Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The way elections and radical activism fit together.

[Originally posted in the comments to a friend, well . . . acquaintance, but I'd be proud to call her a friend and we are facebook friends,'s  facebook post.]
[So some pretty extreme hardcore activists who know every single thing that candidateshave ever done wrong and tend to be disillusioned to the point they weren't in favor of voting at all were talking about the need to change the system itself, challenge the two party system, and so forth.  That's context.]

So I came here today because I was thinking about how I wish I could meaningfully vote for someone like Meaghan [LaSala], but since there's this discussion. . .

It seems like every election I've been eligible to vote in has been a choice between bad and worse.*  I don't like that. I want to vote for good, but that option never seems to be on the ballot. So faced with bad and worse I always vote for not-worse.

Yeah, we keep on getting the choices of, "More of the same or make things worse," and "more of the same" isn't good. But at least it's better than "let's make things worse."

When it comes to the presidency we get four years to try to make things better. We get four years to try to challenge the system. But when those four years are up, if we haven't changed things yet, and we haven't, we're faced with a choice between three alternatives: Democrat, Republican, or leave it up to other people to make the call (except possibly in Utah where a vote for Evan McMullin has a serious chance of making a difference. A weird difference, but a difference.)

With the House we only get two years to try to change things between the times we have to make a choice we won't like, but House districts are small enough that people have actually had successes at challenging the system at that level.

Fixing things has to come from the bottom up, which means it's not about who you choose for President or Senator and probably not about who you choose for the House.

Breaking things can easily come from the top down, which means that if you don't want things to get worse it _is_ about who you choose for President and Senator and probably, but not definitely, for the House.

And that's fucking terrible. But it's the way things are. Between elections you work to make things better, but on whatever day you vote or choose not to it's about trying to make it so things don't get worse because the work to make things better, by and large, hasn't broken through to the viable choices on the ballot.

It's one day every year or two (depending on where you live) which leaves 364.245 days, on average, in which you can actually work on making things better.

- - -

* So there's some editing for the crowd in that.

Obama wasn't my first choice in 2008, but my first choice wasn't running.  She still isn't.  That said I did feel like he was "good".  in 2012 a vote for him was a vote for more of the same which given that we'd had two years of Tea Party wasn't a vote for good.  That was bad.  Mitt Romney in charge of the executive with the Tea Party congress would have been much, much worse.

In 2010 Libby Mitchel was a weak nominee, Culter was worse, LePage was apocalyptic.  We've been living in apocalyptic for almost six years now and I still have yet to meet Furiosa.  That's just plain unfair.

Other than 2008 Obama, I've never really had the opportunity to vote, "Let's make things better."  But I did vote for 2008 Obama.  And, damn, I just remembered, I voted for Kerry which would be "Let's make things better," given that he was running against Bush.  I guess that one was too painful and I purged it from my mind.

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