Why Any Educated Vote Is So Much Better Than No Vote At All
Every election cycle there is always a lot of talk amongst those on the right and the left alike about how poor their choices are at the ballot box. “The lesser of two evils” is a mainstay phrase in political punditry. “He’s not conservative enough!” “She’s not liberal enough” “Senator Smith is a RINO.” “Why can’t we get someone in there that wants to institute some REAL reforms?” “I don’t like the Republicans or the Democrats. Why can’t there be a party in the middle?” Even amongst the elected officials themselves there is similar grumbling about the bills that make their way through Congress and just how watered down they are.
So why, if everyone is so fed up with milquetoast representation, including the representatives themselves, do things remain the same? The answer is humanity’s own imperfection and, like a magnifying mirror, the politicians that represent us, scumbags and statesmen alike, reflect and magnify society as a whole, with all its goodness and all its flaws.
I’m willing to wager that if we traveled back to any year in time and looked at the inner workings of the advanced societies of that time (and by advanced I’d be willing to include any community of more than a couple hundred, maybe even a couple dozen) we’d hear the same complaints about leadership. Yeoman farmers of a fledgling United States ended up fighting brother against brother over still unresolved issues from the Constitutional Convention during the Civil War. Senators of ancient Rome, despite living in the most advanced society in history, organized a little mid-March party for a guy named Julius. My favorite, the Israelites, having just been freed from bondage by a guy named Moses, were already so sick of his leadership that they traded him in for a statue of a cow. (And politicians today think they have it bad!) Maybe all those cavemen weren’t carrying around clubs just to kill their supper.
Sorry for not providing a more cheerful answer, but those are the facts so you might as well get used to them. Until we experience the Second Coming and Jesus starts pounding in yard signs and going door to door with flyers (and something tells me that’s not His style) we’ve got to settle for imperfection.
And don’t look at the choice between a lesser of two evils as such a horrible thing. This is earth, not heaven, and every day we’re faced with a choice between the lesser of two evils; go to an unfulfilling job so you can feed the family or “follow your passion” and let the family starve. Both choices aren’t all that great.
On a grander scale, take World War II, probably one of the most “popular” wars in history. You’d be hard pressed to find even the most left leaning politician say it was unjustified. Was it the perfect choice though? No. Last time I checked, God wasn’t a big fan of war and I’m pretty sure there aren’t any howitzers inside the pearly gates. And from a less spiritual viewpoint, we had to send a bunch of our brave young boys off to the slaughter along with a bunch of money for airplanes that ended up getting shot out of the sky. But did we have a choice? No. It was choosing the lesser of two evils going to war with Germany and Japan.
But back to politicians and a much less lethal choice (at least we hope) of who to vote for. Don’t be too upset over your choices because if you look at most politicians on both sides of the aisle you’ll find that they are really there just to do the right thing. This, of course, is truer the closer to the electorate they are so continue to harass them at town hall meetings, send them emails, and call them on the phone. Support those who you admire and trust with not only your vote but your shoe leather and money as well, even if you don’t agree with them all the time.
And if all else fails, “vote the bums out!” One thing is for certain, with rare exception, the longer politicians remain in office the more jaded they become and the more likely they are to become part of the problem instead of part of the solution. We admire George Washington so much because, after begrudgingly serving two terms as president, he high-tailed it out of New York to spend the remainder of his days at Mt. Vernon.
Don’t, however, vote the bums out in exchange for an even bigger bum and don’t sit home and pout on Election Day because you don’t agree with either of them. Choose the one you agree with most, plug your nose, and cast your vote. If you don’t, you have no right to complain if things continue to slide downhill.
Furthermore, do more of your own research, as time consuming as that is. Talk to the candidate or at least read what he has to say from his own mouth. Don’t just rely on what your friends are saying or what the talking heads on TV repeat (especially if it’s only snippets of an early speech, likely taken way out of context).
And, lastly, get involved early. The reason “the good ones” don’t rise to the top isn’t so much because the system is corrupt (although I won’t disagree and say its perfect either), but that most people don’t start paying attention until it’s too late. For all those people who complain about the two-party system, the fact is, it’s not a two-party system. Even now, as the 2016 Presidential Primary enters its final stages, the choices are still somewhat plentiful. Only those not paying attention would say that John Kasich and Donald Trump, or Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are exactly the same. And if we went back just a year, how different then were Rand Paul and Chris Christie? Viva la difference and make your choice.