no third solution

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Who Are You Voting For?

October 25th, 2008

My friends wife asked the dreaded question the last night, “Who are you voting for?” (Technically, that question and the title of this blogpost should be ‘for whom are you voting?’, but whatever.)

I told her I wasn’t voting at all. Not on the national level, not on the local level. (As an aside: I might go to the polling place in order to write in “NOBODY” for president, and take a picture of it on my phone, but even that seems like a tremendous waste of my time for little personal satisfaction.)

She was perplexed, “You of all people, you’re not voting?”

Her husband, who kind of knows where I’m coming from, joked: “Yeah, he’s one of those people.”

It was neither time- or place-appropriate to discuss the topic, so I just left it at that, “Yes, I’m one of those people.” Her presumption of course, was that I seem to know an awful lot about politics, and she couldn’t understand why someone who knows about politics wouldn’t bother to vote.

But it got me thinking: Sure, I know a lot about the nature of politics, but I know next-to-shit about the measures that are on the ballot locally, and I know next-to-shit about the national Popularity Contest. I couldn’t tell you what it means to vote “No” on Michigan proposal 2, or “Yes” on Prop 1. I have no idea. I don’t know how McCain or Obama plan to have the government create jobs. I don’t know how either one plans to handle world affairs, or domestic affairs. I don’t care, because I know that neither one of them is going to give me one iota more of liberty.

I don’t need to know the specifics of Obama’s plan for the economy, or the specifics of McCain’s plan for the economy in order to tell you why they’re not going to work; I don’t need a crystal ball to tell you that they’re both making promises that can’t or won’t be kept.

They can lie to you, and get away with it time after time, because the amount of bullshit people are willing to believe is proportional to how badly they want it to be true.

Which brings my thoughts full-circle. When people learn that you’re not voting. Some people, like my friend’s wife will be puzzled, “Gee, you know an awful lot more about politics than I do, I can’t believe you’re not voting. Why not?”

The inquiry really needs to be redirected. If you’re voting, and you’re surprised to learn that people you trust as knowledgeable about politics aren’t voting, perhaps it’s you that needs to reconsider.

My knowledge and understanding of politics and the political process has taught me that on balance, no good can ever come from voting. I am not an “informed” voter, in terms of the red herrings paraded as “issues” in politics these days.

I refuse to vote for the person who will rob me less than the other guy. I refuse to vote for the person who will murder fewer brown-skinned foreign people. I refuse to vote for the person who promises to take money from you and give it to me.

So, why are you voting?

Comments

9 Comments

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  • olly says on: October 25, 2008 at 11:47 am

     

    I’ve had this conversation a lot lately myself. I’ve gotten to the point where I almost have a canned, 30 second answer that I can throw out whenever I’m asked (what we call the ‘elevator pitch’ in the sales world).

    As annoying as it sometimes can be for me, when someone’s eyes glaze over and I can feel them starting to look at me through their ‘whack job’ glasses, I’ve decided it’s worth it for the few times that people actually start to listen to me. My wife has agreed with me for a long time about not voting (though not totally about anarchism in general), but this year I’m starting to get my parents to understand more.

    My mom and dad and I have had some very interesting conversations, and while I *know* that they will still be at the polls, voting for Obama on election day, they at least are starting to see where I’m coming from more. My mom even asked me the all important follow up to my ‘elevator pitch’ the other day “ok, then what’s the alternative?”. You don’t get much more of an opener then that, and even though it’ll be a LONG conversation, I have hope that she’ll start to agree more over time.

    -olly

  • John says on: October 25, 2008 at 10:22 pm

     

    As you know, I also live in Michigan, so I’m considering learning about the various ballot proposals so I can vote against increases in government wherever I can. If I do that, I will write either my own name, “myself”, “nobody”, or “Dave Barry” in for president.

  • Mike Gogulski says on: October 26, 2008 at 10:25 am

     

    I agree with John in that there is a narrow case in which some good can come from voting, and that is through voting against ballot initiatives/referenda that increase state power and in favor of those that decrease it. Take the Irish “no” vote on the Treaty of Lisbon referendum as one example.

  • Brad G says on: October 27, 2008 at 9:58 am

     

    That was a funny conversation indeed. You got me thinking now that there needs to be some sort of a “voter education course” for all Americans. Because if you are that much more informed than friends of ours then what does that say. Out of the 10 people who were sitting at that table you and I were (in my opinion) the most informed. Probably because we go out to seek the truth not have it told to us by Fox News or another TV station. So this means only 20% of the people there are informed. You can probably use this % as whole for voters across the country. Its kind of scary to think about it.

    We should make this “voter education course” a pre-req to vote. I’m thinking of a test question right now.

    Do you want your income taxes
    A. Raised (Barack Obama)
    B. Stay The Same (John McCain)
    C. Removed Completely (Ron Paul)

    I feel its that simple. This way it holds the candidate AND voter accountable. Doing so will eliminate (hopefully) the people who vote based on popularity/he’s from where I’m from/he looks like me/I like his religion/I saw him make a jump shot on 20/20. All of these are reasons people use to elect officials. Sadly, these same people who vote based on anything but the issues probably make up for 50% or so of the votes. I know I’ve told you I’m writing in Ron Paul. I can’t argue with a guy who wants to eliminate the IRS, bring home the troops the next day, close bases around the world, and fight wars with bank accounts, not guns. Rage

  • danielo says on: October 27, 2008 at 2:04 pm

     

    Whenever someone asks me why I don’t vote, I say it’s like a lactose-intolerant person trying to decide which flavor of ice cream to buy. Either way, it’s going to end in stomach ache.

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