Monday, June 26, 2006

Vote Green: Bad Behavior Bumper Sticker

     This weekend I was waiting on my fiancee in a mall in Portland and I started to think about voting. I used to be very gung-ho about voting. This isn't really much of a surprise since I was also a Fox News watching, Bush voting, hard-core, jingoistic patriot. However, since my political deconversion (which I view as being, at least in practical matters, more important than my religious deconversion) I now look at voting much differently.

    As I've mentioned in a previous post, I think the two-party system is absolutely horrible, a complete joke of a democratic system. As Hellen Keller once said

Our democracy is but a name. We vote. What does that mean? It means that we choose between two bodies of real -- though not avowed -- autocrats. We choose between 'Tweedledum' and 'Tweedledee'

showing that even being blind and deaf is not an excuse for believing in the 2P system.

    But anyway, it's what we've got, and until we can change it, how should we act within it? One suggestion is that we vote Democrat. Why would I want to do such a thing? The Democrats don't even have the moral clarity to be able to denounce the Republicans strongly for what they're doing. Senator Biden quickly retreats from any suggestion that Bush should be impeached, and simply stops at censure. And I choose Biden because he seems to be one of the better Democrats. Most Democrats wouldn't even speak favorably of Biden's censure resolution. I'm sorry, but if you can't even say with confidence that Bush should be censured, then there is no way in hell that you deserve my vote. And in many respects, Democrats are very much like Republicans. Most Democrats are also just as much in the hands of big business as the Republicans are. Democrats have started wars of aggression against innocent people in the past also; Iraq wasn't an Republican invention (which is another thing that Democrats won't denounce strongly enough to make an impression on the American people). The Democrats do differ from the Republicans in their rhetoric however, but less so recently, and with the Democrats looking at stealing some of the evangelical vote in the upcoming elections you'll probably see more references to God in their speeches as well.

    Some suggest that voting is completely worthless and even harmful. They say it gives legitimacy to a corrupt system, which I think is hard to refute. It's the worthless attribute that I'm skeptical of, and I'll address that next. From those who want a completely different system, whether it being a different economic or political system, the claim is that this can't occur by participating in the current system, but that one must overthrow the current system by other means. I think that they are generally correct in this view, but I don't think that the solution is to not participate. Look around. Revolution is not around the corner. Republicans are getting elected. I don't want to be in a revolution of people who vote Republican and defend torture on primetime TV. I think it makes sense to try to shift the political debate to the left first, and then, perhaps when people are more sympathetic to concerns relating economic fairness, sustainability, democracy, freedom, and peace, well then perhaps then we'll have a revolution and overthrow the corrupt systems that control our lives and endanger humanity.

    I think the best thing that we can do is vote third party, such as the Greens. For one the Green positions are often close to my own and so it's nice to actually be able to vote for a candidate that represents my views in at least a rough sense. Voting Green shifts the political debate to the left, because it forces the Democrats to look to the left for votes. Without this incentive, the Democrats will simply go over to the right, which is where all the money and all the unquestioning voters are (thanks Jesus). And perhaps if enough people vote third party, we'll be able to start a movement toward a proportional representation (PR) system.

    With this reasoning I've decided to become more active with the Green party. Will much good come out of it? I'm doubtful, but I'm not ready to completely give up on voting yet. During my wait at the mall I decided to create a bumper sticker for my car, as seen below.

    If anyone is interested in purchasing one, you can buy them here. And if you haven't checked out Cafepress before, you should. They have a lot of really nice designs, for t-shirts, bumper stickers, coffee mugs, etc.


tn said...

Nice bumper sticker! Now, if I only had some money to buy me one of those.

I'd vote for a Green Party candidate, but here in Maryland, you've either got progressive or conservative Democrats... Or a theocratic governor... It’s sad that the Green Party has never had a chance. The Rabid Right has had too strong a voice, dictating the topics of conversation for too long. But anyway, I happen to be working on a progressive candidate's election campaign. He’s a Democrat, yes, but I think he may be part of a new breed of Democrats that have a pair of testes. It’s not because I believe in the system; as you deftly pointed out, the Democrats are losers, but that's what we've got to work with. I've had that argument dozens of times with other bloggers out there who can't grasp the simple concept of gradual evolution in socio-economic structures. Marx’s theory has proved to be mostly correct, so a violent revolution seems like a mistake. There's got to be baby steps taken in the direction you want; we shouldn't allow the nutjobs free reign while we plot a hostile takeover. Been missing your posts, FTW. I’m glad to see you're back.

vjack said...

I periodically struggle with the same issues you discuss in this post. I generally vote Democrat, but this is really more of a lesser of two evils thing. I'd rather have Greens in office than Democrats or Republicans. However, I'd also rather have Democrats than Republicans. Since this has a realistic chance of happening, I usually go this route.

Anonymous said...

I can't bring myself to vote for the lesser of two evils. If the (D)s want my vote, they'll have to say or do something to deserve it. So long as people keep voting for the lesser of two evils, these evils will never change.

"We don't have to get better because we know you are unwilling to vote for an alternative candidate."


Anonymous said...

One approach would be to support a third party if you vote in an area where you either have a chance to get that third party candidate elected or you are fairly sure it will not play to the advantage of the "worst" guy. Otherwise, vote for the lesser evil. For example, voting for the third party in Ohio in 2004 would effectively mean helping to put Bush back into the office. There are no simple answers...

Anonymous said...

yeah, i'm for third parties such as the greens too, & yeah some people probably look at it as hopeless... however, the way I see it, there needs to be some extreme leftism to combat the extreme rightism going on...


Anonymous said...

I totally understand where you're coming from, Delta. I've been struggling with the exact same issues. It truly is a "lesser of two evils" situation. But if we always pick the lesser of two evils, then we're stuck with evil of one kind or another forever. Short of a major restructuring of our electoral system, I see little hope of abolishing this dilemma.