Today, Americans go to the polls to choose the person who will lead this country for the next four years. It’s an important day that much of the world, and certainly a lot of the blogosphere, has been anticipating for quite some time.
Voting, to me, is the most important thing we Americans (or other nationalities in their respective ways) do as citizens. I’ve missed voting in one election since I became eligible. That was, I believe, a primary election held shortly after I moved to Alabama in 2001. I simply didn’t know the candidates or issues there well enough to feel qualified to chime in. My philosophy on voting is that if you don’t, you can’t complain about the outcome. Not that I make it a habit of complaining about politicians, but I have no right to be happy or frustrated with the decisions they make on our behalf if I’m not part of what chooses them to act on it.
Honestly, though, I don’t have a lot of faith in the American political system. It’s controlled by lobbyists and special interest groups, two uber-powerful parties that pull politicians strings like puppeteers and is driven by slick communications professionals that have spun, double-talked and lied so much over the last 50 years that no one can trust or believe anyone on either side of the aisle. I still vote for the reason mentioned above, but when super delegates and electoral colleges and bad storms on election day in large, Democratic population centers can throw an entire election one way or another, the system doesn’t work. It’s not representative of the people and, frankly, it’s not worth arguing over because the big money players will keep the current system in place no matter how bad the public wants to change it.
Our government is bought and paid for. Voting is symbolic of a more ideal time in our nation’s history. One day, the power of the people may prevail and maybe social media will have something to do with it. For now, though, it’s just the factory churning out Soylent Green. Careful what you eat.
Granted, this is a super-pessimistic, defeatist view of what our political system is or can be. I know it’s somewhat extreme. But I also see example after example of voting the line of the party, not the constituency, and favor-for-favor governing that adulterates the democracy we’re supposed to have. I will never not vote, but it’s hard to think mine counts for much or that those I help elect care about the people that put them there.
And don’t get me started on political campaigns. If you’ve run for pubic office in the last 50 years you’re probably guilty of lying, slandering and manipulating people to gain favor, which makes you wholly unqualified to represent American citizens, in my opinion.
(I can hear my Canadian friends now: “Move north, my friend.”)
All that said, if you are an American and you haven’t yet done so, please vote today. The more people that do, the more accurately the representation is, even if it’s flawed.