Posts Tagged ‘Voting’
Posted on August 22, 2012 at 3.17 pm
Q. Your voting philosophy appears to be, if there aren’t any toys I like then I’m not going to play. What if most people followed your advice. Is it a democracy if only a minority of people participate? Do the thousands of people (women, minorities, non-landholding whites) who died, suffered, or were for hundreds of years discriminated against as they fought for the opportunity to have an equal political voice in this country give you any motivation to not tell people, ‘it’s okay not to vote’? – codegakiwi, from tumblr.
A. 1. The presidential election is not the only election in the country. I have voted multiple times for state and local elections.
2. It’s already not a democracy; and it never has been. It’s a federal republic with a number of both democratic elements and features intended to prevent the tyranny of simple majority rule.
3. Already only a minority of people participate — usually just over 50% of eligible voters (which does not include all citizens) during presidential elections, and around 1/3 of eligible voters in off years.
4. It is ok not to vote, and it has nothing to do with the difficulty with which the right was won. Many of the rights and liberties we now enjoy have historically been hard-won at some point or another; that doesn’t mean we should use them in terrible ways. If anything, it means we should exercise our right to vote more wisely and thoughtfully — which may sometimes mean choosing not to vote. I 100% support universal suffrage; what I don’t support is universal obligation to cast a vote in a corrupt system which offers no real choice. Because, you see…
5. …not voting is, ultimately, also casting a vote. It’s a vote which says, “These options suck, and I’m not going to give you my support until you can come up with an option which deserves it.” Some countries (and even places in the U.S.) have a “None of the Above” option on the ballot. We don’t get that choice when voting for president. If we did, I’d go to the ballot box and check it off. Absent that opportunity, not voting is as close as I can get. Indeed, “Since we aren’t being offered any really meaningful choice, let’s not lend credence to the pretense that we are.”
Posted on April 9, 2012 at 8.45 pm
Q. I’ve been having some issues lately. In the coming election, it is becoming more and more obvious that Ron Paul will likely not receive the Republican nomination for the presidency, and this has led me to be indecisive. I am not a fan of Mitt Romney, or of Rick Santorum, but I’m not a fan of Barack Obama either. I tend to side more with the Democratic sides of issues, with the exception of the things that I dislike in both parties. I’d like to vote, obviously, but I don’t know what to think. ??? – shakeandjake2010, from tumblr.
A. Well, that’s a question for you to weigh thoughtfully, but ultimately not to lose sleep over.
Sleep is really important.
Here are some questions I suggest asking yourself:
- Do you think your vote matters?
- If so, does it matter to you, or does it matter to the election?
- If not, why?
- Are some issues more important to you than others?
- Do you trust Barack Obama to do what the campaign rhetoric you like says he will do?
- How much evil are you willing to accept because it’s less evil than the alternative?
- Regardless of your answer to that first question, are you committed to voting?
- Does a write-in vote “count”?
- Does a third party vote “count”?
- Which is more important: Voting, or voting on principle?
- Which is more important: Voting, or not voting on principle?
- More bluntly, which is more important: Voting or principle, plain and simple? If they conflict — and from what you’re saying, they will for you — do you want the “I voted” sticker, or do you want to stick to your guns?
Personally, I will do what I did in 2008: Voted for Ron Paul in the primaries; researched the candidates for lower offices in the general; voted for the local, state, and congressional candidates worth supporting based on that research; and in the cases (like the presidential race) where there is no one I could vote for in good conscience, left it blank.
So that’s me. What you do will probably depend on how you answer a bunch of those questions above.
Posted on December 3, 2010 at 11.45 am
Q. My Tumblr shows pretty clearly that I’m also a Libertarian (it’s entitled Libertarian Conservatism). I was wondering, do you tend to side with Republicans or Democrats? Social Libertarians swing left and to the Democrats, whereas economic Libertarians swing right to the Republicans (typically, of course). Do you tend to swing to one party or another when you look at elections, or is it different each time? Thanks for answering! — Alexander Holzbach, from tumblr.
A. And thank you for the question!
I’m not sure I can say that I “typically” go one way or the other, given the extremely small sample size of elections in which I’ve been able to vote (2006, 2008 primaries and general, 2010).
In 2006, I was away at college and dutifully mailed in my absentee ballot to Maryland. To be honest, I have absolutely no recollection of who or what was on that ballot. In the 2008 primaries, I made sure I was registered Republican for Maryland’s closed primary system and cast my absentee ballot for Ron Paul, obviously a Republican. For the 2008 general, I couldn’t stomach voting for either presidential candidate, so I didn’t vote for that office. Likewise the congressional race in my district. I did, however, mail in my ballot anyway because it had on it my choices for some local races in which I don’t even think parties were really involved.
During the 2010 elections, I had chickenpox and so did not leave the house. Even if I had, however, I doubt I would have voted given the absence of a really compelling candidate.
All that said, it does seem to be the case that many in the “liberty movement” tend to favor working within — or co-opting, if you will — the GOP on the argument that though the party itself is just as statist as the Democratic Party, the people on the grass-roots level tend to be more interested in limited government than the average Democrat would be. I’m torn on this matter because while I understand the practicality of needing to work within one party to concentrate and unify our efforts, picking the GOP means we tend to downplay issues of foreign policy and civil liberties to focus on economics. Of course, picking the Democrats would just do the reverse.
So yeah. I don’t know. I like writing, not activism.