Well, as I sit here and have heard the same political ads now for the five thousandth time, I am reminded of probably the most salient wisdom I ever heard about voting: if you don’t vote, don’t complain. While we may always have the constitutional right to gripe and complain, the moral high ground of griping and complaining about politics rests on whether or not you voted. I have been able to gripe about every politician in office and feel right about it because I vote. When I gripe about a politician it’s either because I didn’t vote for him and can say — see I told you so – or I did vote and want to tell him – hey you suck at your promises.
I suppose my perspective has also changed since holding public office and having to be the guy on the other side who needs votes to hold office. I often get complaints from people about the school I represent and one of the questions I ask from time to time is – did you vote? You can probably guess my frustration level when they say no. The thing that bothers me about this is I want to say: so now you care about the decisions your school board has made, but you didn’t care enough before to put the people in place that would be making those decisions.. Please don’t complain at that point and get active for the next election.
I don’t think a vote is wasted unless it is never cast. This is the only wasted vote to me. I have heard the argument about I don’t agree with any candidate so I am not voting but I find his a little foolish. By leaving it to default you also have given up your right to gripe when you do this. If there is at least two candidates then there is one of them that better represents your point of view than another. No one but you yourself will even match what you believe. so we are all in that boat in a representative democracy. I understand the frustration as a person who is libertarian in his politics, when you look down at your ballot and all you see is the same Coke or Pepsi choice between the forgetful elephants and the jackasses. However, one of those candidates represents me more than the other and I would rather have them than the one that represents me the least. Very few choices on a ballot don’t have this choice. This is even true for the non-partisan choices although you might have to dig a little more to get the information you need. Most decisions by these folks are a matter of public record so they can be looked up. All if my decisions are available at the school website if you look up the school board minutes from their meetings for instance. it is simple much easier to be an informed voter thanks to the internet.
The other issue is people believe in some conspiracy where votes don’t matter. Conspiracy theories are not something I will generally agree with and this one makes the least sense if follow the money. I mean why would both parties spend so much real money to cover a conspiracy that gains them little. Sorry there are too many independent people who watch these things and so while I do believe voter fraud exists, I think the idea of one great group of people controlling all of politics is a little much of a reach.
Now, I am going to defend those who vote for a third party candidate. This is not a vote that is wasted because it is a vote cast. You should always vote for the candidate that best represents you regardless of their party affiliation. If you don’t I have to question your character. It means you are more of a jack boot behind your party than one who is actually taking a stand for what you believe. So vote and vote your conscience.
Blessings and Cheers!