Punting Away Our Democracy

Whenever I voice my opinion that Nader is the best presidential candidate with the most progressive platform, many people quickly agree and say they “wish” they could vote for him, as though there were something preventing them from ticking the box on the ballot.  I try to press them on this and they always say something to the tune of “it’s a wasted vote” or “then a Republican will win the election.”  This goes to show just how deeply ingrained the Democrat party’s rhetoric has become in our society, as well as the twisted logic of a “wasted vote.”  Democrats use progressives Americans’ fears of Republican rule to trick them into voting for the “lesser” of two evils (“Lesser” because the Democrats are equally complicit in maintaining American militarism and corporate power — they just actually allow minorities to take part in the process).

The logic behind the “wasted vote” mentality really isn’t logical at all: “He won’t win anyway, so why should I vote for him?”  This is tantamount to the reasoning one makes when betting on a football game.  Americans want to back a winning side more than they want to empower themselves by voting for a likely loser.  But democracy’s not a football game and a ballot isn’t a betting slip.  Democracy isn’t a gamble, it’s about saying what you believe should happen in the face of adversity.  If you are so sure one of the other two parties will win, it’s a bigger waste NOT to vote for someone else.

To use the football analogy again:  It’s a playoff game, your team is down by two scores in the fourth quater.  Do you keep punting on 4th down or do you start using every opportunity left to scrap out a victory?  Those who will vote Democrat based on the expectation that Nader won’t win are essentially punting away a playoff game, accepting defeat.

Isn’t it funny — Americans are told not to accept defeat when our young men and women are dying by the thousands in an ill-conceived and illegal “war,” but when it comes to voting, our one chance to empower ourselves, we shut up and vote for the same bunch of people who created all of our problems in the first place.  Is that the America you grew up believing, the America you want to live in?  It’s time to empower ourselves and make our voices heard by the corporate-owned Democrats and Republicans.  Don’t punt away your democracy.

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~ by Daniel on 4 June, 2008.

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