Sunday, September 16, 2012

Citizenship And Reality

Please remember, mamas, that voting for anyone other than Barack Obama or Mitt Romney is, in effect, the same as a choice not to vote - except that it is one that will also possibly give an advantage to one of those two candidates (which one is pretty hard to say right now).  You may not like the real choices much, but they are far from the same guy and every responsible citizen must, at this point, choose to vote for one of them.

Personally, I would love to have a more parliamentary, coalition-y, less two-party system for certain, but we do not have one now and protesting that by wasting one's vote is childish.  Working for that system is valid and admirable, but wasting a vote in the election we have is not. Also, even in our two-party system there is a pathway for working to choose a candidate who is to one's liking:  the primary elections.  A citizen who is not happy with the choices in November but who did not work hard to try to get a better choice in the primaries has little about which to justly complain.

Politics is real life.  Every vote affects a real child.  Being disgusted with the system is no excuse for not meeting your responsibility to those children by doing what you can do, even if it is not all that you wish you could do.

6 comments:

Jenna Carodiskey-Wiebe said...

Sorry. I'm voting both FOR a candidate I believe in and AGAINST the two party system, and every time someone tells me that I'm throwing away my vote it just strengthens my resolve. I'm willing to take a short term risk that the "wrong" (or "more wrong") person gets voted in to work toward the long term goal of MORE real choices in our elected officials.

Lone Star Ma said...

There are many ways (mainly having to do with legislation regarding election funding, which is really what would have to change to make it happen, and which has little to do with the presidency and everything to do with Congress) to work towards that system without throwing away your vote on someone who cannot win this time. It's a good goal and cause (in my opinion), but voting for someone who cannot win does not bring the system any closer to it - does not, really, have anything to do with it, even - if you understand what is preventing it now. I don't think you'll be convinced by me, of course, but I hope you will do some research into viable methods of moving towards a more parliamentary system, if that is what you want, because voting for a third party candidate of any stripe is not a viable method. I think it is more important to take practical steps in the direction that lead to one's goals than to do things that feel good philosophically but do not, in actuality, advance those goals.

Anonymous said...

You live in Texas and so do I. Your vote will NOT make a difference to whether Obama or Romney is elected and it WILL give Obama the idea you support his drone warfare, his not prosecuting bankers, his tarsands pipeline, etc. Only when enough people vote for a third party candidate (ABSTAINING from voting IS a really stupid idea) will we be able to put pressure on anyone.

There is NO risk of "electing the wrong person" if you live in this state and you should use your vote for good. (Of course, it is even more important to vote in the down-ballot races.)

It is NOT a "practical step in the direction to lead to one's goals" to vote for Obama in Texas, though I'll concede it might be in say Nevada.

Anonymous said...

And as to "A citizen who is not happy with the choices in November but who did not work hard to try to get a better choice in the primaries has little about which to justly complain." -- well I did what I could to get someone to primary Obama including contributing to a bus ad in Washington urging that.

Anonymous said...

That said, your LOCAL activism is by far the most effective thing you can do, far more important than your vote -- however you vote.

Hats off to you and I applaud and admire you.

Mind you, I too am hoping Obama wins, I just think it's a big mistake to VOTE for him in Texas. But not that big a mistake, and inconsequential compared to your important, concrete, local work.

Lone Star Ma said...

It is true that Texas is not an extremely hopeful spot for Obama by any stretch, but not quite as true as you think, Anonymous. It's closer than it has been in years and this is probably the last presidential election in which Texas will be a red state, with the demographic shifts we are seeing.

Also, the presidential election provides a lot of momentum in more liberal enclaves of Texas for the Congressional and other races and it is really important to get rid of Republicans like Farenthold (who wants to abolish the EPA, funding for women's health programs, health care reform and public education funding) who CAN be defeated in South Texas. It is just not that simple - so many races rely on each other when it comes to getting out the vote.

For that matter, while I could vote for say, a Green, in a more parliamentary system, the US on the whole is not me and is not interested in Greens. I am on the extreme left - today's Republican Party is on the extreme right - Obama and most Americans are way in the middle. Aside from the Greens, I've yet to find third party candidates who I liked even as much as the Democrats. "Enough Americans" will never vote for a third party candidate while elections are funded the way they are funded. That is where the changes would have to happen and it is much more likely to change through Congressional races.

That said, here in Texas, my phone banking and block walking will be mainly local, for sure. It will hardly matter who the President is if the Republicans have a big majority in Congress. And I need a better mayor, myself! (Go, Nelda!)