In case you haven’t yet noticed, it’s election season. Every two years we, as a nation, gather together to vote on a new Congress; and every four years we vote on the president. This year our choices are between the incumbent democrat, Barack Obama, and the republican challenger, Mitt Romney. At least that’s what ‘they’ want us to believe. Every pundit and partisan is out there trying to sell this as “the election of the century.” We are bombarded with the notion that voting is a sacred privilege, not a right; and how there are many people throughout the world that would give an arm and a leg for the privilege to vote. You also hear the tired canard that “if you don’t vote, you don’t have a right to complain.” Puh-lease!!! It’s time to debunk some of these myths and deceptions.
First myth to debunk is the myth that this election is between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. The reality is that this election is between BIG GOVERNMENT and “we the people.” Democrats and republicans want us to believe that there is a difference in voting between Obama and Romney, when in reality, they’re effectively the same candidate. Among the similarities: Both support the TARP bailouts; both support the economic stimulus packages; both support the Patriot Act; both support the government overhaul of healthcare; and both support aggressive American military expansion in the Middle East. Are there any differences? Yeah, some. Obama wants to raise taxes on the ‘super-rich’ in order to continue to expand BIG GOVERNMENT. Romney would purportedly leave taxes the same or maybe lower them and slow the growth of government. The truth of the matter is it doesn’t really matter what their campaign rhetoric is, once either one of them is elected, it’s back to business as usual. The reason being is that the same big corporate donors (Goldman Sachs) that gave heavily to Obama’s election and re-election campaign are also giving to the Romney campaign. He who pays the piper gets to call the tune!
Furthermore, the American political system is a two-party monopoly! It is exceedingly difficult for independent or third party candidates to get into the political game. National and state election laws are prohibitively expensive to navigate, and third parties not only have to spend money trying to gain ballot access, but also to get enough petition signatures to qualify for being on the ballot. Add to that the fact that third party candidates are all but ignored during the general election. The last significant third party candidate was Ross Perot in 1992 and 1996. There is a feedback loop intellectually speaking at work here. The media continually feeds the line that third party candidates are either ‘fringe whackos” or insignificant. The voting public buys into this ‘logic’ and figures their vote will be ‘wasted’ if they vote third party. The fact of the matter is that nobody is unelectable if enough people vote for him. There is an oft-quoted passage that says the definition of “insane” is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. The vast majority of the people who bother to vote either vote democrat or republican. Yet these very same people who vote either democrat or republican complain that their politicians are corrupt liars. Well what did you expect? Why bother voting for either one of the two-party monopoly if voting doesn’t change anything? If there was a picture in the dictionary next to “insane” it would be of someone voting republican or democrat!
Let’s now address the sacred ‘privilege’ of voting. I don’t want to summarily dismiss the concept of voting, but let’s be serious! As the image accompanying this post says, “If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.” Think about that for a moment. If the United States of America really is under the control of big corporate interests, what would you expect to see? Candidates in the two major parties who have been thoroughly vetted by the power brokers. Rigged elections and nominating procedures that force one of the two approved candidates on the American people. Candidates who don’t tow the party line will be derided and marginalized. Archaic ballot access laws that prevent any dissenting third parties. And a complicit media that doesn’t disturb the status quo. That can’t happen in America, can it? Oh wait…it’s happened every four years as long as I can remember. Government is all about maintaining its power base. Do you think they would leave their fates in the hands of the public they’re attempting to control? Not very likely. As another saying goes, “It’s not the people who vote that count; it’s the people who count the votes” (Joseph Stalin).
Finally, let’s address the idea of if you don’t vote, you have no right to complain. The thinking on this goes if you don’t bother to exercise your voting privileges, then you have forfeited your prerogative to complain about the results. This seems to make sense, and I’ve used this line many times before. However, if you take the time to consider what is being said, you will realize that the logic of that sentiment is completely backwards. Voting is a sign of consent. If you vote for a candidate, you are giving your tacit approval and consent to what they do and how they govern. If they begin to govern in a way that displeases you, you have no right to complain because your vote helped to give them their mandate! Perhaps a little more time vetting the candidates before granting them your consent would have been in order? Now I fully understand that vetting candidates is time consuming because the candidates will say anything necessary to get your vote and the media are more like propaganda arms for the state than objective news reporting agencies. However, before you exercise your solemn voting franchise, you need to do your homework! Most people, sorry to say, are too busy or too lazy to do their homework.
The thing that bothers me the most is when people vote against a candidate rather than for a candidate. Most conservatives I know are voting for Romney because he’s not Obama; they’ve adopted an ABO (Anybody But Obama) approach. They will vote for Romney even though he’s not their ideal candidate because they feel Obama to be much worse. They’ll say it’s voting for the lesser of two evils. New flash!!! Voting for the lesser of two evils is still evil! I would rather vote third party or not vote at all than give my consent to someone I didn’t feel strongly about. My conservative friends respond by saying that a vote for a third party candidate (or a “no” vote) is a vote for Obama. Sorry to burst your bubble, but no it’s not! If I vote for a third party candidate, say libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, it’s a vote for Gary Johnson, not Obama. If I wanted to vote for Obama, I would vote for Obama. If there were no candidate worthy of me giving my consent to govern, then I choose to not exercise my vote; doing so is a vote for nobody!
I think electoral politics is a dying animal in its death throes. Consider that voter turnout decreases every election cycle. Granted, more people turnout for the presidential elections than they do for the midterms, but historically voter turnout has been dwindling for some time now. Since 1968, no presidential election has gotten more than 60% of the voting public to come to the polls. Midterm elections can’t even get over 40%. For the 2008 election, roughly 132 million people out of 231 million turned out to vote (about 57%). Of those voters, Obama received 70 million votes (or 53% of the vote). Yet if you take into consideration all the people who didn’t vote, Obama only got 30% of eligible votes; hardly a mandate in my book! 70% of eligible voters either didn’t vote for Obama or didn’t vote at all! I think more people should consider not voting, or if you feel compelled to vote, vote for a third party candidate. If more and more people make a statement that they no longer wish to give their consent to this “band of thieves writ large,” maybe we might actually see some significant change occur. Withdraw your consent from the government and refuse to take part in the sacrament of the state religion. The less people vote for these gang of crooks, the less significant they will become.
Libertas Aut Mors!