Attention nonparticipants

This is for all you Green-voting, non-voting, “anarchist” types who don’t vote because “they’re all the same”.

Wake the fuck up.

They’re not all the same. The people who won yesterday want to take away reproductive rights, roll back civil rights, dump a huge tax burden on working people, strengthen entrenched monopolies, chop down every tree in North America, and send us to war for little reason.

I see the arguments that “I can’t give my vote to the opposition because they’re slimy and annoying” and I have to laugh. Folks, politics is not about whether you feel beautiful and pure and ideologically correct leaving the booth. Politics is practical. It’s about what you can accomplish with that vote, in the real world where we all live. It’s not about reading ‘zines and drinking wheatgrass juice and being part of a totally ignored nouveau hippie subculture. This stuff has real-world consequences, and not just for you and your painfully correct friends.

So I hope you get what you wanted, anyway. Maybe at the next party you can put on your hemp cap and sweet talk some girl into bed with your tales of how you stood up to the Man and didn’t cave in and vote for some compromise candidate because you’re keepin’ it real. Or maybe you just got to stop off for a latte on your way to work instead of punching a hole in some cardboard.

In any case the rest of us are going to be spending the next two years watching George II and his cronies take away our country. Thanks for nothing.

21 thoughts on “Attention nonparticipants

  1. Right on!
    β€œAll that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
    (Edmund Burke).

  2. ahem.
    what if we did indeed vote, but we voted for a green party candidate because we believe that their views most closely represent our own? is that still ok?

    1. Re: ahem.
      No, I don’t. The Green party is a protest vote. I understand being disgusted with the two-party system and the often supine behavior of the opposition. But the stakes are so high right now that I consider a Green party vote to be a throwaway.
      I would urge anyone who cares about reproductive rights, peace, or civil rights to hold their noses and vote Democrat rather than making a symbolic gesture that brings victory to a truly terrible enemy.
      So it’s not a matter of “ok” in any ideological sense. I just have a different idea about what voting means.

      1. simply torn
        So it’s not a matter of “ok” in any ideological sense. I just have a different idea about what voting means.
        point taken. but when is it *ever* a good time to vote for a third party? when they have a shot at winning? how will they ever get to that point if we don’t start with a few ‘throwaway’ and ‘protest’ votes? i hate to think we should just resign ourselves to a two-party system. but neither am i so attached to my idealism that i want to put up with the current state of affairs much longer.
        i agree that the stakes are particularly high right now. interesting that this surge of green party votes came at the same time. why couldn’t they have mounted this campaign in say, 1996?

      2. Re: simply torn
        Ditto that. It’s always a crisis. I don’t believe in Democrats less than I don’t believe in Republicans, but If You’re Not With Us You’re Against Us has never gotten any respect from me. I don’t vote straight tickets. I’m quite active in local politics and have chaired the local Democratic caucus in the past, because that way I can get my voice heard more loudly, but I vote Green, because someone’s got to.
        For that matter, if you don’t vote Green, you’re part of the problem, because unless you start, it’s never going to get better.
        Judo rhetoric, baybee.

      3. Re: simply torn
        So.. which problem are you solving? Your own moral purity and the right to look down your nose, or the real problems real people have deal with out here in the world?
        I’m sure all the migrant workers, single mothers, pregnant teenagers, and 18 year old draftee cannon fodder kids will be delighted by another 50 Green Party bumperstickers on cars in college towns much more than they’d like a living wage, the right to their own bodies, or another year without war.
        I hope you understand that your vote means something more than feeling good, because that’s all you’re going to get from it with a third party in these times.

      4. Re: simply torn
        I totally sympathize with the sentiment. I voted for Nader when President Numnuts slipped into office. I have spent most of the last decade voting for the farthest left candidate I could find from every last minor little party I could find (unless it was an important election and the Republican is far scarier than the Democrat. And how the Republicans keep finding scarier people than Diane Feinswine I will never know, but I’ve voted for her an alarming number of times…)
        And there have been several periods when third parties, win or lose, did change the shape of America and American policy. The major parties are not so stupid as to not know a large social movement when they see it.
        And it MAY always be a crisis, but I’ve never felt it was a crisis along the lines of “lots and lots of people are going to die if these fucktards get there way” like I do right now. I voted straight Democrat yesterday for the first time in a decade. I don’t expect that act to change the world, but I’m looking at it this way:
        The Democrats ACTUALLY ONCE WERE the liberal party. Recent enough for me to remember in my lifetime. They only became smiling waffling Republicans-lite when people consistently did not vote for them during the 80’s. The only thing that is ever going to change them back is massive, emphatic public support.
        And if you’ve spent time in the trenches, surely you’ve noticed that there are more of ‘us’ than ‘them’, but that a shockingly large number of ‘us’ 1) don’t vote; and/or 2) allow ourselves to be splintered by flavor-of-the-week political thinking. And I will stand on my high horse because I have been that. The American left has been in a ridiculous torpor over nothing for 30 years now and the right has RAN with it. Voting Green now helps nothing. Unity, or we lose. Rebublicans/the right don’t care if it’s fair or not and are more than happy to watch us fall out with each other and create an unorganized mess. It makes it easy for them to get their way.

  3. i agree (sort of)
    We can agree that people who don’t vote just suck. I am less comfortable condemning third-party voters. I don’t want to agree, but I suppose I have to.
    If one’s conviction is that the political system is broken and corrupt, there is no contradiction in voting strategically, i.e. voting for Democrats. In fact, one is *obligated* to consider how broken the system is in making a choice. To vote for the ‘ideal’ candidate is like closing your eyes.
    If one votes Green, but does nothing in between elections to ensure that this is a viable choice, nothing’s really going to change.
    Finally though… I understand you’re angry, but come on. Not all third-party voters are poseurs. They are trying to open the way for future successes by their party, for instance, maybe embarassing the powers that be into getting onto televised debates. I don’t know how if there’s an indisputably right choice between taking a stand for the long-term health of the democracy, versus avoiding short-term crises. Honest people can disagree about that.

    1. Re: i agree (sort of)
      I remain unconvinced that the system is broken.
      Loopholes have been found; events unanticipated by the founding fathers have transpired; extra-constitutional modes of power have arisen; all of these things have been exploited by the types of people who exploit such things. Those people still have their heads, therefore these things occurred with the tacit approval of ‘the people’. It is ‘the people’ who are broken.
      Returning to the idea that I typed above, the American left have been far too involved with name-calling, obsessions with fantastic political and social philosophies, pining over the injustices of the english language, and splintering off from each other when they don’t get their way. Meanwhile the right spent the 70’s building a coalition, and even though the various philosophies within that coalition know they won’t get their way immediately, they’ve all been willing to stick with it until a suitable environment in which they might get their way arises (with an occasional defection to which the majority of the right say ‘uh…OK; you have fun with that, now… We’ll be over here when you’re done.’) In this environment, it’s no wonder the Democratic party abandoned liberalism – we’re lame. We are no way to win an election; and as much as people want to apply philosophies to parties, parties don’t care: they are in the business of winning elections. After all, which party was it that freed the slaves?
      I’ve been hearing these little peeps about ‘new Continental Congress’ and ‘revised constitution’. There are people out there who think the system is broken enough for that, and they almost have the approval of enough states to pull it off. This is a bad idea – I can’t think of a worse time to attempt such a thing. America is at best a 23-way civil war waiting to happen. At least the founding fathers were able to agree that ‘Europe sucks; let’s not be that’. At least they had some guiding ideologies that purported to be for the ‘good of the people’ – even if those people were white, male, and middle class. I don’t think they did a very bad job. A continental congress today would be all about slobbering, ravenous interest groups just chomping at the bit for the ability to fuck with the machinations of the US government.
      The Green Party? I’m sympathetic, but they’re dead. They couldn’t even garner enough votes to qualify for Federal Matching Funds in an election in which they had a WELL-KNOWN candidate with SPECIFIC ideas running against two of the most BORING, UNFIT, and DISLIKED candidates that have ever existed in any American election. If there was any time that the vote was gonna rock, it was then.
      And Nader aside, when you vote for a Green Party candidate are you voting for a specific person with a specific platform and specific and realistic plans for attaining that platform? Does such a creature exist? Or are you merely voting for the idea that polluting the environment is bad, and stuff….?

      1. Re: i agree (sort of)
        And upon re-reading your post, clearly you are not making the point I was responding to… apologies.
        But I enjoyed my rant, so it shall stand.

      2. Re: i agree (sort of)
        > The Green Party? I’m sympathetic, but they’re dead.
        Fair enough. Their platform is rather wacky in many places too, I’m not sure I’d like to see any of these people actually in power! πŸ™‚ But the fact that they exist makes the Dems at least watch their back, they can’t become *actually* identical to the Republicans without losing support.
        You and I share a disgust of the left as we know it…
        I disagree with your chracterization of the public as being “lame”. A lot of people are genuinely concerned these days and don’t know where to turn. One obvious thing that’s different from the Dems of your youth; unions have much less power and influence, and can’t focus discontent into action like they used to. I don’t want to see the USA or Canada turn into France, but that might be half the problem right there.

  4. Third party strategies
    Michael Moore proposed that the Green party should campaign vigorously, but at the last minute, urge their supporters to vote for the Democratic candidate if the race was tight in their district. This makes the Green Party potential kingmakers, rather than spoilers, they might even get committments on certain policies.
    In the states where the Republicans are going to win *anyway*, there’s no harm in voting Green. In fact you could even get leftier Democrats to do this as a protest.
    Unfortunately the Greens didn’t go for it, but it sounds like a great idea. Maybe they should be pressured to think about this a bit more.
    btw, I really think vote trading (agreements between voters in different states, managed informally through the internet) should be legal. They existed in the last election but were shut down by court order. Representatives in the government trade votes with their colleagues all the time. Why should the citizenry be forbidden to vote strategically, as long as it produces the government they want?

  5. Hey, don’t knock the green voters!!! There is nothing wrong with supporting a third party, especially members of those parties that have decent platforms. My votes for the greens did not cost the demoncrats any offices. so there! πŸ˜›
    you can be thankful you live in california.
    that said, the next 2 years are gonna be one helluva ride.

  6. If everyone actually voted their feelings and didn’t just feel like they had to choose between the lesser of 2 evils, third-party candidates would have a significantly better chance of winning. But because we’ve been conditioned for years and years that voting third-party is throwing our vote away, thousands upon thousands of people who’d rather vote Lib or Green don’t, and the Libs and Greens don’t get many votes, and people think that it’s futile to try to elect anyone but a Rep or a Dem (not that there’s much difference between the two anymore), and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I realize that this probably won’t change your mind, just as your rant won’t ever change mine, but those are the facts as I see them, logical and true.

  7. Here are some “facts” that illustrate why a protest vote in the current political climate is ill-advised. The Senate controls Judiciary nominations. First the nominee goes to committee and then goes to the whole Senate for a vote. In the last Congress, Fienstein and Leahy – two most senior member on the committe at the time – managed to block some terrifying judges from getting on the Federal Bench. Now the Repubs set the agenda, which means that Bush is going to have a much easier time getting nominations to the full floor. And unless he re-nominates Robert Bork, Judicial nominations are not exactly the sort of thing that garner huge attention. Hell, Clarence Thomas made it. Now, consider this scenario. Associate Justice O’Connor has said she wants to retire. She wrote joined the majority in PP v. Casey, the case that kept Roe from being overturned; but weakened it. If she retires we will probably get someone like Scalia. Bush has said that he considers Scalia a model jurist. For why Scalia is scary, see his dissent in Romer v. Evans , where he compared homosexuals to child molestors and argued that discriminating against homosexuals was a right since homosexuals are immoral. Also, see his stance on abortion, rights of criminal defendants and his joint opinion in Bowers v. Hardwick for more scary anti-gay bigotry. Also, while you’re at it, check Rhenquist and company in the majority of DeShaney v. Winnebago County DSS. While I don’t expect everyone to read these, the point is that these decisions highlight what is so scary and so powerful about the High Court. A Republican senate can replace a moderate like O’Connor with a fire breathing conservative. Think about what that means. The Dems may not represent your ideological views to a tee; but that’s why they’re a party. They are not your PAC. If you think Dems and Repubs are all the same think about who they put up for the Court. So, in summation, great go vote green and when Roe is overturned take a long hard look in the mirror.

    1. Thank you, Kate…
      Clearly some folks were not keeping up their end of the conversation, here… Cheerleading is so much more effectual than logic in debates that I can’t figure out why anyone would resort to facts anymore.
      Fact: Most people did vote with their hearts; they did not show up at the polls. And they can blow me. The heart is an ineffectual tool for governance; even for self-governance.
      Fact: I voted with my heart. My heart and my head and my gut feelings and instincts and my anger, hatred, and dissatisfaction all agreed that this was not an election in which to engage in speculative voting strategies. This was an election that was all about keeping the EVIL FUCKS OUT OF THE CASTLE. The American people just handed the keys over to the evil fucks, and they are just hopping up and down with glee that we were stupid enough to do so.
      Fact: We are now fucked. Not only did we not send the message to the loyal opposition that we wanted them to loyally oppose; we sent them the message that they should just get the fuck out of the way. And even those within the loyal opposition party who vote with their heart in opposition to the excesses of the Republitards now exists in such sparse numbers as to be no more than the slightest of bothers.
      So, thanks. Hope you’re ready to make lots and lots of babies. Hope you’re prepared to work like a dog, never get ahead, never achieve any kind of comfort level and then die, passing your enourmous debt on to your progeny. You can take your ball home and say ‘I’m not playing’ all you want; you can tell me ‘no, you’re part of the problem’ all you want. But when these dickheads have successfully dismantled everything that is cool about this country you do not have the bragging rights of saying ‘wait… I didn’t vote for this! You did vote for it, not through bad voting philosophy – hell, I agree with you, but because you misread the current political landscape.
      Welcome to Hell. Would you like fries with that?

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