Monday, January 7, 2008

DCMM: How I Don't Choose

This is an embarrassing post to write, especially here in the company of so many smart, informed, and politically active women and men. Here we go: I don't think my vote matters.

I vote, don't get me wrong, I vote, but I honestly believe that there's little about my vote that makes a difference.

I feel like my actions and votes make more of a difference on a local level, but when I look at the presidential race, I feel completely insignificant. I don't help decide who my candidate is; I just punch the little button by the name the others have nominated for me and maybe it gets counted.

Gunfighter's last post here brought this to the front of my mind. In it he lists his reasons and criteria for choosing his candidate. I have an opinion on every single issue he lists, but I haven't spent a whole lot of time figuring out which candidate agrees with me.

Why? Because we all know that I'm just going to vote for the Democrat that is nominated.

I remember my first presidential election. 1992 was a good year. I happily voted for Bill Clinton, and I was thrilled on election night. I felt empowered. I felt adult. I felt so excited to be part of the process.

Results haven't always been so good since.

This year I like Bill Richardson. I like Obama. I even like Edwards and Clinton. I feel okay about voting for any of them. And good thing too, because one of them (okay, not Bill Richardson) is going to be the Democratic nominee. And because I generally refuse to vote Republican on a national level—and this year I absolutely refuse to vote Republican on a national level—I'm stuck with the Democrats.

Sure there are the Independents and the Libertarians and the Green Party, but c'mon. I'd really like to see a day when those parties are viable alternatives, and the only way to make them viable is to vote for them, but for now? Keeping Mike Huckabee out of the White House is more important to me than a genuine multi-party system a few decades down the line.

I know there are other things I could do to make a difference: work on a campaign, write letters, participate in an activist movement. All that stuff is important, but frankly I just don't have the energy. That's on me, I know. That's not the system's fault.

So I'll vote, and my tiny little vote will become one of the building blocks upon which "my" candidate wins or loses.  Maybe. Al Gore or Samuel Tilden, anyone?

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