I read a compelling statement in Lisa’s article on an independent’s perspective on voting. In that article, Barb convinced me to seriously consider voting for my favorite choice regardless of whether he/she is the Republican or Democrat nominee.
We’ve all heard the arguments against wasting the vote before. It’s a typical ends justifies the means type argument. “If you don’t vote for either the Republican or Democrat candidate, you will have no say in the outcome of the election.
One of those two candidates WILL be elected, and your vote will have been wasted.” Granted. But let’s discuss reasons why we SHOULD waste our vote.
1. Politicians never change unless the people demand it.
We can grumble and complain about the two candidate system as much as we want, but it will never change as long as the majority votes to influence the win rather than support their favorite candidate. If everyone votes McCain or Obama simply to stop the other candidate from winning, we have a failed system.
True, it may be a decade or two before we can change the system. But later is better than never.
You want to vote for Hillary Clinton, Ron Paul, or Mike Huckabee? Do it. You cannot control the actions of other people. But imagine if 50 million people voted solely on their conscience. How could we ignore the people forever when 25 million support Huckabee, 20 million support Paul, and 30 million support Clinton? These people have been robbed of their voice, but not by the system.
They have been robbed by their perception of the system. Someone has to start voting their conscience or the politicians will never take notice.
2. You need a clear conscience.
What they never tell you in those survival of the fittest types of scenarios is that you cannot unviolate your conscience. If you strongly disagree with the positions of a candidate and you vote for him or her, you have just empowerd that candidate to promote the very things with which you disagree.
Almost no one wants to be among the first to take a risk. They want the safe route. Who among you will “waste your vote” to support your true candidate? And since your vote will not likely prevent a certain someone from being elected any more than your vote alone would change the course of American political process, why not do the right thing anyway?
What do you have to lose, really? That is the topic of today’s open thread.