Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Register to Vote on Random Thoughts

I just added a Rock the Vote button to my blog. You should see it on the right in the sidebar. If you haven't yet registered, just click the button to get started. Remember, if you don't register you can't vote and voting is our civic duty as citizens (not matter how infuriating and time wasting it can sometimes seem).

This post feels like a cheesy infomercial, but I really do think voting is important. It's one of the few ways our voices are heard (even if they are often ignored). I feel like you shouldn't bitch if you don't vote. And I like to bitch. So hop to it.


  1. Technically, those who vote are the only ones without a right to bitch, since they're selecting our leaders. People who don't vote are not the ones responsible for putting such horrible people in office.

    Frankly, until someone worth voting for shows up, the only reason to go to the polls is to vote on local ordinances. I don't begrudge people who do vote, I just think they have poor taste and embarrassingly low standards.

  2. I think you're statement says a lot about the dissatisfaction a lot of people feel about our current system but is a bit silly. You can't change a system you refuse to participate in. I would rather say I tried then feel some false sense of superiority.

    Plus, people who don't vote put people into office just as much as people who do. So really we're all to blame.

  3. I have to ask, then... which politicians that I hate did I put into office by not voting, the Republicans or Democrats?

  4. It depends. My point is not that we can point to a specific candidate and say "this one won because of voter apathy," though often we can, but that the entire political process is dependent on voter participation. By not participating, your basically reinforcing the system the way it is because you aren't changing it by voting for candidates more suitable for the type of representation you think we should have. An easy example of this is with the concerns of different groups being represented. Older voters actually get out and vote so politicians try to cater to that voting demographic. Even if only some of those concerns actually translate into real policy decisions, that's still more than the big fat zero young voters get because they're too lazy to actually vote.

    It's kind of like evolution. Even if you can only vote for a marginally less-shitty candidate, the hope is that each time they party will get less shitty. Plus there's always the option of going into public service yourself.

    I feel like my whole point could be summed up by the Rush quote "If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice." lol

  5. I think your view is based on how an ideal democracy works, not what is happening.

    The elderly are catered to by politicians not because of stastitics, but because of money. The AARP is one of the largest lobby groups in the country because old people have more money than young people. They have everything they earned during their entire lives plus a steady income from the government itself after 65. The fact that they vote more often isn't why they are heard, it's the money.

    Young people in the 60's were politically active, active enough to get the voting age dropped to 18, but no one listened. Why? No money. It wasn't them getting old that made them heard.

    I am registered to vote as an independent, because the only people I hate more than Democrats are Republicans. This means
    I have no say even from a position of voting in primaries when it comes to selecting who can even be elected. I hate to admit it, because they are largely crazy, but I have more in common with libertarians than I do Dems, and I would never vote libertarian.

    It's kind of like evolution. Even if you can only vote for a marginally less-shitty candidate, the hope is that each time the party will get less shitty.

    Except... the Democrats aren't getting more liberal, they're getting more conservative, and Republicans are just getting crazier and crazier, and there is no money behind truly liberal causes beyond defense of current standards... which is, by classical definition, simply conservative (maintaining the staus quo). A liberal seeks progress, and not through what Martin Luther King called the "tranquilizing drug of gradualism." The Dems let themselves go on the defensive and have made no steps forward in the face of Republicans pushing us several steps back.

    You can abruptly change people. You have to be willing to ignore your opposition, and you can't engage raving lunatics as if they have a desire to truly debate. And definitely don't try to negotiate with them. If you compromise with an ass, you will always end up with half-assed legislation.

    Of course, that would be a good narrative... if Democrats were the good guys. The Democrats people are electing are bought by the same wealthy interests as the Republicans, and all major economic decisions are going to be dependent upon these groups, not voters. The president could be a Republican or Democrat, the economic decisions will be identical (although at least Democrats might balance the budget... once, out of the last 10 budgets signed by Dem presidents is the best we got, compared to 0 of the last 20 Republican budgets).

    The only real difference between the parties are social wedge issues over minority concerns, primarily abortion, immigration, and homosexuality. Even here, I am disappointed in Democrats. Wow, what progrsss for the gays... they can fight and die for a country that hates them. They've attained the status of black people in the 1940's. Just 70 years from now they can expect to get a president, even if they still aren't equals. Not counting Buchanon or Lincoln, of course.

    My views can be summed up with my bi-annual mantra, "I grow bored with election years, / Different puppets, same puppeteers." But I'm no Geddy Lee, and it's an odd year... so I'll try to enjoy the relative peace.

  6. Sorry about the novella, there. I'll do a post about it tomorrow and maybe it will turn out more cogent.

  7. It doesn't matter if my opinion is based on what an ideal democracy should be like (especially since we don't have a democracy). My point that not participating has political repercussions still stands and the midterm elections we just had are a perfect example. Your whole attitude is defeatist and I don't understand how people think not engaging is the solution to their concerns.

    And saying the AARP is the reason the elderly vote is given so much weight by ignoring the fact that they're the most reliable voting block is wrong IMO. Something like 70% of Americans over 65 voted in the 2008 election. That makes a difference. Plus, as much as we may hate it lobbyists are part of the political machine too. Voting is not the only way to be civically engaged. I'm also well aware that money makes a big difference and that Democrats aren't progressive heroes.

    At the end of the day I think of voting as a privilege. The reason I can vote today is because generations before me made it possible. If you don't want to vote, then fine. That's the beauty of non-compulsory voting. But you sound a bit self-congratulatory and I don't accept that. I want to be politically relevant. And that's really all I have to say.


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