Monday, June 25, 2012

Why you should always vote, even when you don't like the options

[Maybe sometime I'll get around to writing a decent article on this, but until then this comment from Slacktivist can get some of the point across vaguely close to well.]

My personal take: (every "you" is the generic you, for whatever it's worth)
Every election presents you with a choice, and it's usually not the choice you'd like, but it is the choice you have to work with.
No matter how small the difference, if there is a difference you can detect you should always choose the better option even "better" means "slightly less bad".
But the choice you have on election day doesn't come out of nowhere.
Consider Obama.  He's going to be on the ballot in 2012.  That journey started in 1996.  Now that's a pretty fast rise, I think, but even so it shows you a bit of how long it's going to take to get better options at the top if you start the work today.
Presidential candidates don't come out of nowhere, they come from the ranks of senators and governors and congresspeople, and members of state government.  (The last President who didn't hold a previous elected office was Dwight D. Eisenhower.)  And most of the offices they came out of were not ones people generally get into in their first dabbling in politics.
Not voting for the lesser evil won't get better presidential candidates, it will just increase the chances of the greater evil getting in.
To get better presidential candidates, also better senatorial candidates and better house members, what needs to happen is to start electing better people to the lower levels.  Whether better Democrats, or independents/third party members who are better than Democrats.  Because that's how change is actually going to happen.
And if you have the time, inclination, and energy, you can work on that right now.  If a movement did that then it could completely rewrite American politics.  (Actually, a movement is trying to do that right now, but given that they're a sort of tea-party/Ron Paul coalition, I don't think it'll change things for the better.)
But it's going to take time.
In the interm we still bear responsibility for our choices.  That includes doing as little harm as possible.  There are differences between the two parties, and those differences are a matter of life and death for some people, and though I might never meet the people who would be killed by my decisions, it is still my responsibility to make sure those decisions inflict as little suffering and death upon the world as possible.
But, as I said, that's just how I see it.


  1. What response do you give to the person that says "Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission made absolutely certain that my vote does not count for excrement, so why should I vote?"

    1. That the only way that will actually be true is if enough people follow zir example.

      Which, they might. Maybe enough people are like that person that it really will leave only those easily influenced corporate money to make the decisions that affect the country. But in that case the blame is no longer on Citizens United, it's on the people who dropped out.

      Citizens United will make elections harder, it will make votes matter less, but the only way elections will become impossible and votes will matter not at all is if enough of the people who are against it give up. And in that case the fault is on them, not Citizens United.

      Honestly, if you have someone who doesn't give a damn whatsoever, there probably is no way to convince them of anything.

    2. That's true, and there's a lot going in to making sure most people don't actually give a damn about politics, and those that do, like the Occupy movement are swiftly crushed using the political power those corporations have to make the police treat the protests as illegal, or more importantly, inconvenient to the wealthy and powerful.