Sunday, October 22, 2006
In a few weeks, it will be time to vote once again: bored and exhausted citizens will be herded into the church down the street to stand in line and push a button. We won't even get a piece of cheese when we do this! In fact, we won't really recieve much of anything. But, we will have done our "civic duty". Well, I suppose I shouldn't use the word "we" here, because I have decided not to vote this year.
I just can't see any reason to pull the lever for any of the candidates on the ballot in New York state. Nothing they say appeals to me in any way, all of their platforms seem to be mainly fear-based, worst of all, I can't see the difference between the Democratic candidates and the Republican candidates. Here in New York, I get to vote for Hillary Clinton, a warmongering pseudo-conservative Stepford Wife whose television ads inform me that she has done much to protect our children from video games. And what if she actually believes this crap? And, if I don't want to vote for her, I get to vote for John Spencer, who calls civil partnerships for gay couples "special rights", calls Hillary the Hawk a "traitor" who "aids our enemies" in the War on Terror, and who has a lousy record in regards to the first amendment. Or, if I feel rakish, I could vote for the Libertarian candidate, and take a stand against state oppression and for employer-employee oppression, or for the Green candidate and go back to walking on all fours. Hooray.
So, I'm not voting. I just don't want any of these people to win, and so I would feel strange making my voice heard as wanting one of them to win. The "lesser of two evils" argument doesn't work for me either- these candidates aren't truly evil, just stupid. A genuinely evil election might be fun- Vote: Darth Vader (R), or Cthulu (D), or third-party candidate Fantomas. This election instead offers the evil of banality.
Besides, the lesser of two evils argument assumes that we accept a situation in which both of our choices are lousy. When you vote for the lesser of two evils, you're also voting for a system that allows you only to vote for one of two shitty candidates. It seems more logical, given this choice between Dumb and Dumber, to sit the whole thing out. If you vote for a candidate that you hate, just to hurt one that you hate more, what do you do if the schmuck that you voted for actually wins? Then you're partially responsible for electing a schmuck! The only way around this is to vote for the Green Party guy, who has no chance of winning, and then you can bitch about the winner, even though were the Green Party guy to have won, we'd basically have voted ourselves back to the stone age.
People argue that "if you don't vote, you can't bitch"; but I like to think that I'm living proof that this argument is wrong! Their argument is that, if you hate the guy in power, and you didn't vote against him, you've done nothing to stop him from being in power. Hence, you can't complain. But, what if you voted for him, and now you hate him? ("Blame me- I voted for Bush!") In that case, you couldn't complain either. It seems to me that hating both candidates is the only situation in which you could be assured to be justified in complaining, and the only way to express that opinion honestly is to vote for neither candidate. Don't blame me- I voted for Nobody. In fact, maybe I get to bitch more than other people.
People say that not voting is "ignoring your civic duty". Perhaps they've never given their words much thought, but I can't see any reason to believe that my civic duty requires me to vote. In order to live in civil society, I am required to accept the rule of whoever wins the election, as an expression of the general will. But, that does not mean that I am required to take part in the election itself. I just have to live with the outcome. I can live with the outcome. But, again, living in civil society only requires you to submit to the general will, and the general will gives me the choice to not vote. So there.
Sure, I can 'make my voice heard' by voting, but the ballot doesn't allow me to say what I want to, which would be something like "I would like to vote for Senator Lux Interior". It gives me a choice that amounts to no choice. Vote for Candidate A or B, and you vote for the drug war, you vote for the endless War on the Boogeyman, you vote for throwing billions of dollars down a hole to prove that we really hate Mexicans, you vote for fear and loathing. And you vote against that old idea of America as a beacon of hope and optimism, which is apparently "pre-9/11 thinking".
Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, meanwhile, has chartered the "Vote or Die" campaign. As much as I hate to ignore the shrewd political advice of the author of "It's All About the Benjamins", I find it hard to take this air-ball attempt at irony: "Vote or Die" too seriously. If P. Diddy intends to convince us that voting is critically important, poking fun at how voting campaigns tend to really overdo it in arguing that voting is critically important, seems to be a bad idea. "Get it? We don't really think you're going to die! I just have to do these stupid ads for my probation!" Okay, thanks Puffy. When I get to vote on whether or not you make another album, then you'll hear from me. So long now.
I complain too much about politics, and I really am trying to quit. But, it's hard when I feel so out of tune with this time and place. The Republicans are the lowest of the low, and the Democrats are their mimics. Do I vote for creeping tyranny from the Republicans, or sexual McCarthyism from the Democrats? Do I vote for Christian superstition from the Republicans, or race-baiting from the Democrats? Do I vote to protect someone else's kids from Darwin or Eminem?
I feel like I'm at a multiplex, and there are only two movies playing: Ernest Goes to Camp, and Biodome, and even though I know that both of them are way too fucking stupid for me, I feel compelled to buy a ticket for one so that one day they might make more intelligent movies. But, they won't. The conspiracy of the stupid has won. A Harvard educated woman is actually telling us that she will protect us from video games. Gabba-gabba! We accept you! One of us! One of us! Get in line. It's time for the mandatory lobotomy.
I think I'm going to skip the movies and go for a walk.
Posted by Rufus at 9:10 AM