We the people

March 2, 2007, 9:40 am; posted by
Filed under Articles, Josh J  | 4 Comments

Count me among the ranks (however thin) of those enjoying the results of the polls we’ve been posting. I took particular notice of our presidential poll. I was very surprised and excited to see that one of my candidates actually cracked the top five.

Until, of course, I realized that he owed his lofty position solely to my top vote. If you’re wondering why I would have been surprised to begin with, that’s simple: none of my “candidates” are actually running (that I know of anyway). My top candidate was not only not a real candidate, he’s not even a real person.

So why did I vote for David Palmer, Ross Perot, Gary Coleman, Ladainian Tomlinson, and Tom Hanks?

I like to say that I’m apolitical. I realize that it’s not always an accurate description, but it’s the best I’ve got right now. I do vote, although not as often as I should. And I do have opinions on most issues, even if I’ve lost the desire to invest.

More than anything, I’ve become frustrated by a two party system. The two powerhouses have neatly polarized themselves on all issues, not always logically or consistently (Who are you supposed to vote for if you oppose both abortion and the death penalty?). Since candidates most often tailor their stands to toe the party line, it becomes increasingly difficult to find one that won’t polarize the people as well. Just as frustrating, many voters mirror this behavior; they pick a party based on one issue that is most important to them and then vehemently defend that party’s stance on every other issue, even if it doesn’t make sense. Even if it’s wrong.

I find myself unable to throw my support behind either of what I believe to be two incredibly flawed parties. The “we’re not as bad as the other guy” approach so common in today’s political arena does nothing to increase my enthusiasm. And while I realize this does not preclude one from picking a presidential candidate — or any candidate for that matter — it does make the decision a bit harder than it is for those who would vote for a sack of potatoes if it secured their party nomination.

I’ll tell you who I’m voting for in ’08. I don’t have a name yet, but I do have a system. Thanks to the electoral college, it’s most assured that my vote won’t have any bearing on the outcome of the election, but I still believe my vote can make a difference. Barring any unforeseen developments, I’ll once again be using my vote to strike a blow for third party legitimacy.

In ’04, I voted Nader. It wasn’t because I believed in him. I didn’t really know anything about him. I didn’t need to, since my vote couldn’t help him win. But it could increase the overall percentage he received, lending more credibility to the idea that Republicans and Democrats don’t have a monopoly on the political sphere.

In 2008 I’ll simply be voting for whatever third party candidate has the best chance to ring up the most impressive vote total. One of these years, a third party candidate has to reach that critical mass where people start to believe that they don’t have to settle for the status quo.

I guess I still want to believe I can be a part of democracy in action. In the meantime, I’ll continue focusing my energies on spreading the gospel. When it comes to changing the world, it’s still a much safer bet.


4 Comments to “We the people”

  1. Aarong on March 2nd, 2007 10:34 am

    Strong points. I, too, voted third party in ’06 here in Ohio. I despised both candidates for various reasons and have long wanted something other than a two party system (hey, even el presidente numero uno wasn’t for a two-party system). I’ve become much more interested in the Libertarian party. Can’t say I’m all that familiar with them, but they seem to embody the things I like about both. And yes, we can’t wait for party’s to change the world. That’s a role for the church, not governments.

    “There are two great lies that I’ve heard: Eat of the fruit of this tree and you will not surely die; and that Jesus Christ was a white middle-class Republican.” – Derek Webb

  2. Steve on March 2nd, 2007 11:34 am

    My problem with that line – and I love Derek Webb – is that if those are the two GREAT lies, roughly morally equivalent, we’re in a lot of trouble. It’s a lie, to be sure. But it’s not original sin, DW.

    Josh, we need to debate the two-party/multi-party system sometime! Love the article!

  3. Aarong on March 3rd, 2007 11:39 am

    Agreed. Can’t say it’s a GREAT lie, but it’s one I hear quite a bit in some form or another. Any ideas on #2 then?

  4. Steve C on March 7th, 2007 12:04 pm

    I buy the the concept and agree with you in principle. But i could not bring myself to vote for a man who whose largest support base comes from the Pot legalization movement. I’d like to believe that my vote is at least sybolic of what the candidate stands for.

    However Localy i vote for the person who gives the most money to the Salvation Army regardless of their staed views on any issue so i guess “my Hypocrasy knows no bounds”

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