On Voting

( – promoted by buhdydharma )


There’s been a lot of talk about voting here at Docudharma.  This essay was inspired, lol, by reading curmudgeon’s comments trying to persuade posters here to vote Democratic.

The sad thing, or perhaps it is normal given human nature, is that nowadays the only real reason one can give to vote for a Dem is that the Repubs will otherwise win.  In other words, a negative example.

As I was a debater in both high school and college, I could probably manufacture some more persuasive arguments on why we should vote Democratic in November.

I’ll probably be doing so, voting Dem, that is.  As I’ve said before, I am no political genius.  Sigh.

Buhdydharma has written several excellent essays on voting — and his take on those who choose not to vote is to make it a “movement.”

But this essay is not about trying to persuade anyone to do anything insofar as voting is concerned.

GOTV.  Get out the vote.

When did that start?

I’m not talking about campaigning.  I’m talking about GOTV.  In the case of the Dem party, folks going out door to door trying to persuade their fellow citizens to vote for this or that candidate.  ‘Course now it’s a huge operation with databases and paid positions and such.

I wish we had a better message to carry for those citizens who want to be involved in government and are willing to approach their neighbors and try to begin a dialogue.

I wish that wasn’t just about getting out the vote, in other words.

But oh well.  That’s what we have right now.

I’ve said this in comments and I’ll say it again here in this essay.

We have an inalienable right to vote, not given to us by any person but by our Constitution.

We can argue and try to persuade others on how to vote or even whether to vote.

But to me the bottom line is that no one has the responsibility or obligation to explain to anyone else who they’re voting for or if they’re voting at all.  Not that there can’t be dialogue about this, but no one has any power over another in this, nor do they have a moral high ground.  Voting is an equal right and at this point in our culture, I no longer give any credence to moral pronouncements when it comes to politics.  There is no moral consensus in the United States.

At least not one I’ll bow my head to.

So agree or disagree on various opinions and thoughts and feelings about voting, no one is a better American based on how they exercise that right.  Not now, not in these times.  That’s a hard pill for me to swallow, as I’ve been a loyal Dem for so many decades.  I still resonate to the call of “The Repubs CAN’T be allowed to win!” because I am so utterly opposed to the Republican method of governance.

So for that completely personal and self-centered reason, I’ll vote Dem.  Not for either some lofty philosophy or some holier than thou sense of political superiority.  I just hate and despise and loathe the way Republicans use power.  Those are my feelings and they are completely subjective and I admit it.

I do, however, have nothing but respect for ANY choice ANY of my fellow citizens make when it comes to voting.  I don’t have to respect those choices.  I choose to respect them because it’s none of my damned business to tell someone else what to do.

I don’t know why that’s so important to me that I keep repeating it, never quite getting the words right to describe exactly what I see.

Happy Rosh Hashanah to all and may you all have your names inscribed in the Book of Life for another year.


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  1. … I certainly don’t mean to imply I am disparaging what curmudgeon says!  Just that reading his comment and the responses jogged this notion in my head.

    • Edger on September 9, 2010 at 01:33

    The vote is leverage that can be used en mass to extract results people want from incumbents when a party has a congressional majority, but only if that leverage is used leading up to elections. The leverage evaporates on election day.

    It does require an organized movement of enough people to tip the balance either way in elections to use that leverage effectively to extract positive results, so in that sense my thoughts are very close to buhdy’s on this, except for one thing – I think whether or not a movement of enough to tip the balance develops, that individuals should vote  to re-elect incumbents ONLY if the party has produced results the individual wants – leaving the individual in a position after the election of not having to defend him or herself for having voted for an incumbent only out of fear of the “other” guys.

  2. Who do you vote for?

    The Devil or the ones who want to fuck the devil?

    There is a difference, sure….

    But, in the end?

    What GOOD come out of it?


    • Xanthe on September 9, 2010 at 02:05

    election – God, I even voted for hall monitors in high school.

    Still I may vote for Toni Prekwinkle, running for Cook County Board President here (a powerful position – and she’s smart) and Governor Quinn in Illinois.  

    I just don’t think votes matter much anymore but probably people have thought this since we began having elections.  

  3. that you did “Debate” in school, kitty. Thats a juicy little tidbit. lol. I am probably as opposite of that, debate, as possible. Im a wuss, lol, I have a tendency, a desire to see both sides of an argument…. in a lot of cases.

    On the one hand, I want to stand and and HOLLAH at edger’s position, I think he’s totally right. On the other hand, Im completely with buhdy in the sense that it will ONLY possibly be effective (have impact) if its done en masse, and with that as blatantly overtly stated reasons.


    So this November, 8 weeks from now, uh, no…. Not Voting with that being some kind of strategy? …  its just non-existent.

    So then…  its just personal. And for me, its really really easy to vote for Bill White AGAINST Rick Perry for TX Gov. And Sheila Jackson Lee…. I guess.

    It kinda blows my mind though, to hear stats like, I dunno, a “fabulous” record turnout is what, 55%, in a POTUS General? that should tell anybody theres really something wrong with the whole rig. But, I know I am naiive.

    We should be building NOW for 2016.

  4. for “vote for us not because we stand for anything, we don’t, but because we’re not the other guys”.  The word is “whiggery”.  As ti happened, whiggery didn’t really work out to well for its inventors, as “pragmatic” as it seemed in 1848 or 1850.  Within a decade, the extreme purists, the Radical Republicans, had built their own party that simply obliterated the pragmatic centrist business-class Whigs from the political scene.

    • Heather on September 9, 2010 at 03:14

    and I’m voting Green whenever possible and Dem when not.

    Got to start somewhere.

    Green party seems the way to go.

    Maybe if it gets going, the next unborn gen will have air they can breathe, every day, not just on non alert days.


    The current crop of Dems isn’t EVER going to get around to it.

    If the Dems do research on who voted and who they voted for, the more Greens, the better. That’s a message they will hear. Maybe they’ll take a hint.

    Meanwhile, I’ve told both of my kids not to have babies, and why they shouldn’t. We cannot keep pretending that everything is going to be all right.

  5. And honestly I don’t, or for whom if I do.

    Voting is irrelevant — we are shut out of society.  But the time is too soon to follow budy’s advice, this year.

    In 2012, if things do not change, at least as far as we are concerned, there will be a voting boycott by the LGBT community — count on it.

  6. Im gonna go do something about this shits.

    You will know me by the trail of my meta.

    Truthiness, bitches. Shits gonna be restored.


  7. while admittedly the Democratic party has fallen far short of our expectations, I’m concerned that many decisions about voting (or not) may be motivated by a desire for revenge.

    Here are a few quotes about revenge worthy of consideration…

    You cannot get ahead while you are getting even. — Dick Armey

    Revenge has no more quenching effect on emotions than salt water has on thirst. — Walter Weckler

    Something of vengeance I had tasted for the first time; as aromatic wine it seemed, on swallowing, warm and racy: its after-flavor, metallic and corroding, gave me a sensation as if I had been poisoned. — Charlotte Bronte

    Revenge, at first though sweet, Bitter ere long back on itself recoils. — John Milton

    Revenge… is like a rolling stone, which, when a man hath forced up a hill, will return upon him with a greater violence, and break those bones whose sinews gave it motion. — Albert Schweitzer

    Justice belongs to those who claim it, but let the claimant beware lest he create new injustice by his claim and thus set the bloody pendulum of revenge into its inexorable motion. — Frank Herbert

    Therein lies the defect of revenge: it’s all in the anticipation; the thing itself is a pain, not a pleasure; at least the pain is the biggest end of it. — Mark Twain

    The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury. — Marcus Aurelius

    Revenge proves its own executioner. — John Ford

    While seeking revenge, dig two graves – one for yourself. — Douglas Horton

  8. ALWAYS vote.

        Don’t like the choices, fine!

        Vote for “me”. Vote for “you”. Vote for “her”.

        Vote for “who gives a shit”.

    NEVER vote in a general for a fascist lackey,

        typically a Republican,

        voting wingnut in primaries can be fun.

    STOP voting for sell outs.

    STOP voting for the politically pathetic.

    STOP checking off the name of the pathetic or the sell out.

    I’m NOT voting for Jim McDermott or Patty Murray, and it feels GREAT! I actually saw them in the crowd at the Washington State Labor Council Labor Day Picnic last Monday.

    You should have heard Jim McDermott with his lessor of two evil bullshit –

    And WHY are the Dems in a bind, Jim McD? 30 years of selling out to fucking fascists, with all kinds of excuses, and people are sick of you! Whose fault is that?

    IF stupid-pak and lieber-scum can wreck everything for their 13th century bullshit, OR their rich pig friends, I ain’t voting for pathetics no more, and I ain’t checking off the name of pathetics no more.


    no more.  

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