During a recent email correspondence, a few things were said regarding Political idleness, voting for the lesser of two evils, and watching presidential debates. This sparked a little bit of political activism in me, and I thought I would share my response here. Comments are very welcome.
You are right about him knowing what he is talking about, but if you vote for some one that you know is not going to win, is that the same as not voting at all?
No, absolutely not. Voting for someone you know isn’t going to win is not at all the same as not voting at all. This country was not founded on this ridiculous concept of voting for ‘the lesser of two evils’. The founding fathers never had any intention of putting people in a situation where year after year, election after election, people felt like they had to vote for one of two candidates from one of two political parties. In fact, several of the founding fathers warned against allowing a party system to take such dramatic control of our Government.
Personally, I feel that the idea of ‘voting for the lesser of two evils’ is giving up, and losing hope. When a person does that, and they think that voting for someone who can’t win is the equivalent of voting for no one, clearly that person has lost all hope and faith in our democratic republic.
Your RIGHT to vote is YOUR opportunity, and in my opinion, your absolute duty to state who you think can lead this nation in the best direction possible. If you want to, you can lose hope and trivialize our right to vote, by gaming the system and voting for the lesser of two evils. Doing this helps to ‘accomplish’ something at all costs, but you pass up the opportunity to embrace all that your vote stands for in the first place. That’s not a sacrifice I’m willing to make.
In addition, it’s interesting to think about a lot of the reasons people feel like they need to vote for the lesser of two evils in the first place. You get to that point of hopelessness, where you feel all your options are lost. the only possible way you could make a difference at this point is by voting for the lesser of two evils. But it doesn’t have to be that way, and it wasn’t always that way, either. The funny thing about that, is that the primary driver for voting for the lesser of two evils is also the same reason for people not voting at all. They don’t feel they can make a difference.
The irony of feeling like you can’t make a difference in government, is that people only feel that way, because other people feel that way. Imagine a long rope tied to a car stuck in the mud. There are 30 people lined up all the way along the length of this rope, and everyone is pulling this car through the mud. As the car is being pulled, some people stop pulling. The work, the progress of the car, is slowed. The people next to them look over and say “Oh man, this is getting difficult!” And they let go. The people next to them are now bearing an enormous load. It is at this point, that people are looking left and right and realizing “No one is pulling! I can’t pull this by myself!” and they too, let go of the rope. A this point, only 10 people are pulling this car out of the mud, and the car is going hardly anywhere.
I don’t think I need to spell out the parallel to the lack of political activity in our government. People’s feeling that they can’t make a difference only exists because they, and the people next to them, are saying the same thing, and have resolved to stop pulling the car out of the mud. and stop voting. and stop writing their senators, congressmen, and local legislators and other representatives. That’s the true irony of our political inactivity and feeling of hopelessness.
It’s difficult, knowing how many people have stopped pulling the rope, to want to continue. And for those of us that do want to keep pulling, we want to make the biggest difference we can, so we vote for the lesser of two evils. I for one, and am ready to do what I need to and vote the way we were meant to. I’m going to vote for who I believe can lead me and the rest of the nation into furthering our pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.
I wish I could watch the debates tonight.
I used to feel that way – Now I’ve come to realize that the debates are nothing more than well orchestrated dog and pony shows. They contain very little unscripted content, and both parties agree to abide by a mutually written memorandum of understanding (a written agreement as the format, and often content of the debate). There is very little spontaneous thought or answers in the debates, and the 30 seconds for rebuttal are ridiculous. Our nation cannot be run or sustained on talking points, and that’s all the debates lend to. I would love to see a debate carried out over hours on a single topic, in which there is a demonstration of thorough understanding on the topic at hand. Unfortunately, that will never happen because both candidates, and even parties, have agreed to their own ‘gentlemens’ rules to ensure that one of them is always in the game. I don’t intend this to claim “conspiracy” or anything, I’m not going that far. But really? We can’t have a good old fashioned debate where things get heated, facts get said, and real ideas, solutions, and feelings are heard?
I bet you think I’m really crazy now!
Some people might say I’m ‘just an idealist’. The way I see it, there was a time when idealism was considered a virtue, not a weakness.