To vote or not.

Election day is coming up and again I find myself debating internally whether or not I’m going to vote. In the past I have always skipped going for a variety of reasons, the most important being that I don’t agree with the system of democracy to start with. Still, that’s the system that we supposedly have in place, whether or not it actually works in this country. I also agree with George Carlin that if you vote,you have no right to complain and that this country is bought and paid for. Granted, democracy is more than voting, but the big machines in and behind government are getting so powerful that even if the general public can take them down the prospect is so overwhelming that they don’t have the motivation to try anymore.

Let’s suppose that I do go out on Tuesday to vote. The question becomes a matter of how. I’ll start with the referendum questions. The problem there is that they are yes or no questions, indicating that there are only two sides to each issue. Often times they give only a glimpse into a larger issue that I might feel passionately about. To give the first question on the Maine ballot as an example:

“Do you want to ban the use of bait, dogs or traps in bear hunting except to protect property, public safety, or for research?”

If I was to vote, I would vote yes on this one. But as far as I’m concerned this is only a smaller part of a larger issue. I oppose hunting in general, and I don’t support traps to protect property, public safety or for research. So my “yes” vote would only be a step in the right direction, but not a step that’s big enough.

Then we have candidates. I admit that I haven’t been paying close attention this time as to who’s running. It wasn’t until recently that I actually considered voting this time. Of course, this is assuming that they stick with the ideals that I would vote them in for in the first place. So I face the dilemma that I did before. I don’t like party politics and would seek out independent candidates that I would agree with whenever possible. But suppose I get to the polls and I only see candidates from the two major parties for each position. Do I leave it blank?

Alternatively, do I go for the lesser of two evils and vote for the Democrat? In such a situation I would be voting so much for somebody as I would against their opponent. If anything in recent decades Republicans have proven that we need to keep them out as much as possible. So, which is the greater weight on my conscience: not voting at all and allowing the worse candidate to possibly win, or voting against them while running the risk that the one I voted for wouldn’t be much better? Wouldn’t it just be easier if we could have a selection on the ballot that would count against somebody without having to vote for their opponent? Then again, I suppose that would still work in the other person’s favor. But I would feel better about it.

I also don’t like going to the polls in the first place. I hate the commotion and running into people I know while they’re in that state of mind. Not only that but the family I worked for when I worked at the convenience store usually volunteer at said elections (one of them is running for town council again this time as well). My asocial tendencies would get in the way. Mostly, though, I think I hate dealing with the traffic.

The truth is that if I go, I’m doing so to play somebody else’s game. If I don’t think the system will work than at most I’m neither helping nor hindering, and if it does work I’m helping to a small degree. I suppose that if I don’t agree with the system I’m still not hurting my own cause by taking part this time. Still, I don’t kick myself if I don’t make it.

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