Thursday, October 2, 2008


Voting is a private thing. It is an action that at its best offers freedom. Freedom to choose. Freedom from coercion. And if we choose, freedom to disavow our public representations with a completely contradictory selection. The ballot box we are told provides us with invisibility. So then, why the apathy? Regardless of how un-engaging anyone, or all, of the political leaders or their platforms are, why don't we make the effort to do something that apparently costs us nothing and potentially allows us the opportunity to have our ideological perspective represented.

It is hardly accurate to suggest an individual's vote is anonymous. There is a lot of information that can be constructed from the results of the voting process. But identification is still concealed. So what if our names were attached to our votes? Sure we might compromise some of the aspects of freedom that we now seem to enjoy (yet clearly don't exercise). And we might find ourselves ensnared in the cult of personality to an even greater extent than we are currently. On the other hand I wonder if we might actually benefit from an increased sense of responsibility to vote. Politicians could certainly use that information to prejudice their policy making but if they were as smart and as good as we might hope they would be they could also use this information to begin meaningful dialogue with people with dissenting views. Instead what we have done is marginalize dissention in the aggregating force of the majority and recognize 'other' voices than the ones that win only if they are accompanied by significant funding.

Sorry, but I'm not telling you who I'm voting for…


jc said...

'why don't we make the effort to do something that apparently costs us nothing and potentially allows us the opportunity to have our ideological perspective represented.'

No one whom I could vote for represents my 'ideology.' I am American so I have the opportunity to vote for either Mccain or Obama. Or as some call them McBama. I choose to abstain. I might have voted for a Ron Paul or even a Bob Barr but neither of them ever had a snow balls chance in ... to win. What is the point of me going through a pointless exercise to vote for someone I think can only hurt the country more then they can help it.

I think abstaining from voting, not out of laziness, but because of principle is an honorable thing to do. I am open to criticism though.

Outgoing... said...

abstaining - is an interesting perspective.
first assumption: that ideology is relative in the politcal sphere. no party or person can completely represent my ideological views. that doesn't make the system flawed - it just means that involvement in the democratic process needs acknowledge an intrinsic aggregating force. It is hardly realistic for aomeone to expect that party or person will represent thier ideology absolutely.
second assumption: the role of the politician is to aggregate as a broad an ideological range while maintaining distinctives that present a percieved choice. Accomodation is the tool used to accomplish this. And that is precisely the dilemma that you outline with regard to the american candidates 'fighting for the middle'.
third assumption: That even apparent inaction is an action. What needs to be evaluated is what abstaining means as an action. For my part abstaining means an acceptance of the status quo. It releases politicians from the task of accomodating anyone's particular ideological perspective.

dissatisfaction with the political process is not new. what is new is growing disengagement with the process. Disengagement actually change the nature of government. In effect government slides toward autocracy. And the worst kind of autocracy as well since government assumes it represents the majority.
In my view a spoiled ballot is a better choice than abstinence. But if representation is actually desired a much more grassroots involvement is required. Join a party - work for it - change it.
sorry - i'm preaching

jc said...