There was an election this past week, in case anyone missed it.
I'm not going to waste my breath discussing it. it has been and continues to be discussed ad nauseam all over the MSM and the Intertubes.
Here is what is sticking with me, post election:
While the final count is still pending, roughly half (give or take a bit) of the eligible voters in the US actually voted on November 6. Fewer people voted last Tuesday than voted in 2008.
What that means is that Obama won with, not half, but roughly a quarter of the voters in this country casting their vote for him. Twenty-five percent. And it's being called a mandate.
I keep thinking about the other 50%, the ones who stayed home, the ones who boycotted. I assume that many, maybe most, of them boycotted because they had no candidate they thought was worth voting for. I wonder how many of them might have voted third party if they had even the slightest belief that a third-party vote wasn't a wasted vote. I know people, progressive, liberal people who are deeply dissatisfied and deeply concerned about the direction Obama is taking this country, who voted for him anyway because they don't believe that a third-party vote can make a difference. I tried to convince some of them that it could, but in most cases I failed.
I wonder what things would be like today if even half of that 50% had voted, and voted third- party. Any third party. Green, Justice, Liberterian. Can you imagine what the public discourse would be right now if 25% of the popular vote had gone to third party candidates? It would be different than what it is.
I know I would feel differently right now if it had. My candidate would still not have been elected, but I would feel differently. I would feel a little more optimistic. A little more empowered.
But as it is, I feel only anger and cynicism. I'm nearly as angry at the non-voters as I am at those who have invested so much to make them feel that a non-vote was a better alternative than a third-party vote, who invested so much in ensuring that our horrifically broken "two-party" system endures for another four or ten or twenty or fifty years. They've won another round, and every round they win entrenches them deeper and makes it that much harder for change to ever be a possibility.
So... all in all, it wasn't a very good week.
How was yours?