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Ár nDraíocht Féin
Three Cranes
Chaos Matrix

November 8th, 2005

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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)


[User Picture]
Date:November 10th, 2005 07:47 pm (UTC)
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?

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