With the very important elections coming up in a few days, I thought I would take the opportunity of this blog to express my thoughts on voting. I used to vote republican no matter what. I always believed in the argument that went something like, “sure there are better candidates, but if you vote for the guy you really like, then you are just helping the greater of two evils get elected because it’s going to be this guy or that guy no matter what so you may as well vote for the lesser evil between those two.” I no longer subscribe to this theory. What changed my mind was the realization that while republicans and democrats say very different things regarding taxes, the size of government, entitlements, etc…, there is very little difference in what they do once they get into office. My great awakening came at the end of the bush era when he bailed out the banks. That’s a very incomplete description of what actually happened but you get the gist. The truth is that when you vote for the lesser of two evils, you still get evil.
There is an old saying, when you tax something you get less of it and when you subsidize something you get more of it. When related to the topic of political parties you can usually be put into three categories, voting for the best person, voting against the other person, or voting for the best person who can win. When you vote for the best guy who can win, you are subsidizing a party ideology you don’t really believe in. By not voting for the person you really agree with, you are also essentially taxing the ideas of that person. If you really want to change what happens with regards to political policy, why would you reward bad ideas and punish good ones with your vote? Don’t give me the “my vote doesn’t really count” crap. It’s less about your vote and more about your thought process. Too many people vote not what they believe but who they think can win. The people in elected positions have quietly, slowly, sucked up almost all of your personal freedom because you voted for the lesser of two evils.
The last of the three voting styles is the worst. “Do whatever you have to so that this guy doesn’t get elected!”, “I’d vote for literally anyone over this guy!” In most cases, literally anyone, is who you get. If there are no candidates that speak to your beliefs, your pet issues, your ideology, the best way to convey your dissatisfaction to the politicians running is to stay home. Not voting is not ignoring your civic duty. Again, why would you subsidize a political ideology you know to be flawed? Many times not voting sends the loudest message of all. Voter apathy lets the party know that they need to adjust the platform or the candidates running in the elections. Sure, the guy that wins may be worse, (Obama), but that just means the country is not at rock bottom yet. For most people pain is the only way they learn.
Speaking to people who don’t follow politics, stay home. If you don’t know what a candidate believes, why would you vote for them? I don’t care that your family has voted for this party for generations. Better yet, educate yourself. There are any number of ways that you can find out who is running, their platform, their personalities, or whatever float their boat. It’s only the future of the country after all. If you do happen to learn something about a few candidates and you get into the voting booth and you see all these amendments with confusing language that you know nothing about, there is no law that says you must vote for every single race and issue on the ballot. It’s perfectly ok if you just vote for governor and leave the rest blank. They will still count your vote.
To the die-hard republicans and democrats out there who are continually disappointed with who their party puts forth as a candidate, look at the other parties. There are tons of them. The libertarian has something to offer both of you. There are several other parties as well. Being loyal to a political party is the worst thing you can do, not only for yourself but also the political party you love so much. How do they know they are drifting in a bad direction if you don’t tell them every once in a while?
In conclusion, if you don’t know something ask your friends. Hopefully you will get a wide variety of opinions in which to marinate in. Ask yourself questions about the proper size and scope of government. What should it do and not do? What freedoms are you willing to give up if it means keeping you safe? Who is the best judge of what your kids should be taught in school? What should the government be able to control about your life? If you have never asked yourself these types of questions, or simply don’t care, please do not vote. If you are curious at all about what any of this means, learn before you vote. If you are well aware of what you believe and why, vote for the best person.
PS- if you have any questions about politics feel free to ask me. I will do the best I can to answer for you. Just remember my answer is worth what you are paying for it.