If you’ve never voted using a lever machine, count yourself lucky. These ancient Lovecraftian horrors should qualify as voter intimidation in and of themselves. I hope there aren’t any of these infernal machines in use in Silicon Valley, because they would give a human interface designer a seizure. Forget butterfly ballots; if Florida used lever machines we’d all wake up tomorrow to find that Neeblefrotz, High Goompf of Neptune, had been elected president.
So yeah, obviously I voted. I’m not going to admonish all of you to vote. I’m with ratspy on this one – if you have researched the candidates (for ANY position) and feel strongly that one of them would do a better job, please vote. Otherwise don’t. There’s no great honor in voting just because everyone else is doing it.
Against my better judgement, and in the unlikely event that anyone reading this remains undecided, I’m going to put in a quick plug for my choice. There are a lot of people that will tell you that this is perhaps the most important election you will ever vote in, and that it is too important to throw away your vote on a third-party candidate. I believe there will always be crises in American politics. A general election will always be billed by some as a referendum on the very direction of our country as a whole. And then, inevitably, when the dust settles, whoever is elected will continue, by and large, to do what politicians do – make compromises, expand government, and slowly strip away our liberties bit by bit in the interests of the “common good”.
I too believe that we are in crisis. But it is such a gradual and longstanding crisis that it has become mostly invisible when compared to thehot issues of the day. Much like the proverbial frog in a pot, the heat has increased so imperceptibly that we aren’t even aware we’re being cooked.
A Republican president will endeavor to guard certain rights that are precious to conservatives, such as the right to bear arms, the right of big companies to make loads of money, and the right to practice your religion wherever you are – so long as you’re a Christian. A Democratic president will try to protect whatever rights are fashionable and politically correct. Both will curry favor by inventing new rights like “the right to inexpensive day care”, even if those rights necessitate taking someone else’s rights away. Both will continue to prosecute the failed, racist, corrupt drug war. Both will steamroller over our privacy in the interests of “security”. Both will disregard the interests any subcultures without sufficient popularity or lobbying power. Both will bow to the corporate and other interests who helped them achieve their position. Not because they are evil or corrupt, but because that’s politics, and as long as the State has the power to help those special interests, they will do whatever it takes to make sure they get favorable treatment.
There is a crisis in this country, but it is neither one of terrorism, which has threatened us for decades, or of foreign policy. It is a crisis of liberty, and of State power. We are slowly but surely sliding towards a state of European-style collectivism, where individual liberties are a priviledge contingent on their advancing the goals of the state, rather than a right. Where thickets of regulations stifle the economy, and in order to survive corporations must become indistuinguishable from government. Where personal health, national security, total equality, and inoffensiveness are all counted as more important than individual liberties.
If you are concerned about the erosion of liberties in this country, if you want to see a return to the founding ideals of personal responsibility, free action, and constitutunally limited government, I urge you to vote libertarian. None of the other candidates will reduce the size of government. None of them will respect all of your rights. I realize that there is little or no chance of the libertarian candidates for any of the higher offices to be elected. But as more and more votes are cast libertarian – and our vote IS increasing – people will begin to pay more attention. Politicians will have to start taking the concerns of liberty more seriously. It is essential that, as freedom-lovers, we show those in power that there is a constituency that cares more about being allowed to live our lives as we please than about our favorite program being funded, or our favorite group being given special treatment.
And now I’ll get off my soapbox. Feel free to tell me I’m an idiot, fling tomatoes, or whatever.