Let’s just vote

As I near the age where I will inevitably begin to con­tem­plate run­ning for pub­lic office, I am think­ing a lit­tle more about pol­i­tics than is usu­al for me. Anoth­er nation­al elec­tion has come and gone. Some can­di­dates won their races; far more of them lost. That is just the way it goes.

The two-par­ty sys­tem that we are locked into in this coun­try is such a straight­jack­et for pop­u­lar involve­ment in the demo­c­ra­t­ic process that it is no won­der large num­bers of peo­ple are apa­thet­ic about vot­ing. Even those who do vote are often vot­ing against a can­di­date they do not want to win rather than enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly cast­ing their bal­lot for a can­di­date they want to put in office. And those cit­i­zens who choose to vote for can­di­dates who tru­ly best rep­re­sent their val­ues and inter­ests are reviled for “steal­ing votes” from the offi­cial­ly-anoint­ed can­di­date of one of the major par­ties.

This makes sense, if it is a game we are play­ing. If win­ning is the whole point (as opposed to, say, rep­re­sent­ing or gov­ern­ing) then it is entire­ly fair to rant against those who didn’t vote with the pro­gram, whose squan­dered vote allowed the the oth­er par­ty to win. And, sad­ly, I think it has long been just such a game to those involved in the elec­tion process at every lev­el.

Until we can reach a point where peo­ple, all of we the peo­ple, feel con­fi­dent in sim­ply and sin­cere­ly vot­ing for the can­di­date we feel will best rep­re­sent us in the gov­ern­men­tal sys­tem, with­out con­cern for par­ty strat­e­gy and par­ti­san manœver­ing, then we will all still feel that it is a flawed sys­tem, because it is. And until then, we will have to choose at the polls each elec­tion year. The choice will not be which can­di­date will best rep­re­sent us in the gov­ern­men­tal halls of Saint Paul, MN and Wash­ing­ton, DC. No, the choice will remain whether we want to play the game again, or whether we want to waste our vote.

1 Comment

  1. Well said my broth­er! I always find elec­tion years SO FRUSTRATING for this very rea­son. The ques­tion of course is — will it ever turn around? And what will it take to get it to do so?

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