Why Vote?

Okay, so this topic might seem more appropriate for this November rather than right now. But I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently and wanted to go ahead and express my thoughts. Who knows? Maybe I’ll re-post this again closer to November.

If you’re like many of us, you may be horrified at the available choices for our next president. I suspect that’s true regardless of your party affiliation.

The people have supposedly spoken in the primary elections, but since there are no consistent requirements for how the primaries are handled or what the results actually mean, who knows whether the majority of Americans are actually in favor of the  presumed candidates for each party?

That puts many of us in a quandary. If we don’t like either candidate, why vote at all?

I like what a friend of mine shared about the way elections are held in Colombia, a nation in South America. If neither candidate gets a clear majority, voters at the poll get to demand that they be given different candidates to consider.

If I recall correctly, voting in Australia is legally required. A bit extreme for America’s tastes, perhaps. Being free to make a choice also requires the freedom not to have to.

And too many Americans are convinced either that their votes won’t make a difference OR they refuse to support an undesirable candidate in the hopes of defeating an even more undesirable one.

I recently saw what struck me as a rather exaggerated excuse. Something like “I wouldn’t vote for Hitler, would I?”

I wonder whether the people of Germany would’ve voted overwhelmingly for Hitler if they’d had their eyes open. And I wonder whether that may be the situation with this November’s election as well.

Both of the presumed candidates appear dangerous to me and to a number of other Americans. I’m not writing here to advocate either party or either candidate.

What I do want to do is encourage everyone to vote in November, no matter how reluctantly. Vote against the candidate you consider least desirable. But don’t let other people make your decision for you just because you don’t want to make it for yourself. The future of this nation is at stake, whether you realize it or not.

Two remarkable quotes come to mind. One is from physicist Albert Einstein. “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.”

The other is from theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

It’s interesting that two such different men–men from such different backgrounds–should say essentially the same thing.

Maybe you don’t care what Einstein and Bonhoeffer have to say, and you may not care about my opinion, either.

But if we end up with a dangerous president–perhaps I should say “the more dangerous president”–in the White House as a result of this November’s election, it won’t be because I didn’t do the research to choose who I think will be the more desirable person and go to the polls and vote for him or her.

It will be because of the individual Americans who–with each vote not cast–allow others to make the decision for them. Please don’t be one of them.

Donn Taylor, an author friend of mine, just had this letter to the editor published in his local newspaper in Texas. “Several letters recently have asked whether to vote or refrain from voting in the 2016 presidential election. To answer the question, I recommend the following guideline: When there’s no Messiah running, and only Barrabas and Judas Iscariot are on the ballot, we vote for Barrabas. Failing to vote has the same effect as voting for Judas. From that point it’s just a matter of identification.”

Are you planning to vote? Why or why note? How about leaving a comment?

~*~

Links you might be interested in:

I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

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5 thoughts on “Why Vote?

  1. I hate politics! I had to deal with it when my father was in politics. Groups wanting him to back them up, etc. Way too many crooks in it now. We do not plan on voting this year!

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  2. Today’s blog addition is very interesting. It cuts to the heart of the matter regarding our responsibilities as citizens. Who should we choose to be our leader?

    In many countries there is no choice. It’s a I-am-president-and-you-have-to-like-it- situation we see in many African and Asian countries.

    But in our neck of the woods we tend to think we have a certain power to decide who we will elect as our leader. I think the Democratic primaries have shed a bit of light on that false impression. The party decides who runs. It has a favorite son (or daughter) and pushes that person into position regardless of the votes cast. So in this respect, if you are a democrat, you know that your vote really doesn’t count. On the republican side it was the overwhelming majority of voters who rejected the favorite son and swept the hated one into position. If not for such an uncomfortable majority things would have been really different.

    We have a hugely polarized electorate. On the one had there are the supporters of Clinton and on the other hand the supporters of Trump and on the other hand people who feel frightened and sickened by both. I think the three hands are about equal. It’s a simple decision if one likes Clinton or Trump. You go in the voting booth, pull your lever and hope it’s your candidate who fleeces you for 4 years.

    But that 3rd group is kind of big this time. Sure, there have always been independents, dissidents who did not go with the flow. Always a few pip-squeaking outliers who would get trampled underfoot in the election, lost in the dust cloud of our two-part system.

    What to do? The jargon propagated by the system is, ‘’no matter what, VOTE’’, or ‘’vote for the candidate least liable to do harm.’’ Etc. They call it patriotic. The American thing. A privilege. An expression of our freedom. It’s all propaganda designed to give you the illusion you have some sort of power. Take this thought experiment: You are sitting at a table. On the table are two poisons: Sarin and Polonium. You have to decide which one to take. It is your duty as a citizen of this laboratory to take a poison. What do you do?

    Obviously, you don’t want to die, but you are told it’s your duty to pick. Do you pick? In my case I do not pick. If I am forcefully injected that’s one thing. I am against killing myself. What do I do? I ask for an alternative. Can I choose something to my liking? Why not? I say it is wrong to ask me to do something against my person. I will not willfully choose a harmful substance just because I am given no alternative. It is a question of conscience.

    The error of our system first is that it is a representative democracy. Second, it is controlled by a party system, whose members have created laws to help it achieve its goals while hindering other legitimate alternatives. Third, it gives no recourse to a majority of voters who are not in agreement with the people who are offended by the so-called choices.

    What to do in the case of Clinton or Trump. I do not advise suicide by self-poisoning. If you have the wherewithal to start a movement against the system like was done in the 60’s during the Vietnam war, then do it. Otherwise you have to buck-up and endure. And I tell you if either of these guys get in we are in for a doozey.

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  3. Tom, I’ve read your response at least three times now. Quite intriguing.Especially the comparison with the poisons. I would be all for the right third party candidate if I weren’t afraid it would guarantee the election of….okay, I’m not going to say which poison I most don’t want to have to ingest. To have a chance, I think a third party candidate would have to draw voters from both parties. Back to the poisons, though–I would favor the poison I thought might have the fastest acting antidote–or for which an antidote would be found in time first.

    I’m extra tired today, so forgive me if I’m not thinking well. In fact, barely thinking at all, probably. *G*

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  4. Actually, for now it’s a secret, but of either of the poisons to get elected I hope it’s Trump. He’s the least negative even though he’s a raving, preening, so-full-of-himself boob. I think highly of myself but he’s got it all over me in the pride and self-delusion department. Hillary is just a bag stuffed with bad things or should I say a pantsuit stuffed with ugly, hateful things. If she wins it is definitely over for the US. If you think Obama is bad, she’s Satan’s little helper. The problem with Trump: he speaks. I can’t help but think he doesn’t really mean everything he says. However, I don’t think he understands everything he says either. SO it’s a quandary.

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  5. I’m with you, friend. I couldn’t have said it better myself. As for Hillary, I expect to see her in jail yet. If only the investigation takes long enough for Obama not to have a chance to pardon her first. *sigh*

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