Today I was chatting with a cyber friend - who is very into world events and very much globally politically aware and well really really smart. I have often been in awe of his overall smartness - until today he lays on me that he seldom votes. He said:
I refuse to assent the principle that (for example) either John Kerry or George Bush would be a good choice to lead the world.
and further he says...
What I am not willing to do is let my name be used to justified innumerable policies I despise.
Well let me to be the first to say that I think our current system is a bit on the broken side, it has flaws, the bi-partisan fighting is enough to choke me most days - but the fact remains our democratic system works best when we all participate. Furthermore, our system with flaws and all works better than say some of the alternatives - it allows us many freedoms and yet it requires of us certain responsibilities. Voting is one of them.
I strongly believe that if more than say 50% (in a good year) of the populace voted we might actually see some real change. I also think that if the majority - or better yet all Americans' voted - a 3rd party candidate might stand a real chance.
I am of the opinion that the only day your opinion really matters - is Election Day. On no other day is everyone tuned in and listening. I can rant and rave and write letters (and nasty blog entries) until the cows come home - but to effect real change - one has to be willing to exercise the rights granted to them - by getting off their asses and voting. A little grass roots political action might not hurt - but I would take voting on Election Day.
Did the non-voters out there - who share my friend's point of view ever stop to think that we are getting mediocrity, because the majority of Americans' expect so very little. They care so very little that do not bother to vote. They do not bother to be informed and vote. Being informed and ranting about how they dislike the system does very little.
Did I love John Kerry? No not really. Did I vote him, you bet your ass! I like him a lot more than I liked GW. I still like him more than GW. I like the man who collects my garbage more than I like GW. Did I feel like once again I was voting for the lesser of 2 evils - you bet your ass I did - but bottom line - those were the choices before me and it is my right, my duty, my responsibility to vote.
This season - I am unimpressed by anyone candidate or pairing of candidates - but I will be voting in the primary and then come November I will vote again - hoping that it is for who I think can do the best job - but knowing that it is just as likely I will be voting again for who can screw it up the least.
Either way I will be counted and I will be voting - because I can and many a person has died protecting this privilege or worse yet trying to exercise this privilege in other parts of the world.
Is it not one of the reasons GW gave for invading Iraq and putting countless young men and women's lives at risk - to spread Democracy. Well I for one - while I maintain the War is a cover for many things rather undemocratic - still believe that should the factions in Iraq get it together - the right of all citizens to vote is an important. It will be a small success. We would do well to remember that one here at home.