30 thoughts on “Why vote?

  1. Dennis Lang says:

    Damn, I wish I didn’t feel so indifferent, cynical, that there’s a futility to it all these days, but off to vote–for whatever it means.

  2. There are many lost causes to feel cyncial about. But voting isn’t one of them. Give yourself credit for doing the right thing…something we all ought to do more of.

  3. Fawn Bernhardt-Norvell says:

    OK then, what about the well reasoned intellectual who feels that their decision to abstain was as principled as yours to vote?

    1. That “principle” eludes me, as abstaining is usually a coward’s way of avoiding saying what he or she really thinks–or a lazy person’s way of sitting out life.

      Even if you don’t like your choices, having the right to make them is worth something. On election day you have a chance to contribute your one, small, lone voice to the ongoing discussion that is civil governance. Don’t vote and you contribute nothing.

      Plus, I happen to know for a fact that YOU would never, ever not vote.

  4. Mike Kennedy says:

    Hand wringing aside, vote if it floats your boat.

    Don’t if it doesn’t.

    Our freedom revolves around not only the right to vote but the right not to vote; thus the word freedom.

    We live in a country where we don’t have to vote for a Chavez or a Hussein under the threat of death or torture — or vote at all.

    For me, it’s a big day.

    My youngest gets to cast his first votes ever and wants to go to the polling place with mom and dad (one of the few places he wants to be seen with us).

    1. Not all freedoms are equal. The freedom to not vote seems to me slight when viewed against the right to vote for someone like, say, Sharron Angle…an unbalanced, racist moron who should probably be prevented from holding office, except that this is America and she has the right to run and anyone has the right to vote for her and we will DEFEND all that, by force if necessary, regardless of how we feel about Ms. Angle or anybody who is for her.

      It doesn’t take an army or a constitution to protect your freedom to not participate in something.

  5. Mike Kennedy says:

    Well, people in countries ruled by dictators and forced to do things they may not want to do may beg to differ with you.

    1. Nope. Big difference. You talking about being forced to make a vote that is not a free choice…versus your intial point about America, where you are free to not exercise free choice…essentially the freedom to ignore the freedom you have. I don’t deny it, I just find it foolish and impotent.

    2. Jim Leinfelder says:

      Personally speaking, I have never heard of a “compulsory right.” Of course we in this country can choose not to vote, or assemble, or petition the government for redress, or practice a religion, or own a gun, or self incriminate, or insist on a warrant before we submit to government search and seizure, etc.

      Ah, yes, who can forget those heart-swelling images of Iraqis holding up their index fingers with NO purple dye on them, to show the world they’d decided to blow off voting.

      1. Ellen Mrja says:

        Hey, there. The NYTimes.com article from 2006 about “fining” Australian citizens who don’t vote was interesting.

        Most persuasive argument: politicians actually made substance out of their campaigns.

        Least persuasive: “Mandatory voting comes with a price: a modest loss of freedom.” One can not have a “modest loss of freedom” – just as one can not be “just a little bit pregnant.”

  6. Mike Kennedy says:

    Not all freedoms are equal in your eyes.

    Your opinion. Your voice. We all get to place our own values on freedom — what a wonderful word and concept.

  7. Mike Kennedy says:

    Again, whatever floats your boat.

    Apparently, nearly half of all Americans value their freedom to stay home on election day, since that’s what they do.

      1. Jim Leinfelder says:

        The American Enterprise Institute’s Norman Ornstein argued in favor of sacrificing a bit of freedom to reduce the hyper-polarity of our elections and return our government to a better working order:

    1. Dennis Lang says:

      Now if that were the result of a well-considered intellectual choice it might be something to ponder, however, more likely it’s simply sloth.

  8. Mike Kennedy says:

    BTW, you’re wrong. I’m talking about being forced to vote at gunpoint, whether you want to or not…… I was also referring to mandatory voting by law, which does exist.

    That was my point. But feel free to misunderstand.

  9. Joe Loveland says:

    Then there are racists like Tom Tancredo at Tea Party conventions selling literacy voting tests. Jim Crow is making a comeback.

    And then, something really odd happened, mostly because I think that we do not have a civics literacy test before people can vote in this country. People who could not even spell the word “vote,” or say it in English, put a committed socialist idealogue in the White House, name is Barack Hussein Obama.”

  10. Trevor Austin says:

    Jon,
    Sorry to hear about the perceived quality of candidates you get to “choose” from. Here, in sunny southern California, we get to choose from has been and never was career politicians or washed up, insincere, two faced business billionaires that “chose” not to even vote until now.
    We have a Mexican American incumbent calling the Vietnamese immigrant challenger, anti-immigrant.
    Our legislature wants to lower the budget requirement to simple majority so they can “FEE” (tax) their way to a balanced budget.
    Then the initiative that has the most people “getting out the vote” is Prop 19 to legalize Marijuana.
    At least that shows you where the general public’s interest lies.
    I am almost embarrassed to say I voted in this election for fear I might have admit I voted for some self interested politician who’s main agenda is to make sure they get to keep their pension, car allowance and full time pay.

      1. That’s my nephew, bub. He hails from the deep end of the family gene pool (as opposed to me, the brother voted most shallow). Actually, I’m more of a submerged reef in an ocean of depth, but somebody has to define the base.

        Hello, Trevor. Nice to see you hanging around. It’s kind of like running into your underage nephew at your neighborhood bar.

        – Austin

  11. Well, had I known that everything appearing here is attributed to you I’d have been a lot more incendiary than I have been until now. So….whoopee! We can let ‘er rip from here on! And please send your comments/complaints to Jon.

    Now take California…

  12. Dennis Lang says:

    For God’s sake 100’s of millions expended on electing these people and the stiff, Blackburn, from Tennessee won’t even define “descretionary spending” when asked to elaborate on her tax cut proposal. No wonder some of us our cynical. Prevarication pitifully typical, regardless of party. What are we voting for?

  13. Ellen Mrja says:

    Mother Jones reported a total of $2 billion was spent on these races, Dennis. But I heard on the morning news today an estimate of $4 billion.

    1. Dennis Lang says:

      Marketing, advertising, idle rhetoric, “brand building” (the sickest expression of the 21st century) playing to the crowd; once elected, even if aspirations noble, swallowed by the bureaucracy. Something absurdly wrong with this picture when education, healthcare, those genuinely, desparately in need suffer–billions pissed away. Politics becoming the new sport, entertainment…. Sorry.

      1. Fawn Bernhardt-Norvell says:

        Agreed. The average cost of US House races went up 80% in TWO years. Meanwhile, our Education system continues to suffer in decline.

  14. PM says:

    The one that truly amazes me is that Whitman spent something like $140 million of her own money and still looks likely to lose! Linda McMahon spent huge sums, to no avail. I suppose it really is hard to buy an election.

    (makes dayton look like a piker)

  15. Rob Howard says:

    Hi Jon, it’s great to know that over the years you’ve toned down your opinions . Here in Oklahoma, we predictably ended up with everything being RED! In fact, I believe that we are the reddest state in the union. We even adopted a constitutional amendment to ban courts from considering Sharia law in making their decisions. Or any international courts, you know, like the ninth circuit?

    Although football is our game of choice here, with the nations leading professional college team only 25 miles away, the Dems essentially were scheduled to play, but chose to leave the field before the game started. End result, in Congress we have Dan Boren who might as well be an R (and I wouldn’t be surprised if he switched, with the Rs in control.)

    Good luck on the Guv race. My observation is that the D’s in MN see Governor’s races as theirs to lose, so they roll up their sleeves and lose them. But close calls are a tradition – wasn’t there one in the ’60 election as well?

    Keep fighting the good fight.

    Rob Howard

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