Monday, November 03, 2008

Things to do Tuesday: prepare Plato lesson, study German, research Aeschylus paper...

...oh yeah, vote.

And you bet your ass I will bet at St. Paul's Lutheran bright and early tomorrow, voting no on Prop 8, yes on 2, no on 10 (the one basically written by T. Boone Pickens), etc.

But what about that Presidential race...? (which has the likelihood of an Obama win at 98.1% -- no October surprise there) shows California heavily swinging Obama roughly 60-40, so what me worry, right? That basically guaranteed bloc of electoral votes should make the "rational voter" reconsider his vote. My vote never had much weight to begin with, and now a "symbolic vote" for a third party candidate looms large -- symbolic in the sense that that vote will actually show up on a piece of paper somewhere as a statistic ("Oh, another strange person voting for a third party candidate!"), not just "symbolically" in my mind.

But what if every Dem-disaffected left-leaning democrat did that, the argument goes. Yes, it would be quite interesting, but likely? Nah. I can't turn my vote into a categorical imperative -- not only is that sort of generalizing scenario just not going to happen, but a slight expansion of the hypothetical would, of course, usher in a third party candidate in the general election itself, which is precisely what I would desire (well, I really desire proportional representation but we'll leave that out of the equation).

So, you're darn tootin' I'll be in the voting booth because of the propositions -- what should I do then? I could just not vote for either candidate, since I really don't like either party, and no one would ever be the wiser. But oughtn't I go ahead and do something? Why not just vote for Obama? It won't mark my 'soul' one way or the other, and it'll be one more (highly insignificant) vote for the man. And not voting for him, what sort of letter would that brand on my flesh? Is he not the "best" that "we" could ask for? Isn't it all so historic and milestone-like and a fucking long time coming? Why not just channel all that anger from the past eight years into an anti-Republican vote? That indeed might entail a certain level of utility.

But what about the idea that after all of one's bloviating and fulminating on the grievous faults of the two-party system, on the basic agreement among the nation's elite on an imperialistic policy, on the need for a truly democratic force in American political life, after all that, to be dutifully counted within the "yes" column bringing to power another leader who is destined not to take the country in the direction one honestly believes it needs to go? The political scientists will have their moment of knowing recognition: "Yes, yes, people talk about change, they talk about the ability, however small and disadvantaged, within this system to try to introduce bottom-up legitimation for a fundamentally new politics, but at the end of the day they will bite the bullet and cast their vote for what they claim needs overhauling. And that vote, in the final analysis, is what counts. There is your revealed preference."

That's a disturbing thought, and one that I hope will continue to trouble me as much as it does now. I don't know what it will be like tomorrow morning, and surely it will -- on preemptive reflection here -- all seem much less momentous than this, but mostly it feels bad.


Blogger Scantron said...

Well, I'm glad now I didn't vote for Nader: what a sac.

9:34 AM  

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