Monday, November 01, 2010

Vote (Or Shut Up)

That's the message on a button I wear this time of year. Pretty basic, I think. Vote…or shut up. You want a say? Get to the polls and pull a lever, complete an arrow, or (heaven help you), punch a chad. Whatever the manner, if you don't vote, you don't get a say. Complain, bitch and whine all you want…but, only your vote gets you the right to do any. Or, all three simultaneously.

Vote a party, if that suits you. Hopefully, your party-line vote allows you to best reflect your own personal convictions.

Pick and choose, if that's your bag. A little of this, a smattering of that…Libertarian here, Republican there, Green Party to spice things up.

Choice between two evils? *shrugs* Do your best, man. Sometimes, you gotta grit your teeth and allow that, hey, the dude runnin' for Governor on your preferred ticket is kind of a douchebag. What are the options? Vote a third party? I dunno…have your own conversations about electoral overhaul, voting systems, and siphoning votes from the two dominant parties. I myself did the Hokey Perot-key in '88. I remember that…and, of course, the Republican candidate. No memory at all of who the Democrats ran that year. Funny, isn't it? But, if you worry about vote-siphoning and all that jazz, then vote for the person you hate the least. That sucks, true. But, will the douchebag you DON'T like at least represent a platform that you more-or-less agree with? Consider the alternative: how would the OTHER douchebag handle things? You gotta consider that.

Vote your conscience. Vote your pocketbook. Vote your religion…even though those things are expressly separated by the First Amendment. (Something candidate O'Donnell seemed unaware of, even in the heat of debate. D'oh!) I'd love for you to vote for someone brilliant. (Reference the previous parenthetical remark.) I'd hate to think you're voting for someone you could "have a beer with." You got trouble finding someone to break brew with, that's a whole other kettle o'fish…your Senator/Governor/President shouldn't be included for consideration of a stool-mate.

Know what's going on with your Propositions and other ballot proposals. Understand that hyperbole runs high on all sides…it's up to you to understand the language, and to try to read between the lines. Some ballot proposal seem too impossible to vote against? That's exactly the one you need to re-read more carefully. Got a millage proposal tomorrow? Who benefits from that money? In the run-up to the proposal, did someone claim that money never received is a "loss"? That one really gets me: a local school board, who never had $500,000 to begin with, starts to describe that money as "lost" if constituents vote the millage down. *bzzzt!* Don't work that way! Thanks for playing, now get the fuck out.

Judges, especially "non-partisan" ones who don't run on a party platform: watch out for buzzwords and "code" language. Things like litmus test, or activist, or Constitutional interpretation. This is the way non-partisan candidates express their partisan credentials.

Don't like special interests or the gajillions of dollars they throw around like crazy? Join the club. Do I think that the person who spends the most money flat-out buys the election? Most of the time, you betcha. Who spends $100 million for a job that pays $175,000? Where could that money have gone to better use? Of course, it's not the salary…it's the power. It's the prestige. It's the "I'm CEO…bitch!" moment. But what's there to do? So far, I've not heard any serious candidate say "We need to eliminate all the lobbyists." Why not? 'Cause they all fuckin' use the lobbyist money! So, end of discussion, I guess.

The worst way to lodge your complaint is to not vote. Well…actually, I guess the ABSOLUTE worst way to lodge your complaint is to pick up a bunch a'fuckin' guns and go start shooting people in the name of a Second American Revolution. Setting that aside for all but the most seriously deranged, your biggest screw-up is to not vote. So…go vote. Or shut the fuck up.


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