November 1, 2008

Conscientious Objector

I have only voted once in my lifetime. When I turned 18 I could not wait to vote, and my enthusiasm led me to cast all my votes for the Republican ticket, except one. I do not remember who was running for mayor that year, but it was not William Hudnut, who had up until then been the only mayor I had known. His retirement did not stop me from writing him in.

In college, I remember reading Thoreau. He laid out quite reasonably why voting, contrary to popular belief, took away your right to object. Most people say that if you do not vote, you have no right to complain. Thoreau saw things differently. He said that by voting, you are acknowledging the right of this system of government to hold sway over you. By withholding your vote, you retain your right to object to the system.

I tried voting in '04, but I somehow failed in my registration. I wanted to vote for Nader. I felt like he had enough attention that my vote could matter, especially since so many people blame Nader for Bush being elected in the first place. I still regret (not too much, but a bit) I did not get to vote that year. I viewed it as something of a protest vote.

My biggest contention with the government in the United States is the two party system. It is totally whacked. If I ever move back to America, then I will definitely get involved with the Green party. But for now, no voting for me. I am definitely not represented in this system, and I have no desire to give up my right to object to it wholeheartedly. At least not yet.

1 comment:

The Tao said...

Nader's a nut, and I don't say this just from this recent "Uncle Sam or Uncle Tom" statement. And the nonexistent Green Party can kiss my ass after costing a certain real political party to have had power for the last eight years.