Nice to find you all... here's something i wrote at dKos in Feburary. Thought it a good companion to priceman's piece.
I used to love to vote. There was something powerful about flexing my civic muscle and flicking a voting lever. I loved the older ladies from the League of Women Voters who'd volunteer and sit for hours at school cafeteria tables with big ledgers and match voters to their names there. I loved signing my name in that big book, and I enjoyed the sense of belonging to this tribe of Americans. And yes, I always felt proud to finally walk into the voting booth, make my voice heard, and perform my civic duty....
That said, I'm not voting in the 2012 national American elections.
Voting has, for me, deteriorated to this: pulling the lever for brand-name candidates who will do the least amount of damage to my country while in office.
That's how if now feels. The lesser of two evils? It's even more dire: it's voting for the saner of two evils.
Please, don't unleash the "no vote is a vote for the other guy." No. It's not.
Nor is it a cop out or giving up.
The reason I am choosing not to vote is based on my decision to stop legitimizing a political system that is, in my perception, corrupt, ineffective, and stupid. There must be some other way (like local and regional politics, but that's for another day).
The whining Democrats are always blaming their ineffectiveness at implementing sane policy on the bat-shit crazy Republicans. And whining Republicans are always blaming bat-shit crazy Democrats of wanting to spend tax dollars on stuff like, I don't know, health care.
Here's where it becomes bizarrely interesting: The Jesus-Rode-a-Dinosaur Republicans can convince my cousin that HillaryCare or ObamaCare is a socialist plot to control her medical decisions. This, from a woman who has depended on socialized medicine (Medicare) since she was diagnosed with MS 15 years ago, not able to work, and has used much more in tax dollars than she has ever paid. But she doesn't want socialized medicine. wOw.
Seriously. I should be voting because??????????
yeah. Maybe teh stupid is the worst thing about the conventional brand of politics.
The Iraq war has cost us 1 or 2 trillion dollars. I've lost count. Of that, billions of those US tax dollars have been lost to mismanagement, overcharges, and literally being um misplaced (seriously, like, hey dude, did you see where I put that 6 billion dollars?)
Yet a majority of the best and brightest (god help us) continue voting to fund war apparently without concern for billions of misspent tax payer dollars. But they get all fiscal conservative over health care, school lunch programs, and food stamps. For crying out loud, they want to convince us that we can't afford health care??? when just the money misplace by the military would cover it for years.
And this isn't just Republicans. The defunding of so many important social programs, like PUBLIC EDUCATION et al, is due to the mismanagement of our government, taxes, the corporate sector... and that responsibility is one all national politicians and bureaucrats must shamefully shoulder (if they have any shame).
Then there's that world economic collapse thing. When I think of ... gag reflex ... the bloody Democrats as the party pushing for bail outs for bankers and brokers in 2008, I could have spit blood. Really. Maybe stroke out, scream, or just stop voting. Again, with the giving away a trillion of our tax dollars.
Funny, I remember thinking that whole privatizing Social Security was a scam. Now I'm pretty sure it was to cover the 21st Century Crash... a crash far worse than the Great Depression.
Perhaps the most insane thing is the lack of any kind of enforcement of law and accountability on people who ruined the Gulf, or exposed our soldiers to depleted uranium, or committed fraud via bad faith financial products... nobody in high places is being sent to The Hague to face charges regarding torture or the death/injury/loss of innocent civilians in Iraq. Oh wait, I forgot, Lynndie England was held accountable... that should cover it don't you think? Or how about those who lent Greece money and then bet on the country to default. Well, you know, Martha Stewart (another woman, funny huh?) went to jail for $100,000 insider trading... I mean, you know, that was only about 10 years ago... and a clear example of our government's swift action to enforce accountability, right?
I ask you: What has been sane about the last decade? i know, it goes back farther, but it didn't get truly certifiable until BushCo. And forget ethical. It's so beyond that question. No, it's not fucking sane. It's ragingly radical. And yet none of these vampire elites (h/t jess) are facing any consequence as people lose their homes, jobs, and life savings.
Tell me the part again why I should vote? Who's protecting us? Who's representing us?
Then there was President Obama's 2012 State of the Union Address. To my ears, he extolled war, cars, oil and drill baby drill. Oh yes, and let's double down on clean energy and stop tax subsidies to big oil... just like he was gonna close Gitmo and felt really bad about signing NDAA (and tried to sooth us with a signing statement that has no force of law).
Now the President talked about economic justice and other things we progressives like to hear, but not in the first half hour. In fact, the first 10 minutes were about war and how returning war heros make booming economies. Really? I couldn't believe it. I'm still having trouble believing it...
Let me clear here: had I known the horrible impact of Bill Clinton's legacy and policy,] I would have probably stopped voting then. Okay, that probably would NOT have been enough to convince the whole system was rotting. I liked and believed in Al Gore and John Kerry. Yet now I'm not so sure. Would they have signed the NDAA as president? Expanded the war? Bailed out bankers and brokers? I'm not sure anymore. I'm no longer confident enough to answer that with any certainty.
I have to say this about George W. Bush. The man made me look. Yes he did. I was so perfectly happy in my little cocktail party world of brave political debate and edgy ideas.
Truthfully, I had no fucking clue. None. nada. And I'm a reasonably educated and intelligent person.
George W. Bush, a disaster for this country and the world, was so arrogant that he exposed what was behind the curtain. It's there... it's not just Republicans. Although, I will agree that Dems are more humane. But they didn't stop him. They didn't draw a line in the sand. Ha... when good democrats do nothing... enablers of evil? the lesser of two evils? I don't know. What I do know is this:
... it's not good enough. Not anymore.