WASTING OUR VOTES

IVAN HOFFMAN


        If you are satisfied with the status quo, do not read this post. If you believe that more of the same is what you want, do not read this post.

        If you believe in something new, read on.

        Some may believe that casting a vote for an alternative candidate is wasting a vote.

        What is a vote, anyway? It is one way, not the only way, but one way we can each of us make our own personal statement. If that vote is to represent our personal view, then we must forget the seeming impracticality of the vote and say, with all of our heart, “This is what I believe in!”

        Our vote reflects our deepest concerns, our deepest beliefs, and our deepest conscience. To vote for a candidate because he or she has a better chance of winning or seems the lesser of two evils, when that candidate represents little, if anything, for which we stand, is truly offensive to that deepest conscience. As long as we tell future candidates that we are willing to accept mediocrity, hypocrisy, and outright deceit, the more we cast our precious voice for them simply because they are running on a major ticket, the more we defer our integrity and our morality, the less chance we will ever have to effectuate change through the political process.

        If we vote in this manner, do we not feel like we need a shower after emerging from the ballot box?

        And what has this myth, this notion of not “wasting” our votes, given us over the recent past? What has this idea produced by way of fundamental change?

        Has it eliminated war?

        Has it improved our economics and made life better for the vast majority of us?

        Has it reduced the price of gasoline?

        Has it lessened the pollution of our air, water, and ecosystems?

        Has it created a vibrant and growing job base?

        Has it created a moral society?

        Indeed, in terms of even fifty years, a mere millisecond in the history of time, what real changes have been wrought because we were willing to sacrifice our personal beliefs to vote for candidate “A,” who did not represent who we were or what we felt but who had a better chance of winning?

        We have to confront the myth that we are “wasting” our vote and open our minds to new ideas. Until we are willing to advance the cause of those who actually stand for all of the issues which we believe are necessary, we shall be forever relegated to justifying the deed of our compromise in the name of some illusory and, in truth, false benefit.

        It seems that we have forgotten, in the name of pragmatism, that we have an obligation to ourselves to make morality part of the decision-making process. If indeed we do not respect ourselves enough to be truthful to our own integrity, then how can we, in all honesty, expect respect from those who would lead us? By going along with leaders who promise one thing in order to get elected, and as soon as the ballots are counted immediately do the exact opposite, we reflect our collective lack of self-worth.

        We fail to demand integrity from these leaders, even as we rue their lack of the same.

        That's what I believe.

Copyright © 2008 Ivan Hoffman. All Rights Reserved.

No portion of this article may be copied, retransmitted, reposted, duplicated or otherwise used without the express written approval of the author.



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