02 November 2010

VOTING (god God ya'll) what is it good for?

I'm not going to be one of those people claiming that, if you vote, you're implicitly endorsing the feeble excuse for a democracy that our rulers eagerly feed us every two years. I don't think, at this point, whether they really bother to care anymore. They have no interest in increasing voter participation, and remain unmoved by low voter turnouts thus far. So I don't see how boycotting is going to make much of a difference. Follow your conscience and vote or don't, it isn't as though the act itself takes a huge effort.

But, in honor of that special day, let's roll through some propositions:

1: Choices, you hasn't got them. The present democracy in the United States is to actual self-government what baby talk is to adult speech. It is grunting and pointing at abstract shapes hoping that the adults in the room will be able to figure out what you want which, in this case, they have no interest in doing. The adults know you'll be pacified by just about anything as long as you can't choke on it, and they're careful to keep all the good stuff off the table where you can't reach it.

2: Voting shouldn't be the end of political action, though almost everyone invested in the electoral system will try to convince you that it is. Hence the endless drumbeats about "doing your civic duty" this time of year, as if afterward you can go back to your life and let someone else make the decisions that will affect you in the end. It's not like your boss is going to leave you any time to worry about it anyway! This is important to understand when you justify enabling lesser-evilism by voting; it is barely a beginning, let alone the end.

3: Campaigning and working on election campaigns is one of the least-efficient ways to spend your time/money if you're trying to bring about progressive change. This is especially true in these days where the campaign season never seems to end, and academic liberal technocrats are always insisting that we are on the cusp of great progressive change or doomsday fascism in the Most Important Election Ever Until the Next One. Cooperation, solidarity, mutual aid and direct action are the only ways to make the bosses perk up their ears and take notice. Serious liberals scoff at this nowadays, but old labor, civil rights marchers, and other fighters knew not to let themselves be herded in and out of voting booths on election day like cattle.