Every Presidential election we are inundated with unceasing messages to “make our voice heard.” We are told “every vote counts” and that it is our duty to make sure we vote, regardless of our philosophies, for someone. Abstaining is met with aghast looks and a whining “Why not?!” First of all, it is NOT our duty to vote; it is our duty to be informed. There is an enormous difference and we continually see the results of ignorant and uneducated partisans getting riled up and excited every four years.
Yes, I voted by absentee ballot two weeks ago. Unfortunately I will not have the luxury of knowing the outcome of this election due to the paper’s deadline. What I do know however, is that most people who voted wasted their time. I however, did not. Allow me to explain.
There are a couple fallacies in the general public’s mindset that need to be thrown out. First is the notion that voting for the President is the most important election we face. In reality, local school boards, mayors, city councils, and state legislatures and executives are far more relevant. These offices have a much more pronounced effect on our daily lives than the President ever can. I understand we’ve drifted a long way from true federalism, but local elections are still more relevant. Tax policy and the budget of our hometowns have a much larger impact on our daily lives than a federal subsidy to marine biologists in Florida for example.
Secondly, and most important, is the idea that there is a difference between the Democrat and Republican parties. Jesse Ventura, former Governor of Minnesota put it best on an April 1st Larry King Live appearance. “What you have today is like walking into the grocery store and you go to the soft drink department, and there is only Pepsi and Coke. Those are the two you get to choose from. There is no Mountain Dew, no Root Beer, no Orange. They’re both Colas; one is slightly sweeter than the other, depending on which side of the aisle you are on.”
How can I claim there is no difference? Let us look at the candidate’s records. Both Senators co-sponsored nine bills in the Senate during the 110th Congress to go along with plenty of other bills where they voted in concert. Most recently, both Senators voted to approve House Resolution 1424, better known as the “Economic Emergency Stabilization Act of 2008.”
Most detestable, Senators Obama and McCain would like to eliminate the 1st Amendment. McCain-Feingold is one of the most egregious affronts to free speech ever passed. The fact that it has not been thrown out by the Supreme Court is a travesty. As for Obama, he made repeated calls during his campaign to silence dissent in the media. He petitioned the Justice Department to enact sanctions against television and radio stations that played critical ads or interviewed critical guests. There is little chance he would veto a renewed “Fairness Doctrine” if it reached his desk, a great possibility with a Democratic majority in Congress.
The actual differences are in varying degrees of technicalities. Both will bring more of the same: big government, high taxes, outrageous and unnecessary spending, and continued trampling of our freedoms. Whether a (D) or (R) after the President’s name is irrelevant; it is all a matter of semantics because everyone loses.
Perhaps the most interesting fact of this election is that the voters of both McCain and Obama, despite which ever wins, will be equally disappointed in the Presidential performance of their choice. The whipped-up dreams and hopes of the electorate will eventually find that their chosen one is unable to fulfill the promises made during the campaigns. The politically charged mantras have been embedded into the minds of those shallow enough to believe the repetitious chants, no matter how empty. The indigestible slop that comes from the mouths of the candidates and their various pundits should serve as a reminder that the American people are easily led down predictable paths and once again they will follow the pied piper’s tune into yet another politically stagnant pond of vacant promises, status quo policies, and centralized planning.
It should not surprise anyone when it comes to the herd mentality of elections; particularly this election since so much effort and money has been expended to feed the frenzy of political idolatry. Of course, Obama has been much more successful at whipping up the emotions of the masses than has McCain; the real test will come once the emotionalism dies in the face of an increasingly difficult reality that continually grows in the heart of this land. These candidates, as usual, play upon the fears, the dreams, the hopes, and even the despair of their respective supporters; never really bringing to light or questioning the most important and fundamental issues facing this country or a future that most politicians seem ready to avoid.
The Establishment gets what it wants, and both parties are a part of it. We currently are not making the decisions, and to believe otherwise if naïve.
In the face of such a farce, I have found my saving grace. Voltaire, that champion of common sense and leader of the Enlightenment was one to laugh in the face of absurdity. “It is lamentable, that to be a good patriot one must become the enemy of the rest of mankind.”
I will soldier on and continue to vote my principles. After all, the lesser of two evils is still in fact evil.