Get out the vote


The day is fast approaching.  Voting day 2012.  It is 37 days away, and I have resigned myself to several facts.

The most significant is that despite the fact that there are many other candidates running, several of which are likely more qualified and better candidates, we are once again going to be faced with either a Democrat or a Republican president.  This is not because these are the two best choices.  This is not because these are the least two evils.  This is quite simply because of two basic reasons.

The first reason is because most people are unaware that there are any other choices.  As was discussed a few weeks ago in this space, there are at least 22 other candidates of varying seriousness running across the country.  The vast majority of which have received no attention whatsoever from any significant media source, much less from the mainstream media.  If the citizenry are unaware of their options, then how can they legitimately consider them?

The second reason though is the more insidious and more significant.  Inertia – the widespread belief that we have to vote for either a Democrat or a Republican because those are the only two legitimate parties.  As though they have always been the only two options.  If people do become aware of a third party option, they dismiss it.  Granted, they have been around a long time, and they have dominated the Presidency since their founding – the Republicans in 1854 and the Democrats in about 1829, both of which arose from the Democratic-Republican party.  (Not really the party name, by the way.  Just how historians refer to it.)  The Whigs held the Presidency twice.  The Federalist party once.  This is just the presidency.  It does not account for the Representatives or Senators.  Nor does it account for state or local offices, and it is not my intent to teach a class on the history of political parties in the United States.  The point is that we are not bound to vote for these two parties for the presidency, and we have not always had to.  Some of our most revered presidents were not from these parties – George Washington (I) and Thomas Jefferson (D-R), for example.

Even recently we have seen reasonably successful third party campaigns, and yet, we still hear people saying all too frequently, “I can’t afford to throw my vote away.  This election is too important.”  Every election is too important.  The single largest impediment to real change in this country is not corruption.  It is not money.

It is not even the media.  Not any more.  Not thanks to the internet and social media. We have proven that with Twitter, Facebook, and other social media, the people are very capable of spreading information, gathering and acting.  When they choose to.  The single largest impediment to change is belief.  The belief that you actually matter.  That your single vote counts.  That your voice matters.  That you should get out there and speak your peace, and that when the time comes to vote, you should.  Some places are already allowing early voting.

This cartoon has been making the rounds and it speaks volumes.  It is unattributed, of course.  (If anyone knows the proper attribution, please let me know.)

Power of the people

All the money of the Koch brothers or the Soros’ of the world matter not, if we the people stop playing their games.  We actually do have the power.  Abstaining from the vote though, is not the answer.  If you abstain from voting, then you are simply consenting to allow them to do to you whatever they wish.

A conservative friend said to me the other day that even they distrust their leadership.  If they are distrusting their leadership and the democrats are distrusting their leadership, then why are you all continuing to elect these people?

However, that wasn’t the real point here today.

The point is this.  I will be voting for Rocky Anderson this election.  I will write his name in on the ballot because he is only on the ballot in 16 states.  There are 8 states in this country that do not recognize or count write in votes.  I will do this because I believe he is the best candidate that is running.  I do not expect that he will win.  However, as I have always told my children, we do what is right because it is what is right; not because it is what others are doing.

As a responsible liberal, when I compare the candidates, I can reach no other conclusion.  If more people were to vote based on their beliefs rather than on fear, we could actually achieve change this year.  Or, we can sit back and watch the right continue on their path to burn the country down.

On a related note, if you doubted that Obama was part of the right-wing, please remember that his signing statement for the NDAA 2012 indicated his regret that it included indefinite detention of Americans without due process and a promise that his administration wouldn’t use it.  However, his administration is now vehemently defending this in court, including “emergency appeals”.  “Oh, but he must.”  Really?  Just like he must defend the defense of Marriage Act?  Oh, no.  That’s right.  His administration stopped defending that because he decided that it was wrong.  To me this says that his signing statement was a lie.

As my father says, we get the government we deserve.  Our apathy and willingness to accept this kind of behavior means that we deserve this.  Wake up.  Change it.

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About Just Torch

Author of the SCIAMAGE column a space devoted to American political and social commentary and analysis. It is unabashedly liberal, but makes every effort to present clear, verifiable facts and sound reasoning. It also makes a commitment to clearly distinguish between facts and opinions. View all posts by Just Torch

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