Monday, August 13, 2012

Suffering from Suffrage

It's still summer and already I'm dreading the upcoming election. Not for the reasons you might be thinking. It's because my friends get on my case. Every four years at least one of them will confront me, and the following conversation ensues.

Friend: "So, who are you going to vote for?"

Me: "I'm not going to vote."

Friend: "What?? How the hell can you not vote? You have a right to vote, and you should exercise it!"

Me: "I also have a right to take a dump on my lawn. Should I exercise that right?"

Friend: "Here is a chance for you to make your political voice heard!"

Me: "My political voice is that all the candidates suck, and none of them are worthy of the time and energy it would take to vote."

Friend: "But your vote means something."

Me: "Oh yeah? What does it mean? That I went to the polls only to shut you up?"

Friend: "It's your duty to support your favorite candidate. If you don't, you're throwing your vote away."

Me: "Okay, I'll vote for the Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson."

Friend: "No!!! That would be throwing your vote away!"

Me: "Huh?"

Friend: "Only Romney or Obama can possibly win. You need to vote for one of them."

Me: "But you just told me to support my favorite candidate."

Friend: "But he can't win! You have to vote for someone who can win!"

Me: "So I need to vote for someone I don't want to be president just because those are the only two that have a chance of winning?"

Friend: "That's right! It's the only way you can make a difference."

Me: "But neither candidate will win by a single vote. Ergo, my vote can't possibly make a difference no matter who I vote for."

Friend: "If fewer people thought like you, then those third party votes could go to one of the major candidates, and that could affect the outcome."

Me: "If fewer people thought like you, more people would vote for the third party candidates, and one of them could win."

Friend: "But that's not going to happen."

Me: "Right. So we're back to only one of the major candidates winning, with the outcome being decided by more than my one measly vote. Hence, my vote doesn't matter."

Friend: "If everyone thought that way, no one would vote!"

Me: "Correct. And then my vote would make a difference."


At 4:43 PM, Anonymous Calvin Perilloux said...

I was going to mention the cascaded/preference voting system like they used when I lived in Australia, where I could vote my weird choice, and if s/he didn't make it to the runoff, they'd also recorded my second choice, so my vote "cascaded" to the next candidate still in the running. Vote your conscience and have your vote count, too. Good system, and those who can't follow it are too dumb to vote anyway.

But never mind -- because you and I live in Maryland and so it's dead easy! If you want Obama, do nothing because he will surely take the state and all the electoral votes. Or if you like Romney, do nothing because he will get no electoral votes here unless it is a landslide of such epic proportions that the GOP wins Maryland, in which case it's about 424 to 14 in the electoral college anyway.

Oh, and yes, I will vote, but only so I can get that "I Voted!" sticker to put on my 8-year-old's shirt to confuse her teachers that day.


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