Monday, October 13, 2008

Why vote?

Here's a letter from a college student, a fellow taking one of those not very cool or practical humanities majors, who has been thinking hard about why voting matters. We can all listen up [my emphasis added]:

I've heard people say they don't plan on voting, which surprises me because of the naivete and lack of responsibility this shows. Yeah, the system sucks. We all know it. But the notion that you can change this system by being hip and anti-establishment and refusing to vote is a terrible argument with no legs to stand on. I see this as being complicit [in] the system.

First of all, this isn't just about the Presidency. There are other things to vote on, and sometimes we forget this. Proposition 8 has been going different ways in different polls. If you care that a proposition backed largely by out-of-state interests could pass to keep certain people getting married in California, then go vote.

You don't have to vote for the presidency. And if you aren't sure, fine, don't make a choice. It is perfectly valid to not make a line on that question at all. In fact, if you showed up and turned in a blank vote, it would be better than not voting at all.

So vote on those things you are educated about, and don't think you have to just choose randomly or not vote because you don't know all the issues.

And by the powers of greyskull, vote even if you don't want to choose between McCain and Obama. Though I have no idea why you wouldn't have a choice.

This is California, go ahead and vote for a third party presidential candidate. You won't be spoiling the electoral votes for Obama.

But, if you vote in Ohio or other battleground state, please do not vote for a third party. There is a responsible way to work within the flawed system to minimize harm. I don't think that is a hard concept to understand, since it's how American life is on a large scale.

And the whole "my vote doesn't matter" idea is just... arrrgghhh that's stupid. That's like saying "it doesn't matter that all the products I buy are made in sweatshops, because even if I didn't, they still would be." It's too convenient to forget that groups are made up of individuals. If everyone who said their vote didn't count voted, they would count! Just like if everyone stopped buying unfairly produced products, the market would change.

...Go vote, instead of standing by while a disproportionate number of elderly conservative white people decide who I can marry...

As a wise politico wrote today, with three weeks to go, " ... winning teams don't relax when they are up 10 points with halfway to go in the fourth quarter. Instead, the goal should be to run up the score."

1 comment:

Kay Dennison said...

Excellent message here!!!!!!!

The nice thing about being a humanities major is that you learn logical and critical thinking. It doesn't sell in a world that doesn't make sense. Sigh.

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