Monday, November 03, 2008

Not Votin'

In the comment thread of a recent post here, two people for whom I have vast respect took me gently to task for its content -- specifically, I think, for the sarcastic tag line that I used in closing: "Be sure to vote, now. Voting changes things." Both commenters imply that I'm suffering from apathy.

I don't want to be misunderstood: apathy (1 : lack of feeling or emotion : impassiveness; 2 : lack of interest or concern : indifference) is not my problem in the American political context.

Apathy is why I don't go online and vote for the newest "American Idol." Apathy is why I don't send in a ballot for players to be named to the major-league basball all-star team. These are things that I don't care about at all, and that do not affect me.

The buffoons, the wannabe tyrants, and the real for-sure tyrants who infest positions of political power in America: those folks do indeed have a great, and baleful, effect on me. They rob me materially; they usurp my liberties; and they commit mass murder in my name, making bitter and dedicated enemies for me all over the globe. Then, adding insult to manifold injuries, they seek to subvert my will through childish sales tricks. Rather than simply ask, do you want to buy the car?, they instead ask, would you rather have it in blue or green? We're never asked whether we consent to the hypertrophied welfare/warfare state; instead, we're asked which of two essentially-identical managers we prefer.

And I would like to suggest that, each time we make that choice, we're seen as endorsing the basic system. We're giving it a spurious legitimacy. Suppose that there's a miraculous 100% voter turnout tomorrow. Whichever of Oh-Bomb-'Em or McInsane is elected, he'll be able to claim a mandate.

I think a much more useful outcome tomorrow would be a zero-percent turnout. To me, that would be an eloquent statement that we the people have no further interest in the rancidly maggot-corrupt "two-party system," and that we correctly regard it as illegitimate. Next would be a general refusal to pay taxes, serve in the armed forces or police, or to heed any orders or instructions from any who do participate in the State's uniformed murder gangs. I don't think there'd be much bloodshed. I think the hollow and rotted corpse of the state would pretty much collapse soggily in place.

Not that I think any such thing's going to happen this year, or next ... I don't. But, as the economy collapses into the swamp of debt, the chances are getting at least a little bit better. Meanwhile, I'll do what I can: I'll tell the truth as I see it; and I'll make fun of our supervisors as the opportunity presents itself, which is practically all the time. And I'll deliberately, intentionally, and passionately refuse to play my assigned part -- one of the 300 million or so "extras" -- in Tuesday's farce. Not that I'm any better than those who do vote -- far from it; I've voted, oh, something like half a hundred times myself. But, like smoking, it's a bad idea; and I do believe I'm quitting.


itsmecissy said...

Not so much apathetic as politically estranged.

I can not agree that Libertarians (lower case or upper case, I always get it wrong) are correct in their philosophy of virtual no government is best. We do live in a society and as members of a society we must have protection for those whom capitalism casts aside.

Libertarians need to stop pretending that if we lower taxes enough everything else will turn out okay. HELLO, hasn’t it become increasingly clear that economic freedom does NOT lead to social freedom?

If you’ve traveled beyond the Atlantic and Pacific in the past eight years, then you know how badly America needs a makeover. We need a leader who will restore the goodwill we have lost when he raises his hand on January 20, 2009.

Isn’t that significant for those libertarians who believe in the importance of the nation most committed to free markets and free minds—ours—leading by example? Although, if our next President is allowed to appoint more judges like Alito and Roberts, there will be no liberty - for any of us - after that.

IMHO, Libertarian (and Republican, Democrat & Independent) voters have to get beyond personal biases and decide what direction they want our tenuous democracy to take. The libertarian party has always been taken for granted (mostly by the GOP) with phony rhetoric and empty phrases, so for me, this election is about the survival of our Constitution.

Hey, too bad there isn’t space on the ballot to write an explanation for our decision, not this multiple choice crap – LOL.

Mimi said...

Just voted for Nader because the war/agression/murder thing is paramount with me.
I do understand your reasons for not voting and believe they are legitimate. Guess I was just making a half-hearted gesture.
The fact is, I've become indifferent to the political thing which, as you point out, is just show biz, sales, business as usual and always will be. More serious than that, it is what drives the war machine which the owner of the blog "Fred On Everything" delineates a lot better than I can. See his essay of today.
We're screwed and there's no way to unscrew ourselves. I guess we just have to try to live as if we don't know that.

itsmecissy said...

This is my last comment on this topic and I'll start with an apology if I offend or anger anyone for what I am about to say:

There is no legitimate reason for not voting. Yes, you may choose not to exercise that franchise but if you choose not to vote, then you have automatically given a vote to the other guy. Voting for the lesser evil always gives a win to evil.

If you don't like the choices, then find someone you can support the next time around, and get out there and work your ass off for them.

As I said, if 100% of us voted, we can throw all the SOB's out and finally have choices who represent us, We The People.

Robert Enders said...

There are homeless shelters for those who cannot afford a home, soup kitchens for those who cannot afford food, and free clinics for those who cannot afford medicine. These are all we need in terms of a economic safety need, and they can easily be funded by voluntary, private donations.

Economic freedom and social freedom are two different things. One does not necessarily lead to the other. It is possible to have both, just as it is possible to have one without the other, and it is certainly possible to have neither. At one point in US history did we have either social or economic freedom?

I'll care what France thinks of US domestic policy if and when they are accepted into the Union and ratify the US Constitution.