So another election is upon us. The question becomes: is it better to vote or not to vote?
I run this particular question through my own filter. And my answer is:
Depending on the election, I have frequently sent in ballots with many blanks, or nonsensical write-ins instead of the listed candidates. I always do send in a ballot.
The first question I asked myself is: do I know anything about the issue I’m voting on?
Typically, I do know. I have to admit that I know, because of my line of work and the fact that I’m a political junkie, at least something about most of the issues that are confronting us on the ballot.
The second question? Do I know enough to make an informed decision?
On occasion, some of this stuff is so arcane, that few can understand it. And like many, my knee-jerk reaction to an issue I do not understand is to either vote “no”, or not vote at all.
The third question? Of the candidates presented, who do I vote for?
While for some years now I’ve been avoiding voting merely because of a party label, I’ve come to find out in my time in the political realm that party labels are meaningless. I’m much more concerned about individuals in their positions, regardless of party.
During the last election cycle, I strongly opposed then-Commissioner Marc Boldt’s reelection to the County commission. Even though Marc is my brother-in-law, I simply could not abide with his leftist politics. So the fact that he made the fallacious claim that he was still a Republican was more a fantasy on his part that a reality on mine. (But because he is my brother-in-law, I could not vote against him either. So in that particular part of the ballot, I wrote in Abraham Lincoln or something to that effect. That is not to say that I now oppose Commissioner David Madore; on the contrary, I strongly support most of what he’s doing. I believe that much of it needs to have been done for years. The current brouhaha about Madore’s efforts is just leftist whining that essentially is baseless and groundless.)
For example, in the last election, I wrote in bizarre names for Governor, Lt. Governor., Attorney General, Lands Commissioner, Secretary of State, and so forth. Because frankly, I didn’t want any of them. I’m too old and too cynical and to dispossessed by my own former party to give a damn about the issue of party labels.
Our current Congresswoman claims to be a Republican… Yet she had no problem throwing us under Obama’s bus the other day when she voted in support of Obama care against the overwhelming wishes of her own constituency. So if, as an alleged Republican, she is going to politically betray us… Then what the hell difference does is it make what Party she’s in?
Ultimately, far too many of us vote based merely on the 100 or 200 word statements contained within the voter pamphlet. For most of us, it’s not important enough to research the issues, or the people or their voting records. In fact, just for one example, the last time we had a countywide election for County assessor, Peter Van Nortwick’s opponent, it turns out, had not voted in the entirety of her life. And that was so meaningless to the local excuse of a newspaper that they endorsed her anyway. (She lost)
Tim “The Liar” Leave-it, commissar of Vancouver, also had an incredibly spotty voting record… for the most part, failing to vote over the last several years… Even while a Vancouver City Councilman. Of course, his voting record aside, Leavitt is unfit to be elected to dogcatcher, but the fact that he rarely bothered to exercise the franchise that so many of us sacrificed to provide him with is yet just another indication of how lightly he takes the privilege.
So, if you actually take the time to find out what the issues are that we’re going to be voting for and have some conversant knowledge of what those issues might actually be, then by all means, vote.
If you actually take the time to find out about the candidates that are up for election, something far beyond the voter pamphlet, something about their prior voting record, both in office and out of office, something about them as individuals, something about their position, something about their vision… then by all means vote.
But just about everyone reading this already knows: that is not the case. As voters, we’re frequently too lazy, or use the excuse we’re too busy, or we just simply vote a party line, is if the label actually has any meaning… when all too often, it does not.
And that’s why my response to the question: vote or not to vote? Is: “sometimes.”
If you’re blinded by partisan hackery, then don’t vote. If you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about, then don’t vote. If you use a dart board to decide who’s going to get your vote, then don’t bother. If you vote because a party organization, or a union, or a business, endorses the candidates in question?
Do us all a favor: don’t vote.
Use your head. Appreciate what others have died to provide you. Do not take this duty lightly. Be able to know and understand why you vote the way you vote for every issue that you vote on. Because if you can’t explain it, then you shouldn’t vote.
An ignorant voter, and so many are ignorant, can do more damage to this country than the wisest most educated voter by far.
Just look at who we have for president if you need an example.