It’s worth your time


Good morning folks.

I am not here today to talk to you about my feelings on the most recent changes to World of Warcraft.

I am not going to go into how I have fallen out of love with the Hunter class, since it was changed so drastically, or what class my new Worgen will be come Cataclysm time. (Looking hard at a Druid at the moment.)

I am here to talk about something you can do to kill some time tomorrow during server maintenance.

I am here today to talk about politics.

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Now before you fast forward down to the comments section to flame-spray me for not talking about games hear me out.

I am not going to try to tell you how to vote.

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Ok, that’s not true. Actually I will tell you how to vote, or at least how I do it.

The machines that record the votes at my local polling place call for me to close a curtain, insert a card I was given, flip a toggle switch next to each candidate I am voting for, and then pull a lever.

Depending on which poll workers are on staff that day the next step may or may not be receiving an “I Voted” sticker, or possibly a cookie.

If your polling place uses those same style machines, I just told you how to vote, just not who to vote for. 

If they use something else you are on your own.

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And now for storytime.

Many moons ago, when I was taking civics in school, an interesting debate happened.

The professor was teaching what the book said. According to the text there were three branches of government. The Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches to be exact.

One of my classmates proceeded to argue that this was incorrect. This student was both an accomplished member of the debate team, and quite an intelligent fellow. On the occasions that he would get a debate session going with either the civics or world history teachers we knew we were in for a good day in class. 

On this particular day he argued that there was in fact a fourth branch of the government. He made the case that not only was this fourth branch a part of the government it was in fact the largest branch as well as the final check in the system of checks and balances.

The Electorate, those who vote.

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That day of sitting in class going back and forth about whether the Electorate is actually a part of the government or not has stayed with me for well over 20 years now. To this day I firmly believe that the student was right.

I am a part of the government, I am part of the Electorate.

In all seriousness I believe voting in every election from the President of my country to the neighborhood Alderman is not just my right, it’s my duty.

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Originally this part of the post was where I plugged in links to virtually every site I could find that compared the various candidates for office in tomorrows elections. Then I realized that some of those sites may be viewed as somewhat biased in the topics they chose to contrast.

To avoid any hard feelings, accusations of bias, or misunderstandings of my intent I pulled the entire section.

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Instead of a wall of links you can follow I am going to simply ask this of you.

Look up the parties and candidates you will be asked to choose from. 

Compare them, contrast them. Look at what they plan to do in the future, and at what they have done in the past.

There are quite a few websites, including most major news outlets, that have side by side comparisons of many of these candidates. In fact, those are what I considered linking.

As you read try to treat the whole process like it is an interview, and you are trying to pick the best person for the job based on their resume and work history.

Oddly enough, that is exactly what you are doing. Picking those that most closely match your vision of how things should be. We, as a group, are essentially hiring those that the majority of us  think will do the best job.

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One thing to make clear before I sign off.

I don’t care whether you choose to vote a straight party ticket, or even which one you choose.

I don’t care if you pick and choose individual candidates in each race.

I don’t even care if you do a write in vote for Mickey Mouse.

Just please, stop by the polls and cast your vote.

It’s your voice, your choice, and your duty.

It’s worth your time.

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6 Responses

  1. I don’t subscribe to thought of “Just do it. Even if you write in P. Diddy or Hitler. Just vote.” as a PoliSci prof once told me. This seems to destroy any importance a vote might have. It’s not really supporting any candidates beliefs, it’s not supporting wanting to change anything, it’s simply doing something out of some sense of obligation. Like taking out the trash, or spending time with a senile relative who thinks your someone named Billy and that you like peanut brittle even though you are allergic to peanuts and your relative USED to know this.

    That’s what “Just vote, regardless” is doing to the act of voting imo. It’s turning in it into a pointless act that you just want to get out of the way, so you can get to starbucks and get on with your day.

    Ultimately, your entitled to your opinion, and if you feel that way ya feel that way. Just maybe something to keep in mind, next time you begrudgingly get up from the TV to take out the trash. :P

    • Perhaps my point was not well worded, personally I blame it on doing my writing at 4am. Apparently I fail at sarcasam at that time of day.

      Regarding the write in vote for the most part I agree. Voting for Micky Mouse is rather pointless. However there is always more than one contest on the ballot. You could concievably simply vote the contests you have an opinion on and leave the others blank as opposed to doing a write in.

      As far as voting being a chore I will go with your taking out the trash metaphor and look a bit further into it.

      If taking out the trash is my chore to do, and I choose to sit on the couch instead, I have no right to bitch when my house starts to smell. It my own damn fault for doing nothing about it.

      My choice, but still my fault.

    • Do most people vote because they “support [a] candidate’s beliefs” or because one candidate is perceived to me marginally less compromised than the other? If you see voting as an endorsement it’s hard to stomach actually voting for most people on a typical ballot.

      It’s a statement that you are interested in the democratic process but are not prepared to vote for a lizard, though I feel the number of spoiled ballots should be published more meaningfully.

      Also, voter turnout is so low that if you can get people who normally don’t bother to actually show up at the polls it can influence elections in surprising ways:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Battle_of_Aspen

    • Interesting read. I had actually never heard about it.

  2. Another means by which the electorate can be considered part of government is through direct democracy initiatives, such as recall elections as well as proposals for legislation/constitutional amendments that are available in several states.

    Also, I’d like to say that, as someone too young to vote in a country without an effective opposition, it is inspiring to observe the regular, and effective, participation of citizens in government, regardless of the result.

  3. Having been in politics as a candidate, fundraiser, organizer, and AM talk show host (yes, all those things…I was busy in my 20s), I firmly believe that voting is the single most important weapon you can bring to bear against a government or organization you believe is manipulating the system for his/her/their own personal gain, instead of representing your interests and ideals. Is it perfect? No. Is it pretty? No. Is it fair? Sometimes, no. But, is there anything better to replace it with? I think the answer is no there, too.

    So exercise your right to wield voting force tomorrow. It is your duty to take part in shaping our society and electing those that are tasked with directing how we get there. Sermon over.

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