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Votes Matter

This week, I have been talking a lot about politics since the President has announced (to no one’s surprise) that he is running for President. I am critical of President Obama and I will probably not vote for him. Among the many massages I have gotten on this subject has been from people who tell me that my vote doesn’t matter anyway.

Whenever I get those messages from people that my vote doesn’t matter, I am always curious as to what exactly they mean. On the one hand, they could mean that both candidates are so similar that we would be in the same place regardless of who won. While I can understand this position, it can be shown that this is in fact not the case. There are extremely different agendas and interests between the two parties and the two party candidates. As much as I have issue with Obama, he is different than Bush. These two Presidents are different. So it cannot be said factually that both parties are the same.

On the other hand, what most of those who claim that my vote doesn’t matter seem to mean is that the elections are fixed and that my vote literally doesn’t matter. This view is basically claiming that there is some vast conspiracy of super rich people who control the outcome of the election and that we as voters are mere pawns. Our vote only serves to make us feel like we have control when we don’t.

This is of course absurd. It is New World Order/Illuminati crap. Rich people don’t gather at Bohemian Grove to discuss how they are going to take over the world and who should be President this time around. They meet there to network and talk to people they can relate to.

The fact is that voting matters. The same system that is in place to count the votes for school board is in place to count the votes for President. So unless someone is suggesting that the school board races are fixed too, it is obvious that the vote is not fixed.

Not only does voting matter, but votes matter. Votes are valuable and it bothers me when people try to devalue the vote in some form or another. This is why I take issue with the idea of “runoff voting.” This is the idea that you vote for a first choice candidate and a second choice candidate, etc. and as each one becomes less viable, your vote switches automatically to your next choice. No, votes matter. You vote for one candidate that you like and that is your candidate. I don’t support diluting the vote.

Also, candidates don’t own your vote; you do! They have to earn your vote. Your vote is valuable and if you pledge to give it away to just about anyone, then you are diluting the value of your own vote. Right now, the 2012 election is still a long time away. You can go ahead and give your vote away for practically nothing or you can use the value of your vote as leverage to force a politician to support your causes. Many Democrats have pledged the former and I am firmly demanding that we do the latter.

Your vote matters. Your vote is valuable. Don’t give it away for nothing in return. Don’t sell your vote short!

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  • kirk

    The same logic that drives ‘voting doesn’t matter’ drives ‘committing suicide doesn’t matter’. True, there will still be plenty of other people still alive after I kill myself or plenty of people voting if I don’t vote. But discipline and practice are what drive behaviors. As more and more people practice ‘i could give a shit’ then things gradually get worse and worse. This is not a slippery slope trope – if I don’t exercise I loose muscle mass, if I eat too much I get fat. As a serious and constant voter I could rejoice that the lumpen proletariat don’t vote since it makes my vote count even more. But this is like the herd immunity from vaccinations. We are all better off with the practice and the discipline. Plus every person I know that doesn’t vote is as dumb as a bag of rocks NOT because they were born that way – they got ignorant from continuous practice at being stupid.

  • Jose Lopez

    If he’s reelected, Canada is not far from where I live.