November 7, 2014
On November 5th, upon waking to discover the results of the 2014 elections, Conservatives and Republicans gloated in rapturous revelry, Democrats and Liberals pined and lost their cool on social media, and the vast majority of Americans didn’t really care one way or the other. In fact, one would hazard a guess that many Americans had absolutely no clue as to what actually happened on November 4th.
Despite the reactions of American voters – either elated or dejected after the election results came in – the truth is that the results don’t actually matter in terms of how the country will be run. My proof for this claim? Democrats and Republicans were elected. That should be proof enough.
Every election cycle, parties change positions and immediately begin to enact the very same policies they were elected to stop. Democrats support war, GMOs, Wall Street and the police state and Republicans pretend to oppose it (sort of). Elect Republicans and Republicans then support war, GMOs, Wall Street and the police state while Democrats pretend to oppose it (sort of). The American people, baffled by television programs, mainstream news, entertainment, and sports, scarcely recognize the fact that the entire political paradigm that they have bought into, as well as their own ideals, did an about face right before their eyes.
In other words, the 2014 elections mean nothing except that Republicans can now do exactly the same thing Democrats have done for the last few years and subsequently take the blame until it is time for the Democrats to take the position back in the future.
Voting has become a ritual performed every number of years where two piles of shit are presented to the American people and the voters are to decide which pile of shit they prefer to eat for the next 4 to 6 years.
But the 2014 elections do present an interesting question – “Why vote?” Or, better yet, “Should I vote at all?”
There are generally two answers to this question that crop up again and again. The “Yes” camp generally trots out the tired saying “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain” and the argument of choosing between the lesser of two evils.
The “No” camp generally responds with the argument that there is no point in voting since, no matter who is elected, the victors only implement the policies of the defeated. They say that voting gives credence to a broken system and that taking part only legitimizes this system. In other words, “Don’t vote. It only encourages them.”
So which side is right?
The “Yes” camp admittedly has very little in the way of evidence to back up their argument. The tired slogan of “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain,” is indeed nothing more than a slogan pushed to promote the idea that the sum total of activism and vocalization of grievance is pushing a button along with millions of others.
It’s also wrong.
I have every right to complain whether I vote or not. Why? Because I am an American citizen. I have the 1st Amendment. So, quite plainly, I will complain as much and as loudly as I want with no strings attached.
As for choosing the lesser of two evils, the net result of such a philosophy is that you are guaranteed an outcome that provides you with evil. If voters are afraid that, if they do not vote for Party A, then Party B, which is even worse than Party A, will win the election, we can only respond by evaluating how well that strategy has worked in the past. Taking a look at Presidents, Senators, Representatives, Governors, and Mayors that have been elected in modern times, one can only say that history demands a new strategy. So long as Americans continue to do what they have always done, they will get what they have always got.
Taking all of this into consideration, the “No” camp may seem like it has more evidence in its favor. However, the truth of the matter is that those who have vowed to abstain from voting entirely are as useless as those who are determined to pick the lesser of two evils.
Voting, in general, is indeed an exercise in futility. But there are times when voting is a necessary and prudent exercise. Despite the well-deserved cynicism that the voting process has earned, there are occasionally decent candidates who are not part of the establishment and who, despite a few differences, are generally interested in doing what they can to bring about a better world. These individuals, who have put themselves willingly into the blood and sand of the arena, deserve the support of the people they are trying to work for. The very least that one can do is go to the polls and push a button. Thankfully, that process is very much like working a television remote which Americans will be quite familiar with.
There are also local referendums that involve local ordinances and even larger public referendums like the recent ones that took place in Oregon, California, Colorado, and Hawaii. The reason that the temporary ban on GMO cultivation in Hawaii and California succeeded was because of the dedication and hard work of individuals who fought to have the issue on the ballot and to educate the general public as to the necessity to pass it. The measures also succeeded because a majority of voters went to the polls and pushed a button.
Thankfully for the people of Maui and Humboldt county, the “holier than thous” did not abstain en masse and allow the measure to be defeated. Had they done so, the “holier than thous” would undoubtedly have used the defeat to argue for why they do not vote.
The fact is that Oregon and Colorado will continue to witness GMO crops being cultivated in and around their communities. Very soon, Maui and Humboldt county will not. Maui and Humboldt will not be forced to live next to GMO fields because activists and voters literally did the least they could do and put their fingers to a button on a touch screen.
An activist that desires to change the world but who refuses to vote when a suitable candidate appears or when an important referendum is added to the ballot is an activist who engages in his activism with one hand tied behind his back.
This article is by no means an endorsement of the status quo. Is it true that the vast majority of political candidates and election races are not worth driving to the polls or even pushing a button? Of course it is.
Is it true that many elections are rigged through fraud and computer voting? Absolutely.
But isn’t it also true that the possibility exists to win elections and referendums through the voting process? Isn’t true that, while literally the least one can do, voting is still one more avenue to engage in activism and attempt to steer an erring ship in the right direction? Of course it is.
The fact is that, in order to bring about effective change, we must wise up and become street smart as to political games, the mindset of the people, and the most effective strategy to combat the world oligarchy. Protests, boycotts, general strikes, building our own community systems ourselves, and many other techniques and methods including voting should be analyzed and then utilized for this purpose.
We should leave no stone unturned in order to eliminate oligarchical rule in the United States and the rest of the world. Knee-jerk reactions have no place in true revolution.
If you are faced with no choice at all. Stay home.
If you have a suitable candidate or an important referendum. Vote.
The answer to the question “Should I vote at all?” is quite simple . . . . . it depends.
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