.

To Vote Or Not To Vote

I am surrounded by two primary views on whether or not to vote. (More accurately, I am surrounded by one primary view, one opposing view, and then a lot of people who don’t feel as strongly.)

I am surrounded by two primary views on whether or not to vote. (More accurately, I am surrounded by one primary view, one opposing view, and then a lot of people who don’t feel as strongly. I simplify, to not get too convoluted and tomey.)

1.) Vote. You must vote. Voting makes a difference. Voting is your duty as a citizen. Voting is the best way to participate in our political system. It is the only way to participate in our political system. It doesn’t matter what else you do. If you don’t vote, you don’t get to complain.

2.) Don’t vote. To vote is to demonstrate your compliance with the corrupt political system. Voting is a ruse to make people think they are participating, so they don’t complain when the outcome works against them (which it invariably will, because the powerful always works against the masses). The system of voting is itself corrupted, maintaining the power structure. Don’t choose between the lesser of two evils. There are other, better ways to affect change.

I agree more with the ideas of the latter, but I take issue with both, when preached dogmatically (which they generally are).

1.) What about working for your beliefs in other ways? Person A: goes to the polls every couple of years and checks off boxes after making uninformed choices before going back to being a drudge and sitting in front of the TV. Person B: works persistently for positive change and the common good, in ways they feel called to do. Is Person A participating more, in better ways, than Person B?

What about voting rallies, working on campaigns, working toward more equal turnout in the polls? If you’re into voting, you can agree that those are important and participatory, though they are not the actual act of voting.

Also, our first-amendment rights are not contingent on our voting practices.

2.) Our participation in the system is compulsory; we cannot opt out. You probably participate in other parts of the system that you don’t agree with: wage labor, paying taxes, buying food, paying rent, driving a car. Why not this one? Even when a core issue you may feel strongly about (e.g. reproductive rights) is on the table? Why can’t you vote and participate in other ways?

What I’ve been saying for years is, “I vote, and I vote begrudgingly.” That about sums me up.

So how should you vote, if you choose to vote? That I will not preach. I’ll leave that to the politicians and the party stalwarts. I can’t even say something pithy and complaisant like “Vote your conscience,” because that assumes your conscience has a simpler, better answer than your intellect.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Cranston Resident November 01, 2012 at 05:41 PM
Well, that was depressing and cynical..... and wrong. First, our political system, is not corrupt. There are a good number of politicians that are corrupt, but our system of Democracy is certainly not. Second, I know very few people like yourself who "vote begrudgingly" and for the wrong reason. Most people I know are well informed about the people and issues for which they are voting and they enter the voting booth with conviction and to exercise their will. In this election as with many in the past, there is a clear choice between two completely different sets of ideas and ideals. It is the voters who will make that choice. And it is only the "Vote" that makes the difference in what course our government takes. The "Vote" is by far the singular most effective act people can commit to personnaly and collectively effect the course of our nation. And it is what makes the United States and our Democracy the fairest system of government in the world. Lastly, God bless those who have died for our right to vote. That their supreme sacrifice to afford us the right to vote should not be diminished by your views
RIresident November 03, 2012 at 01:57 AM
Please vote. So many people risked so much for our right to vote. Imagine what might happen if everyone voted. Lack of participation is a sad and cynical choice.
Suzanne Arena November 03, 2012 at 10:19 PM
I agree with the commentators...cynical. VOTE, vote those OUT that do not represent your Ward's, your views in general. RECUSING oneself to much also should put a candidate OUT because they are NOT bringing their Ward's VOTE to the table. Cranston Resident said it all - So many faught and went through great sacrifices to get the 'Right' to vote.
Bustthetrolls November 03, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Can't you just STFU?
Suzanne Arena November 04, 2012 at 12:12 AM
Nope, too bad you don't have more intellect to engage...you may find more of your types here. http://search.yahoo.com/search?ei=utf-8&fr=ytff1-msgr&p=Bubba%20blog&type=
Bustthetrolls November 04, 2012 at 01:46 AM
You're oh so funny. You're the one without intellect...you're nothing but a bully. Go play with your toys;)
Robert Farebrother November 04, 2012 at 03:24 AM
about the electoral college http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/thepoliticalsystem/a/electcollege.htm
Cranston Resident November 04, 2012 at 04:38 AM
What in hell is going on here???? The Cranston Patch has turned into....
Prof. Frederick Sweet November 06, 2012 at 12:55 AM
Support the United States Constitution: Vote ! Voting in America accomplishes two things. First, the voter is supporting the smallest special interest group: himself or herself. There has got to some candidate that at least seems or pretends to be supporting your special interest. But secondly, and most important, the U.S. Constitution protects everyone's right ... perhaps that should be Right ... to cast a secret ballot in a democratic election. At least cast a a ballot and thereby show your support for the U.S. Constitution. Otherwise ... as the old saying goes ... use it or lose it !
Robert Farebrother November 07, 2012 at 04:46 AM
Well said.

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