October 25th, 2006 12:32 EST
Look Before You Leap
Americans-- when you vote on November 7th, please be sure to make an informed decision. Your decision.
Not your friends’ decision, not your parents’ or family’s decision, not your religion's decision, not habit’s decision, not fear’s or apathy’s decision. Elections are your chance to exercise your power, express your choice for your government representation, to influence your future. So I hope you take this important opportunity, this civic responsibility, seriously.
Think before you speak. Do not cast a vote you don’t really mean; you can’t take it back.
Despite what our parochial mainstream society would have you believe— despite what the Republican and Democratic parties hope you believe, we do not have a two party system in America. Setting aside for a moment the contemporary lack of substantial distinction between them, Republican and Democrat are NOT your only options.
You are not limited to only these two choices, and so you do not have to vote for them. There actually is an alternative to voting either Democrat OR Republican.
Third party candidates DO exist. So don’t let orthodox politics, or anyone, tell you otherwise; and don’t let this contrived and constrained conventional mentality tell you who to vote for, that you must vote R or D, or not at all. You should vote for someone only because you genuinely believe-- of your own free will and reasoned consideration-- that a candidate is the best option among those available. Select them because they are consistent with your conscience, and represent enough of what you believe.
Refuse to support a false dichotomy by not voting Democrat or Republican if you don’t really believe in or trust them, and encourage others to do the same.
Are Democrats and Republicans really getting the job done? Do they really represent and serve you, like they are supposed to? If you don’t think so, then why vote for them?
Or even if you think no candidate is good enough, then abstain the vote rather than lending insincere support to the less offensive choice, just for the sake of voting. And do not vote for a candidate merely in an attempt to keep another candidate out of office.
Please, do not waste your vote. Don’t think of supporting third party candidates as “wasting your vote” because Republicans and Democrats get the most attention. Why do they get the most attention anyway? Does this seem right, fair or appropriate to you?
Voting for third party candidates because you believe in them, even though their chances of winning are not good, is not wasting your vote.
Voting for candidates simply because they have a better chance of winning, even though you don’t really care for them, IS wasting your vote.
To vote thoughtlessly, ignorantly or frivolously: THAT is a wasted vote.
Honestly, do we want winners running our government? Or would we actually prefer capable and dependable individuals? If more people were bold and brave enough to vote for third party candidates they like, these candidates would have a good, fair chance at winning. Confining ourselves to only Liberal and Conservative denies the American people greater options, and it denies the American people of a fair chance at running for office. Not to mention the limitations in the ridiculous and unnecessary practice of campaign financing to pay for advertising and candidate selling. Candidates, as people, are not commodity.
Permit them and us the dignity of not treating them as such, and demand they quit presenting themselves as product for sale, and an end to partisan politics.
States are not red and blue, they are America. Don’t make this a petty “us versus them” affair. United States elections are not, or at least should not be, about Republicans or Democrats. They should be about America. Not what is best for politicians or the political machine, but what is best for the American people, best for the American nation.
America is supposed to be about choice, especially free choice. Where is the choice when Democrats and Republicans are presented in the illusion of being the only viable choices? And where is the choice when the differences between these two parties these days is negligible, perhaps even irrelevant?
Remember that the American government is supposed to work for its citizens, not the other way around. Never forget that, and never let the government forget.
If we want quality leaders in government office, then it is the task, the sacred duty, of American citizens to put them there. And to remove them from office if/when they are unable or unwilling to fulfill their responsibility.