?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Chronarchy

> Recent Entries
> Archive
> Friends
> Profile
> Chronarchy.com

Links
Ár nDraíocht Féin
Three Cranes
MySpace
Chaos Matrix
OSU PSA

November 8th, 2005


Previous Entry Share Next Entry
07:35 am - Get out and vote, you bastards.
May the gods of my people hear my prayers;
as we go to the polls to choose our leaders,
may it be with wisdom.

       -Ceisiwr Serith, A Book of Pagan Prayer

It is always very nice to know that there's a book of Pagan prayer out there that's got some useful stuff in it. I took mine to the polls this morning, and prayed before I began voting. I prayed aloud, but in the confines of my booth, where no one else needed to hear me. It's interesting: I was praying for all of us, but didn't want to disturb my fellow voters. Not that more than five people would have heard me. . . turnout is shockingly low this year.

These "gods of my people," today's Teutates, are Ladies Liberty and Democracy, I think. If I've learned anything from my Paganism, it's that it can be a truly patriotic religion, on occasion deifying those things that we hold most sacred as Americans. Our concepts of freedom and equality are deeply rooted, and we believe firmly in them. We may consider dissent patriotic, along with the belief that tolerance should be held as a high standard (despite my problems with the word "tolerance"), but we are certain that our voice is important and that it will be heard.

Sometimes, I am disturbed by the serious lack of constructive criticism I hear from my Pagan peers, but then, it's about the level that I hear from everywhere else, too. Heck, no one is perfect.

After that short prayer I pulled out my candidate cheat sheet (giving political parties and other fun facts) and went to town.

I voted on the things that were important to me, and I'm happy with my choices. I also voted against my least favourite candidate on the ballot, Eddie Pauline, who quite literally stole my email address and keeps sending me crap.

As for issues? Well, I made my decision in the booth, as I always do. I voted for some things I didn't expect to and against things I expected to vote for. The funny thing is, I have a tendancy to forget what I voted for which issue when I leave.

Hell, I have trouble remembering which presidential candidate I voted for in 2000, and if I didn't know the precise issue that changed my mind while I was in the booth, I probably wouldn't even know who got my vote that year.

But I'm sure that I made the right choices for me. It's probably the longest I ever spent in the voting booth, reading through issues. But the thing about going to cast your vote? It feels empowering. It feels right. It feels good. (Even if, like me, you're unsure if your vote was counted in the last election.)

Yes, I expect my friends to have voted today. At least, if your voting day is today, as it is if you live in Ohio.

You cannot complain if you did not vote. And I really do feel that it is your civic duty. Some days, I figure regular trips to the polls should be a requirement for citizenship.
Current Mood: accomplished
Current Music: "Trouble on the Horizon", -JB

(46 comments Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:_boy_
Date:November 10th, 2005 06:19 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Dunno. I only categorize an abstention if someone actually makes an effort to abstain.

As do many, but our ballots don't allow for abstentions, so that's not a very useful categorization.

When my brother-in-law wants to get his kids to do something (or usually to stop doing something), he gives them a choice "you can do A, B or C". No mention is made that what they are currently doing ("D") or what they really want to do ("E") aren't listed among the choices, but still the selection offers the illusion of choice while limiting the range of discussion. Typically, if a kid throws a tantrum or ignores the ABC list, they aren't seen as simply rejecting of the list of options (which is what they are really doing), but rather they are seen as non-cooperative.


Otherwise, all laziness is abstension, as you point out.

I pointed out nothing regarding laziness. Why would you call it "laziness"? "Apathy" I can understand - "without feeling" - a label that fit many who do vote as well as those who don't. People feel passionately about lots of things. People energetically pursue lots of things. If people have neither the passion nor motivation to participate in an election, I think that it's more reasonable to assume that they doubt the efficacy of their vote than that they're "lazy".

Even you expressed doubt that your vote was effective or influential. If someone shared that belief and, weighing the tasks to be done in a day, judges that going to the polls does less for their life than spending time doing something else, how can that decision be called "lazy"? "Lazy" implies that an action will lead to a satisfactory result, but simple lethargy keeps one from acting. If there is sufficient doubt that an action will lead to a satisfactory result, abstention seems more like an understandable approach than the absence of an approach.

For the record, I vote regularly. However, I can say in all honesty that such voting has never once yielded a satisfactory result, and so I can't call my voting behavior "reasonable". I vote because it's mildly entertaining, cathartic even, to punch the little holes, vent some frustration before going back to the daily grind. It is "civic masturbation", but for political junkies like me, it beats watching TV.
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:November 10th, 2005 06:48 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Perhaps I simply misunderstood implications. Happens. I was thinking that if we count all non-voting as abstensions, we would be counting, among those things, laziness. And lazy does happen on voting days.

But if we count all people who do not vote as "abstensions", then those who don't vote because they simply don't want to are also "abstaining", which (to me) completely nullifies the idea that someone could be abstaining constructively. If someone shows up to vote and doesn't cast a single ballot, then they're making a statement.

If someone never shows up, they aren't making any sort of statement, so far as I can tell. Other than, perhaps, "I do not value voicing my opinion over picking up the kids at soccer." Which, I suppose, is fine and dandy. I could see that entitling a person to bitching about the system at a point in time when they don't have to pick up the kids.

And some people cannot vote because of jobs, the aforementioned kids, etc. To count them with the people who are not willing to vote, to categorize them all as abstension bothers me on some level. I kinda liked Issue 2, which would have allowed anyone to vote any time they wanted to. But people who cannot vote are not at all showing laziness. Just an inability to get there.

And actually, I never expressed doubt that my vote was effective or influential. I expressed doubt that it was counted, which (to me) is a vastly different thing. It may not seem like a difference (an vote that is uncounted may be just as "effective" as a vote that is never cast), but I firmly believe that changing the self is the first step in changing the world. Whether that vote was counted or not, it created change.

We do have ways to count abstensions. Total voter turnout versus votes cast is the one that comes to mind. On the one hand, putting an option of "abstain" on the ballot becomes kind of silly. I suppose there are people who don't realize they have that option, but I think that it says pretty clearly on the ballot that "If you would prefer to not vote on any issue or candidate, simply do not push the button for any choice."

At least equal to the responsibility to cast your vote is to be informed on how do do so properly.

But you can show up and just press the green button and walk out. So the option is there.
[User Picture]
From:_boy_
Date:November 10th, 2005 07:47 pm (UTC)
(Link)
But if we count all people who do not vote as "abstensions", then those who don't vote because they simply don't want to are also "abstaining", which (to me) completely nullifies the idea that someone could be abstaining constructively.

What is a vote for? It is to represent the will of the people, in theory. It is the method by which the will of the people is ascertained. It is the way the "consent of the governed" is granted. If someone doesn't participate in this process, it's unlikely that their will has been represented and thus the legitimacy of the election as representative of the will of the people is put into question.

How can you justify someone being subject to the decisions of another? If you claim to represent someone, shouldn't you make it a priority to determine their will? Otherwise, in what way do you represent them? To me, it's a very basic question of justification of authority, which is the whole basis of government to begin with.

Why would someone simply not want to vote? It seems reasonable to assume that they don't see anything reflecting their interests. That's why I suggested counting all registered non-voters as abstention, or actually "none of the above". If "none of the above"s outweigh votes for any other candidate/issue, then the election goes into another round.


If someone shows up to vote and doesn't cast a single ballot, then they're making a statement.

To whom? Why aren't they making that same statement by registering to vote, but not voting?


We do have ways to count abstensions. Total voter turnout versus votes cast is the one that comes to mind. On the one hand, putting an option of "abstain" on the ballot becomes kind of silly.

Yeah, I guess I should've said "none of the above". But still, I though that abstentions count against quorum - if the yea or nay can't reach a majority, the motion is tabled. I think that politicians would become much more persuasive if they needed a majority to win.


...I never expressed doubt that my vote was effective or influential. I expressed doubt that it was counted, ...I firmly believe that changing the self is the first step in changing the world. Whether that vote was counted or not, it created change.

It created change (of self?) even if it wasn't counted? Can't this kind of "change" be made in the privacy of your own home, or possibly while complaining to others who did vote?

> Go to Top
LiveJournal.com