On copping out..

..at election time.

If you read what I write, listen to my drivel, etc., it’s probably no surprise that I haven’t found a home in either of our two major political parties. It’s also been hard to place myself amongst some of the alternatives. Some parties would have us eschew centralized government completely, which I think is unrealistic and would merely have us governed by the corporations that provide the services we crave. Others would have us so dominated by Washington D.C. that we would be completely at the mercy of TPTB (if indeed we aren’t already..). I’ve also aged into a sort of distaste for the mindless lefties that have appeared, noisily and with dred locks whipping in the wind, as liberalism has become ‘on trend.’ They’re almost as obnoxious as the equally asinine folks on the right who persist in laboring under the delusion that the general election is the meaningful time to vote the moral(istic) line, and then wonder why the neocon Republicans have a carte blanche to do whatever the hell they like with the vast American ‘moral majority’ bolstering them up. The Democrats don’t represent folk like me, and the Republicans no longer represent their supporters either. What an interesting situation. This is our two-party State, my friends.

I should point out that I have nothing against non-progressives. You don’t have to share my superb political insights for me to like you ;). I also have nothing against dred locks. Indeed, I endeavor to have an enviable set in 40 years time or so.

A couple months ago, I managed to corner John Taylor Gatto at a home education conference in Arbroath. I was keen to quiz the guy on the relative merits of voting for a less horrid candidate who has a chance of getting in or voting for who I believe would actually do the sort of work I believe needs doing. He thought there was great value in voting for the alternatives. He cited the example of Perot making people nervous when he managed to get a chunk of the popular vote in ’92. Of course there’s also the still-debated effect of Nader on the Florida race in ’00. Then he brought up Ron Paul as an interesting possibility. I think the man is fairly charming, with his Dr. No moniker and his actually attempting to adhere to the constitution, but..oh dear. I’m way too much of a cynic to believe that the sort of deregulation and governmental non-interference his sort of libertarians propose would see the average poor person treated very well. You can build more community autonomy without corporate laissez-faire. In that sense, I lean much more toward the Green Party.

There is also the issue of my home state. I come from Idaho, a state that hasn’t voted in a Democrat since ’64, and then only by a thin margin. In this case, given that McCain is projected to win 2 to 1, do I vote ‘not republican’ or ‘not any of this status quo nonsense’? Do I dare hope the enthusiasm that Obama has stirred up will reach the hearts of my beloved compatriots? Or do I make a statement vote for a party I actually believe in?

In the end, for better or worse, I admit that I fell for the glamour. I did ‘cast’ my absentee ballot for Obama, and for every other Idaho non-republican nominee I could color in an oval next to. I did feel quite awkward voting for positions other than president. I haven’t lived in Idaho for more than 4 years–do I really have a right to help determine the direction of a place that isn’t my home? After giving it some thought, I decided that, if anything, I’m a more informed voter now than I was when I did actually have a Moscow zip code. It is also a right afforded to me, when it comes down to it, and perhaps it’s a bit self-indulgent to worry myself over it.

As I get older I am more determined that it is the day to day living out of one’s political and social views that makes the difference. As I live and speak and write, hopefully I will have a positive influence and people will associate those influences with the ideals I try to embody. This is the hard graft of being a good citizen, but it’s the meaningful bit and I’m suppose I’m happy to give it a go. In the meantime, y’all remember to go cast your ballots!


2 Responses to “On copping out..”

  1. allhatnocattle Says:

    Strategically voting only ensures that the 2party system remains firmly in place. If only enough voters could be convinced to vote for a 3rd party will the system evolve. Ross Perot, Ralph Nader or whatever.

    I don’t fault anyone for just going with the lesser of two evils. (I still can’t believe anyone bought what W was selling) But it’s so boring.

    Personally I can’t tell the difference in policy between the Dems and Reps. They talk a mean gameplan, but honestly, taxes are going up no matter who’s elected.

    • rosgen Says:

      You are right of course. Problem is, it would take a lot of people gambling at the same time.. It would be interesting if everyone could cast a second dummy vote for who they actually would like to win. If the results were published, maybe people would have more confidence to vote more optimistically the next time around. *shrug*

      I don’t know what to believe with regard to taxes. It’s also a bit frustrating to hear candidates speaking as if they have more authority to change things than actually set out by their role in the executive branch..

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