Here we are approaching yet another election, and the conventional wisdom is that it is very important to vote.
Well, sort of…
I’m sure many of you would agree that our political system leaves a lot to be desired. It’s full of greed and corruption. The candidate who raises and spends the most money usually wins. Only two political parties get any attention. Our choice is between far right and a moderate. Those of us who are more progressive don’t really get what we want. I would think that there are surely higher quality people to hold office than the choices we get.
So sure, there’s some difference between far right and the middle, which are the two poles we have. But when all the attention is on that limited range of political thought, the difference is not nearly as much as it seems inside that tunnel. There are worlds of ideas out there, outside of what we’re allowed to hear about and vote for, that do not even get into the mainstream public discourse.
At this point I ask this question: if everyone goes to the grocery store and screams loudly about how awful the selections are, yet you continue to buy them, what do you think the grocery store will continue to do? They will continue to offer you the fare that you don’t want. As long as you keep buying it, that’s what will be there for sale.
This is what is going on in the electoral arena. We scream bloody mercy about how awful the system is, how low quality the people running for office and holding office are, etc. Yet if we continue merely to hold our noses and vote for the lesser of two evils year after year after year, nothing will ever change no matter how much we scream. The tide will swing from the far right to watered down middle and back and forth ad infinitum.
One of my favorite expressions is this: if we always do what we’ve always done, we’ll always get what we’ve always gotten. How will this ever change?
In my own city (Lexington, KY), we have nonpartisan city council races. Since it’s local, there is also less money involved. This brings about the situation in which there are people who are actually high quality human beings with good progressive values, people truly worth voting for. Contrast that with our US Senate campaign (Grimes and McConnell), and the noted difference is enormous.
When you go into the voting booth this November and you vote for Republicrats (one or the other) while hoping against hope that the one you hate more will lose, ask yourself the question:
How will this ever change?