“If exercising the right to vote were truly effective, the government would not be so eager to promote it.” ― Andrew P. Napolitano, Lies the Government Told You: Myth, Power, and Deception in American History
The above quote says it all in my opinion, and it’s something I always try to keep in mind during these times of year when we’re inundated with all this crap from candidates and all their various sponsors and interest groups. Doing so helps put all the ads into proper perspective; they are less about informing or convincing voters on issues and candidates and more about getting people distracted and wasting their energy and focus on what is devolved into a lame sort of popularity contest and third-rate form of entertainment.
During this period of time where I’ve been temporarily working in Colorado, I have been subjected to the nastiest, emotionally-charged political drivel I’ve experienced to date in any election year thus far. Seeing as my work here is temporary and I retain my permanent residency and voting registration in Alaska, I have no stake in the elections and initiatives here in Colorado. In a way this is nice since I’m able to observe the situation in Colorado without being emotionally invested in it, and at the same time being outside of Alaska I’m not exposed to the constant political advertising going on over there. It really helps expose the political circus for what it really is… distraction… and allows one to see how hollow the exercise has become. But if someone out there really thinks they can make a difference by voting I will respect that decision even if I don’t believe it myself. I just hope they’re operating from a place of logic and making efforts to not get emotionally twisted up by the non-stop ads and propaganda. I’ve seen some of the smartest people I know get wrapped up in the emotionally-charged rhetoric and talking points that rears its ugly head every election season. Being smart doesn't make one immune to manipulation.
Now while I don’t believe voting at this point is sufficient on its own to bring about the massive systemic changes necessary for the good of the nation, I think there can be times where certain small positive outcomes can be brought about by voting. In that spirit I did request and fill out a mail-in ballot, but I did so without any expectation that my vote will help bring about any serious change, and at best there's only the possibility of making a small positive difference. In fact the only reasons I bothered at all were 1) the mail-in ballot is convenient and takes relatively little time, and 2) there are a few ballot initiatives that may make small differences on the local level. I could care less about the candidates, even the local ones this time around, as I know all of the candidates with any realistic chances of winning this time around are all ‘lesser of two evils’ decisions. Some of them might be good people personally, but they either are or ultimately will be fully co-opted into the corrupt political system and in the end will work towards keeping it in power. It's not the people themselves that start out as bad (well at least SOME of them), it's the system that molds and shapes them over time into the tools and douchebags that they ultimately become.
So whatever choice you make if you vote, make sure it's a choice you REALLY want as opposed to voting for one guy just because some people are saying "the other guy must not be allowed to win!" or "you're throwing your vote away by voting 3rd party or independent or write-in!". Settling is what got us to this stage in the first place, and the same attitude that got us into the mess we're in won't get us out. Vote your conscience and make your own decisions. For me personally, one nice thing about Alaska is there are a fair variety of 3rd party and independent candidates available that are useful as a protest vote against the two-party system if nothing else. And of course as I mentioned some weeks back, there’s always the write-in box too…. ;-)
(From the last election...)