To Vote Or Not To Vote

I am surrounded by two primary views on whether or not to vote. (More accurately, I am surrounded by one primary view, one opposing view, and then a lot of people who don’t feel as strongly.)

I am surrounded by two primary views on whether or not to vote. (More accurately, I am surrounded by one primary view, one opposing view, and then a lot of people who don’t feel as strongly. I simplify, to not get too convoluted and tomey.)

1.) Vote. You must vote. Voting makes a difference. Voting is your duty as a citizen. Voting is the best way to participate in our political system. It is the only way to participate in our political system. It doesn’t matter what else you do. If you don’t vote, you don’t get to complain.

2.) Don’t vote. To vote is to demonstrate your compliance with the corrupt political system. Voting is a ruse to make people think they are participating, so they don’t complain when the outcome works against them (which it invariably will, because the powerful always works against the masses). The system of voting is itself corrupted, maintaining the power structure. Don’t choose between the lesser of two evils. There are other, better ways to affect change.

I agree more with the ideas of the latter, but I take issue with both, when preached dogmatically (which they generally are).

1.) What about working for your beliefs in other ways? Person A: goes to the polls every couple of years and checks off boxes after making uninformed choices before going back to being a drudge and sitting in front of the TV. Person B: works persistently for positive change and the common good, in ways they feel called to do. Is Person A participating more, in better ways, than Person B?

What about voting rallies, working on campaigns, working toward more equal turnout in the polls? If you’re into voting, you can agree that those are important and participatory, though they are not the actual act of voting.

Also, our first-amendment rights are not contingent on our voting practices.

2.) Our participation in the system is compulsory; we cannot opt out. You probably participate in other parts of the system that you don’t agree with: wage labor, paying taxes, buying food, paying rent, driving a car. Why not this one? Even when a core issue you may feel strongly about (e.g. reproductive rights) is on the table? Why can’t you vote and participate in other ways?

What I’ve been saying for years is, “I vote, and I vote begrudgingly.” That about sums me up.

So how should you vote, if you choose to vote? That I will not preach. I’ll leave that to the politicians and the party stalwarts. I can’t even say something pithy and complaisant like “Vote your conscience,” because that assumes your conscience has a simpler, better answer than your intellect.

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Bustthetrolls November 04, 2012 at 01:46 AM
You're oh so funny. You're the one without intellect...you're nothing but a bully. Go play with your toys;)
Robert Farebrother November 04, 2012 at 03:24 AM
about the electoral college http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/thepoliticalsystem/a/electcollege.htm
Cranston Resident November 04, 2012 at 04:38 AM
What in hell is going on here???? The Cranston Patch has turned into....
Prof. Frederick Sweet November 06, 2012 at 12:55 AM
Support the United States Constitution: Vote ! Voting in America accomplishes two things. First, the voter is supporting the smallest special interest group: himself or herself. There has got to some candidate that at least seems or pretends to be supporting your special interest. But secondly, and most important, the U.S. Constitution protects everyone's right ... perhaps that should be Right ... to cast a secret ballot in a democratic election. At least cast a a ballot and thereby show your support for the U.S. Constitution. Otherwise ... as the old saying goes ... use it or lose it !
Robert Farebrother November 07, 2012 at 04:46 AM
Well said.


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