01 Nov. 2008
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Vote and the Choice is Theirs

Today's blog is on the very important subject of voting.  I know it's very important because I have been told so, by friends, by media, by story and in song, since my youth.  People have died for the right to vote.  Lots of people.  Even though this isn't a political blog, and I make no claims to pundithood, I thought I'd write a bit of babble on the subject.

First Things First

Yummy tuna with a bag of ice in a PLUCOFirst however, I want to offer a valuable suggestion for keeping your PLUCO cool.  Last week I had this manifestly yummy tuna steak in the refrigerator at home.  Tuna is made from fish, which doesn't take well to remaining uncooled for a long time before being eaten.  I wanted to take it to work for dinner and realized that, with the number of stops I had to make, it might "go bad" if I didn't take steps to preserve it.

I found a small plastic bag in a drawer in the kitchen, and filled it with ice.  I put it in the PLUCO next to the tuna.  After my stops I found that much of the ice remained and the fish had remained cool.  I consumed it later that day with no ill effect and it remained yummy throughout. 

I mention this here and in this order because I just remembered I hadn't previously uploaded the picture and didn't want to waste it.  Also, tuna will go bad a lot faster if it isn't refrigerated than the country will if you vote for the "wrong" candidate.

If You Don't Vote, You Can't Complain

(Yes you can.)

If You Vote, The Choice is Yours; If You Don't Vote, The Choice is Theirs

(The choice is largely theirs anyway and there are a lot more of them than there are of you.)

Voting Slogans Debunked

You've seen the slogans many times.  Perhaps, by dint of their repetition, you even believe them.  But neither is true.  If you don't accept my single-sentence debunks above, consider the results of the New Jersey presidential vote in 2004:

Candidate Popular Vote
John Kerry (D-MA) 1,911,430
George W. Bush (R-TX) 1,670,003

If I had voted for Kerry in the last presidential election, he would have had an odd instead of an even number of votes in New Jersey.  If I had voted for Bush, he would have had an even number of votes instead of an odd number.  One vote does make a difference, but not exactly the difference the voter intends, unless he has made an unusually quixotic bet on the vote totals.

I am an American citizen.  (By which I mean, in these PC times, a citizen of the United States of North America.)  I am old enough to vote and have not been convicted of any felony, at least none that I can remember.  I am even registered to vote, know where my polling place is, and can attend it without undue inconvenience on Election Day.  And yet:  I am decidedly an Undecided.  I am not enamored with either candidate, have an especial dislike for at least one of the running mates, and, most importantly, really have no strong opinion as to which would be better for the country or even for my own particular economic situation.  I am disappointed by the selections offered, and, unless something happens to Decide me in the next few days, am very likely to not vote for either presidential candidate*.  If there were a place to mark the ballot "I'm thoughtfully abstaining because I don't want to encourage either one" I might be willing to stand in line to mark it.

Is this "right" or "wrong"?  Conventional wisdom would excoriate me (if wisdom had volition) but it doesn't and I wouldn't care anyway.  I may not be keen on this election, but I am keen on America, at least the United States of the northern one.  I like being able to vote, and, feeling secure in the franchise, don't embody the need to exercise it because of a slogan.  I like just as much not being required to vote.  When you see that a totalitarian dictator has been re-elected by 99.x per cent, you can guess that "volunteers" of the "get out the vote" crew are armed.

I Have the Right To Complain

And, notwithstanding the other stupid slogan, I can complain.  If you look at it logically, the slogan also implies that "If you vote for the winner you can't complain."  It's only those who vote for the loser who have that right.  What nonsense!  Regardless of whom you vote for, or don't vote for, you, as an American citizen, have the right to complain.  You might have noticed that the "rest of the world" also seems to exercise that right, and they didn't even offer to pay U.S. taxes!

We have plenty to complain about now; we'll have plenty to complain about after November 4th.  The country would be too quiet if only the roughly 30% of the populace who will have voted for the loser were allowed to whine and snivel.

*What if everybody felt that way?  I know you're tempted to ask, and if you do I'll suggest that you re-read Catch 22.

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NP:  "Turn Around" - The Beau Brummels

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