On Voting…

Okay.  Here’s the thing.

I agree.  You’re absolutely right.  The two-party system is ruining our country.  America is deeply divided on every major and minor issue from abortion to healthcare to Internet copyright protection to which coffee cup to get from 7-11.  It sucks.  We can’t look past our noses long enough to compromise, and if one of our politicians dares to suggest it, s/he is immediately despised and people will stop at nothing to try to ruin their next bid for office.  The two-party system sucks.

But, as it stands, I will never vote for a third-party candidate on the national level again.  (I will on the local level, as it actually CAN work there.)

Now, first of all, I don’t feel bad about that because on most issues I tend to side with the Democrats, with a few notable exceptions (but as I’ve said elsewhere, I find it irresponsible to vote based on one or two pet issues and vote for the party whose views match mine in the greatest amount).  But more than that…when I didn’t agree with either party I DID vote for third-party candidates…

It was the year 2000.  I was 20 and could vote for the first time.  I voted for entirely third-party candidates.  None of them had a PRAYER of winning, and none of them DID…  But worse than that, my vote for President was for Ralph Nader…and we got eight years of Bush because of people like me.

I have regretted that vote every day since the 2000 election.  As soon as Bush was announced the winner (and then when he was AGAIN like two weeks later, after the math had been worked out in non-base-ten, non-Euclidian principles), my jaw literally dropped.  My actual words were, “Oh shit…he WON?!?”  I immediately became a Democrat.  Then the next 8 years happened.  In 2004, when people were still clamoring for a third-party, I knew then that “this time it’s too important to throw my vote away.”  (Because that’s what it is.  Even if it shouldn’t be–that’s what it is.  Throwing your vote away.)  Then in 2008, My views and hopes matched up so well with Obama, it wasn’t even a question for me anyway.  And for the record, I still feel that way, despite the fact that Obama has been unable–blocked at every turn–to accomplish some of what he ran on.  Frankly, if he’d ONLY accomplished the Affordable Care Act, it would’ve been enough for me anyway–but that’s not really why I’m writing.

The point is…if you don’t like either party, then don’t vote for one.  But if you MOSTLY agree with one or another, or if you really, really don’t approve of one…sometimes the lesser evil really IS the lesser evil and that’s better than nothing.  Don’t wake up the day after the election and feel like you threw your vote away.  It’d be better to not vote at ALL than to regret the vote you DID make.  Believe me.  I’m a guy who knows and has lived with it for 12 years.  You shouldn’t need a debate or a convention to settle it for you–you should KNOW your own opinion by now.  So choose.  Don’t wait until the day after the election to realize you wanted the other guy to win–because your third-party candidate won’t.  They just won’t.  (Even if you vote for Romney…that’s cool.  You don’t have to like my candida–…err…incumbant.)

…and while we’re at it.  Screw Todd Akin.  That guy sucks.

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