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06 September 2008

On Voting

Why I Vote
Some of you who know me or who have been reading this blog on a regular basis may be asking yourselves why I don't give up on the U.S. Political system all together or why, as an avowed anarchist, I continue to vote. It's really very simple. As far as I'm concerned, we need to use every tool for change that we have no matter how seemingly useless and ineffective it may be. Not casting a vote, even as a form of protest, doesn't do anything to change the status quo. Those who refuse to vote are merely lumped together as people who simply don't care and their silence causes no stir in the vast political machinery. By voting, on the other hand, I can at least put my voice into the din, knowing full well that it won't get heard, but perhaps having some minor effect.

A Brief Interlude
In his sociological study of the Holocaust (Modernity and the Holocaust), Zygmunt Baumann found that the Nazis used a peculiar, but ingenious tactic to get the Jews to do what they wanted. Rather than simply forcing them to move to ghettos, turn in their comrads, pack themselves onto cattle cars, and walk quietly into the death showers, the Nazis offered them choices. "You can either move to ghettoes, or we'll destroy you all." "You can either turn in a few of your comrads or we'll destroy you all." "You can either get on the cattle cars or we'll destroy you all." "You can either walk quietly into the shower or we'll destroy you all." And so by continually choosing the "least bad" option, the Jewish people were lead to their own slaughter.

Why I Vote the Way I Do
Having explained why I choose to vote, let me go on to explain why I vote the way I do. I refuse to vote for either of the two major parties (Democrats and Republicans). The reason is that they are both heavily invested in the status quo. Barack claims to be the agent of change and hope, but I seriously doubt it - you can't get as high as he has in the Democratic party if you're trying to stir up waves (just look at Cynthia McKinney and Dennis Kucinich). I want to see some serious changes made in this country, and I think that there are a lot more people out there who feel the same as me. The problem is that most people have been lead into believing that they have to vote for the "least bad" candidate so that life will at least be reasonable for a little while.
In this election I will vote for the Green party. I don't expect McKinney to win, but I hope that she will at least get the 5% of the vote that she needs to get the Green Party status as a major party in the U.S. If that happens, then they get access to government funding, and they will have to be admitted to the debates. We will finally have a multiple party system with a genuinely viable option for change. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans want this to happen, so they have done everything they can to prevent it - including passing laws to limit third party funding. It's time to realize that the Democrats will not give us what we want (corporate accountability, national health care, sound environmental policy, etc.), they are just as heavily nvested in the economic system as the Republicans. The only difference between the two is that the Democrats are willing to make some minor concessions to keep us happy.

A very few Jews during the Holocaust realized that there was a third option. Instead of choosing the "least bad" choice that was presented to them by the Nazis, they choose not to comply - even to fight. Now I'm not saying that the Democrats and the Republicans are Nazis - it's an extreme example of a common situation. What I'm saying is that if we continue to simply choose the "least bad" of the choices that are put in front of us then we are going to march ourselves right into our own demise. We have to stand up, we have to fight, and we can't be afraid to use every single tool we have to make some real changes.


emmett said...

Jeremy, you could not have said this at a better time. I recently began an International Relations class, where in every friday we discuss an arrangement of articles from the economist that we independently read during the previous week. On the past two fridays we have discussed Barack, on the former, and John on the last. Through this I have learned more of both of them. I respect John McCain more as a person than I do Barack Obama, simply because he refuses to speak with anyone without organizing it with his PR guy first, and because he is almost as pro-war as McCain. McCain I was thinking would be a better candidate, but even though he's a better person, his policies are all the opposite of my own, and those are what really count in the initial decision on who to vote for. Now, obviously I won't be of age for my voice to be minuscule recognized by the time of november. but even so, I am agreeing with you very much on this point, and might very well vote for Green, or another third party. I had it in mind at times that we have to stay in Iraq until it is stable, but the reason there's all this bloodshed while we're there and by our men, is because there are foreign invaders. They don't want white people there that don't speak there language and abuse them. The two best possible things would be either to SOMEHOW get Iran to take over the peacekeeping, and then leave, or just leave. Since Iran will never do that, we simply have to leave and except there will be a bloodbath, but we as the american people will no longer be wasting money and human lives on utter stagnation. Voting green is something that had never occurred to me before, but it's a very intelligent decision on your part my friend, and I will be bringing it up in class tomorrow.
By the way, I lent a copy of Brazil to my teacher, and hopefully we'll be watching it in class at some point.

Jeremy Trombley said...

Emmett, I'm glad you're thinking twice about accepting the two choices laid in front of you. I'd be interested to hear what your teacher had to say about voting green or voting for any third party. I'd also love to hear about watching Brazil in class. It's a fantastic movie - "The Iron Cage of Bureaucracy!"

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