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Nov 03 2012

You Are To Blame If You Do Not Vote.

Our nation’s Presidential Election happens this coming Tuesday, November 6, 2012. Get out and vote! Some say they will not vote because they don’t like either candidate. This sounds like the old farmer who said, “You can’t blame the mess this country is in because of me, cause I ain’t voted in 50 years.”

Vote for the least unqualified candidate who can win. Please do not try to make statements about one thing or another by voting for a candidate who has no chance of winning. This way of thinking gets the worst of the two evils in office. Yes, the best qualified candidate might also be an evil, but we usually build and correct things in little steps. It is because so many people voted for Ralph Nader, who might well have made a better President, but had no chance of winning, that we got the Bushes.

We could have elected candidates who, while weak and evil, would have made far better Presidents than what we got because so many voted for Nader. And this worst option gets to appoint Supreme Court Justices who serve for life. And the Justices who are appointed by them are busy tearing down the wall of separation between church and state.

After the last election, there was great hope. Here is a poem I wrote then. I hope it still holds true on November 7, 2012.

 

Inauguration

We had seen sights, but this mocked our imaginations
We had used words, but this defied our metaphors
We had once been, our heritage proclaimed,
“One Nation Indivisible,” and “Out of Many, One”
Until smallness of soul began to smother dreams.
Then, suddenly, sorely profaned, and wounded, soon to die
Our nation did an unimagined thing
We rolled away the stone
We shook the heels of history upon retreating wrongs
We watched as hope, long dormant, bloomed
And, through eyes blurred with tears,
We went outside and raised the flag.

Edwin Kagin
January 20, 2009

15 comments

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  1. 1
    nichrome

    George Carlin on voting.

  2. 2
    pipenta

    I could not agree more. It’s not like I’m dancing on my toes about Obama, but Romney as president is unthinkable. I do believe plenty in his own party also find the man unacceptable, if only because they prefer their sociopaths costumed with a thicker veneer of humanity.

    But I got suckered, not by Nader, but by Anderson. I was a college kid. I was naive. I thought it would send a message. Wrong. And from the mistake that many of us made we got Reagan and it’s been a nasty ever-accelerating downhill slide from there.

    Mitt is a nightmare. Times are tough and getting tougher and his primary agenda would be to help his fellow billionaires loot the country and the world, the way looters are going after the vulnerable on Staten Island today. I’m not a huge Obama fan. And frankly, he has done things that alarm and mystify me. But he’s not going to take our country apart with a crowbar, all the better to get at the meaty money bits. He does not seem, as Romney certainly does, to not give a flying fuck about that ever-growing demographic, the poor.

    I agree that all must get out and vote. But that is hardly enough in these times. To simply vote and to think you’ve taken care of your civic responsibilities just does not cut it.

    And on that note I do believe I will head out later to work on the phone banks for Chris Murphy, because Linda McMahon is every bit as creepy as Mitt and it’s bad enough that CT gave the country Lieberman for all those years!

    Please do rock the vote. Talk the talk and WALK the WALK!

  3. 3
    Pierce R. Butler

    Please do not try to make statements about one thing or another by voting for a candidate who has no chance of winning.

    Your advice fails to take into account that many of us live in states where the outcome is predetermined: in that case, why not vote for (say) Jill Stein? We need a long-term better choice as much as we need a short-term escape from the monster(s).

    Alas, I live in a very purple state, and have to follow your recommendation. If only I could trust the vote-counting software here…

  4. 4
    breaplum

    “Please do not try to make statements about one thing or another by voting for a candidate who has no chance of winning.”

    You mean, a statement such as recognizing that the only way, the only way, of holding an elected official accountable for their actions is by your vote or the denial of your vote?

    “We could have elected candidates who, while weak and evil, would have made far better Presidents than what we got because so many voted for Nader.”

    This straw man argument has been debunked numerous times over the years and you discredit yourself by mentioning it. See the 2006 study by Herron & Lewis: 40% of Nader voters would have voted for Bush if Nader had not been an option, many of the rest would not have voted at all, and 13% of registered Democrats in Florida voted for Bush. Gore lost Florida not because of Nader voters, but because of tens of thousands of disenfranchised minority voters.

  5. 5
    Mal Adapted

    breaplum:

    40% of Nader voters would have voted for Bush if Nader had not been an option

    From the Herron & Lewis paper:

    The other 60% did indeed spoil the 2000 presidential election for Gore but only because of highly idiosyncratic circumstances, namely, Florida’s extreme closeness.

    That’s how elections are decided in this country. The result was eight catastrophic years.

    We will never, ever get to elect the leader we’d really like to see in office. Anyone who wants power enough to get on the final ballot is prima facie untrustworthy. The founders understood that. They knew that some evil bastard was going to take power, that it would usually be the bastard that wanted it the most, and that at best the rules could be set up to allow us to choose the lesser evil. That’s Obama this time around. Holding him accountable for not fulfilling all our fondest wishes means Rmoney wins. If that happens, the voters who made “statements” will be the ones accountable.

    1. 5.1
      breaplum

      The voters who made “statements” can hold their heads high, because voting for Obama means the entire country loses. Once again, a president will not only be forgiven for poor job performance, but will be enabled (and will interpret their election as a mandate) to continue that same job performance, and possibly to perform even worse.

      When will Obama’s defenders get it through their heads that he will not magically morph into FDR or JKF or LBJ or even Clinton? He WILL cut Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security – that’s that “Grand Bargain” you keep hearing so much about. He WILL continue to expand and strengthen the fascist police state (and I use the word “fascist” in its proper corporatist context). He WILL continue to support Wall Street fraud and thievery and corruption and he WILL continue to ignore the criminal acts that nearly destroyed the U.S. economy not so many years ago. And he WILL NOT nominate supreme court justices who lean progressive, because they will not be confirmed and he knows it; he will nominate “compromise” candidates that will sit on the bench and either do nothing to rock the boat or go full tilt Scalia.

      Progressives/liberals spent so much time ranting about how anyone could have voted for Dubya, how they couldn’t see through him to the war criminal Cheney. Yet here liberals are, exhibiting the same blindness about Obama, rationalizing and justifying and bowing to the politics of fear.

      1. nichrome

        Thank you breaplum, you express how I feel and speak the truth.

        Here’s more sage advice:

        “It is better to vote for what you want and not get it, than to vote for what you don’t want and get it.”
        - Eugene V. Debs

        1. breaplum

          I am grateful for the quote, I have copied it to my notebook. It is indeed a seed of wisdom.

      2. Mal Adapted

        breaplum:

        When will Obama’s defenders get it through their heads that he will not magically morph into FDR or JKF or LBJ or even Clinton?

        When will disappointed dreamers get it through their heads that FDR, JFK, LBJ and Clinton aren’t running in this election? Our choice is not between Obama and a better candidate. Our choice is between Obama and Romney. One of them will be President! Are you saying that Romney is the lesser evil, because he hasn’t confirmed your worst fears yet? Are you really willing to surrender the country to him and his backers, just to spite Obama? If so, then shame on you.

        1. nichrome

          Regarding the “lesser evil” nonsense,
          “There is no evil beyond the claimed “right” to murder by arbitrary edict, to murder anyone, anywhere, anytime. If you support this particular evil — and if you vote for Obama, you support it — then you will support anything. …

          “The claim of a “right” to murder anyone for any reason is the greatest expression of evil we can imagine. Both Obama and Romney claim the President has such a right. Obama has actualized his belief on many occasions. Any individual who claims such a right cannot, by definition, represent a “lesser evil” of any kind. He claims as his own the greatest evil possible.”
          - Arthur Silber

          More links to thoughtful opinions here:
          The Choice is Theirs

    2. 5.2
      C

      I voted for Nader in 2 elections. I worked on his campaign. I make NO apologies for that fact!.

      this is a free country… or so we are led to believe.

      Do you honestly think that it is ok that we have a rigged 2 party system that directs you to vote FOR someone and against another?

      We are constantly put in this Hegelian dialectic and manipulated.

      I know that Liberals hate me for “ruining the election”… but it isn’t MY fault. It is the fault of our dysfunctional election system where our choices are limited to 2 candidates. It is designed with hard Peer PRessure to vote for the best of 2 candidates, if you deviate from that course you are demonized forever for “losing” it for the “right” candidate”.

  6. 6
    nohellbelowus

    How about showing your support for a 3rd-Party candidate like Jill Stein by donating money to her favorite causes?

    That’s a positive, progressive statement, and it’s certainly a more practical one than casting a vote for her in an election she won’t win.

    1. 6.1
      breaplum

      Oh, now there’s a productive approach: Thank you for running on a platform that aligns with my values and beliefs. I’ll be thinking of you when I write that check to the Sierra Club or Planned Parenthood. But I won’t actually support you, much less vote for you. But hey, it’s the thought that counts, right?

      No, it is NOT the thought that counts. It is the VOTE that counts.

      1. nohellbelowus

        Think of Jill Stein as your agent — she will represent you and your causes. That’s why you’re voting for her, right?

        If she isn’t elected, she won’t represent you very well. Your personal donations will still be effective, however.

  7. 7
    C

    I know someone who works in an Alzheimers ward and she said that there were election volunteers helping these Alzheimers patients to vote.

    So… should people who are not cognitively aware of what is going on be voting?

    What about “low information voters”

    http://www.hulu.com/watch/404175

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