Re: Will you VOTE? Why or why not? [reply by Michael]

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Wed, 4 Nov 1998 11:29:43 -0400


FWD Wed, 04 Nov 1998 via Food Not Bombs list
CC Replies to author: "Michael" <roadrunner@earthling.net>

On the subject of voting or not voting:

I'm sorry, but I think the whole argument, and the electoral system itself,
is pointless without a truly participatory democratic process in place.

As long as the selection of candidates is controlled by monied interests by
means of the two main (in reality ONE) parties, there is no real choice,
except in certain local elections where it might be possible to elect a
people's candidate due to the efforts of an organized independent political
machinery that responds to the will of the people and not to big money.  But
in the national political process, and in most states, the choice of
candidates is akin to the choice of Coke or Pepsi, Exxon or Mobil, Marlboro
or Winston, Ford or Chevy.  You are free to debate the merits or demerits of
A or B, but in the end, you will choose from what's allowed by the power
elite.  I would suggest the following ways to revitalize the democratic
process and get people interested in voting and participating:

1. By eliminating the influence of big money in elections with a serious
overhaul of election finance laws

2. By making it easier for minority parties to get on the ballot and run
candidates

3. By adopting constitutional amendments which would change the way the
people are represented in government by allowing for a more equitable result
from voting. In other words, some form of proportional representation.

As it stands now, in the "winner-take-all" version of democracy, one party
could rule the whole country simply by taking more votes than the other
parties, even if voter turnout was 35%. Thus, less than 20% of the eligible
voters can rule over the country, and those who voted for the other
candidate are shut out.  If everyone knew that their vote would count, even
if they were in a minority, that they would have a voice, however small, in
government, many more people would get involved.

We have the technological means now for a far more democratic system of
political representation, and if we don't make some drastic reforms in the
present system, people will continue to vote "none of the above" by staying
home.  By the way, I held my nose and voted Democratic because the only
thing worse than a Democrat is a Republican... We need an independent party
of the people, a real rainbow of power.

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