There is so much on the line in our country right now, so I want to share four reasons I voted in the last presidential election (which is when I wrote this piece). They are same reasons I’ll vote this time, too:
Reason 1) I’ll admit that just about the only difference between a Republican and a Democrat is that the latter dresses better. However, my insightful cynicism stops dead in its tracks when I realize another difference: A Democrat in power would help prevent endless numbers of women dying from illegal butcher-job abortions. My anarchist ideology is something to be ashamed of, if I allow a single person to needlessly die just for my rhetoric.
Life before legal abortion was ugly. Finally changing the law banning abortion took an incredibly difficult struggle. Once that hard-won headway is lost, it will take a long time to regain. During that time, many will die.
Reason 2) I’m really an anarchist. So I don’t let ideology (even anarchist ideology!) limit me. Instead, I embrace the power of chaos, which entails using any legal, moral tool that’ll get a job done. Voting is one such tool. To let the poverty of many American citizens continue in the name of anarchy makes a parody of anarchy. I want to live my rhetoric, not just spout it.
Reason 3) I want the power to make a difference. I won’t fall into the trap of thinking, “Since all politicians suck (the government structure sucks, America sucks, the Electoral College idea sucks . . . ), I’ll take a stand by not voting.” That won’t actually give me power. That’s rejecting a power I actually do have. It’s kind of like being four years old and getting so angry and infantile that you pack up your marbles and go home. If I don’t stay in the game, I can’t win. Then Mother Earth dies. Voilá: no home.
Our anger needn’t immobilize us. Healthy, but misapplied, anger can keep people from creating social change. The above is an example: Some Americans, upset by political corruption, feel that not voting is a way to take a stand, a way to say something. As a result, they forsake what power they do have. Unscrupulous politicians are then more likely to win elections and make damaging decisions.
Reason 4) I figured, “Sure, Bush will probably declare some sort of emergency that will necessitate him seated at the oval office desk until his 24-year-old nephew Jeb Bush, Jr. is old enough for the job. Can you say MONARCHY?” However, acting against all odds is the only way any real change has ever happened. Believing in the impossible is a prerequisite for ground-breaking revitalization of a society.
I also felt that I couldn’t risk another president as bad as him just because the odds were good that they’d once again disregard the voters’ choice. We can’t afford to ignore the long shots available. They may be all we have.
And I’ll use any legal, ethical recourse we have–because doing so is the difference between people who just whine and people who save lives.