wasting my vote
let's face it, all inde parties in this country do right now is divide the "liberal" vote, while the "conservatives" herd into the Republican camp.

Well, my third party of choice is the Libertarian Party, and I don't think the LP is drawing many votes away from the Democrats. Most Libertarians I know, when push comes to shove, throw in with the Republican faction of our one ruling Party.
carocrow
Dec. 14th, 2003 01:57 pm (UTC)
Re: wasting my vote
That may be true, on the "less is more" principle... though I think the Reps pay lip service to less government.

anamacha
Dec. 15th, 2003 10:40 am (UTC)
how is Dean a 'prohibitionist'? I haven't studied his campaign all that much, but I've liked what I've seen of him. And I haven't run across any Dean supporters in my area, unless you count the people that have one Dean bumper sticker. (I haven't even seen people with a LOT of stickers.)

And what's up wtih you in Arkansas? I thought you were moving to Colombia or some other nearly-idyllic Central American country.

Anyway, I wholeheartedly agree with whomever said "anything to unseat bush." Anything. Well, almost.
kmo
Dec. 17th, 2003 08:22 am (UTC)
Howard Dean: Prohibitionist Weasle
Re: Howard Dean

Check out http://www.granitestaters.com/guide/dean.html

Or as james968 put it:
Also he has come out against Medical Marijuana. His response was that it should go through standard FDA procedures. As a DOCTOR he should now this is F^$#@W%^ impossible. (Since no one owns the patent on the plant). I would vote against him just on that fact alone.


Re: Arkansas

I was born in Arkansas. I have family in Arkansas. We were looking for a place with a good climate where I could do a lot of outdoor work, gardening, landscaping, and such. Arkansas certainly fits the bill. We had planned to move to Costa Rica, but we decided to live close to family instead.
anamacha
Dec. 17th, 2003 01:38 pm (UTC)
Re: Howard Dean: Prohibitionist Weasle
thanks for the links and information and whatnot.

Regarding Medical Marijuana: Although I feel that drugs should be legalised and then taxed, it is not a subject that is near and dear to my heart. Therefore, I can point out that there will be MANY things about any given candidate that I won't like. You gotta take the package, both the things you might like and the things you might not like.

This is not a 'deal breaker' for me, so if it turns out that he's good on many other thigns, as he seems to be, then I might bvery well vote for him.

That said, I will vote just to vote AGAINST bush.
zman1972
Dec. 18th, 2003 03:01 pm (UTC)
It's been a long time since I had any faith in the Democratic party. However, Bush is so intent on destroying the things I love about this country that the Democratic candidate would have to come out in favor of puppy-beating and death camps for kittens to keep me from voting for him (or her (yea, like Mosely-Braun has a shot!)).

Even then, I'd consider it, just to save us from 4 more years of Bush and his pet fascist Ashcroft.

I think Dean has been crowned the Democrat's savior pretty early in the game, and he appears to be the strongest in a very weak field. But his anti-drug stance is not nearly enough to drive me to voting in a manner that would help Bush get re-elected. After all, Bush has proven to be rabidly anti-drug (Ashcroft has been working overtime to get Oregon's medical marijuana law overturned) - could dean REALLY be worse?
mungojelly
Dec. 21st, 2003 09:43 pm (UTC)
voting vs the universe
perhaps -- i've never really seen it contrasted -- voting at all should be considered not just relative to the various candidates but in a larger context

that is to say: which would make a larger difference, voting for protest candidate X, or spending the same amount of time/effort in some other pursuit

whenever i start to consider that calculation, i find my day-to-day activities rather lacking on that scale

if you just think: OK, i have X amount of time (an hour, say) to make as much difference as possible in the political situation of the world.. there are a lot of powerful options

it seems silly to spend time-X on casting a vote, which is a protest that will be recorded only in aggregate, as opposed to holding a sign somewhere, writing a letter to someone, even expressing an opinion in an online forum -- at least talking here, we hear a detailed wordy fragment of each other's views, not just "Candidate X got X votes, Candidate Y got Y votes".. (the libertarian candidate got X votes last year, does that mean there are X libertarians out there,.. or perhaps fans of the letter L?)

i think in practice voting is usually worth the time it takes, whether to vote for the lesser evil or a hopeless third party or write in Daffy Duck or whatever.. it's worthwhile just because we're all so uninventive & cowardly that we probably wouldn't be doing anything more productive with that time, anyway

we wouldn't otherwise be out protesting & rioting & enlisting people into our revolutionary organizations.. we'd instead be sitting at home watching beer and drinking television, or something

& that's unfortunate, is the point i'm getting at

voting ought to be a terribly dull & ineffectual distraction from the intense lives of resistance that we live, but compared to our lives-in-practice it almost seems like it's worth bothering with.

sad.
kmo
Dec. 22nd, 2003 01:06 pm (UTC)
Re: voting vs the universe
Hey, thanks for giving me reason to think that my endless on-line opining generates at least as much value as voting for some guy who couldn't possibly win an election.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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