I finally opened my mail-in ballot today, not very happy with the choices, but committed to doing my civic duty and vote, even though I had not decided on most of the questions. The recent rash of campaign rhetoric and advertising convinced me only that I would most likely be voting for the lesser of evils no matter which choice I made.
I had read all of the voter pamphlets, the candidate bio’s and platforms, the newspaper endorsements, the information on all of the measures and propositions, but few clear choices emerged. I considered just sitting down in front of the TV for an hour or so, and when an ad came on for a particular measure or candidate I’d mark my ballot then. It didn’t matter if the ad was for or against, none of them discussed the issues anyway; if I liked the ad or believed its slant, I would vote that way, if not then I would vote the other way. This approach is what I call “the media method” – different variations of which are used by most voters, so I would probably vote in the majority – a comforting thought.
Of course, I could pull out those pamphlets and articles again, and spend a few hours reviewing each candidate and measure, and then make a rational decision based on that research. The “rational method” takes a great deal of time however, and I already knew that I didn’t agree much with any of the candidates, and few of the measures, and if history is any proof, the differences that could be distinguished between them now (aside from which crime, or indiscretion they may or may not have committed according to each other) would in practice just become more partisan bickering once the election was done.
Throwing darts was another choice. It would be the most fun, but it also would put holes in the ballot and most likely cause it to be declared void, and tossed out. I want my vote to count.
Finally I decided on a strategy. For the propositions, I would use a variation of the “rational method”. If the question would give more power to the politicians, or government, or any special interest group I would vote “NO”. If it would cost tax payers more money my vote would be “NO” (if it cost the government more money that’s fine, but they would have to get that money somewhere else – they seem to think that they have some unlimited source somewhere). That criteria eliminated a couple of propositions that I might have favored otherwise. Don’t get me wrong, I am not against all government powers or spending, I’m just fed up with the ineffective job they are doing now, and not willing to dole out more as if the lack of results were our fault and not theirs.
As for the candidates, that decision was simpler. The two main Parties have done little recently except strengthen an ever thickening gridlock and status quo, shifting the power base from one party to the other, enriching themselves and their special interests while diminishing every other aspect of the American Dream. The system is well designed to perpetuate their ineffectiveness through our ambivalence. I decided that I would not just elect another Party hack; I would not vote for the lesser-of-two-evils, and I would level a most critical eye on incumbents in particular. If I didn’t really like, or trust, or agree with any of the candidates, if one of them was not a “good” choice, I would vote for NONE OF THE ABOVE. Of course that option is not on the ballot, but there is a way none-the-less – vote for the candidate that is least likely to win.
It’s time that we give up some of our media induced pragmatism and start looking for some real change; we’ll only be in jeopardy if we fall back into the trap again and give up our message that we won’t stand for the incompetence. There is an opportunity every two years to fire the people that won’t represent US. At the very worst we might get a few new ideas to debate in the interim, and the results couldn’t be any worse than we are living with now. In the end our political leaders might actually get the message, and we will get some real representation.
More insanity from The Edge… Thanks for your Input.
George Orwell once wrote, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act”.