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why i won?t vote (10-31-0)

By the time our two candidates are decided?and with our current voting system it wouldn't really be fair to put more than two "viable" candidates up for any given position (more on that later)?the political landscape has already been dictated by the populace and by the rest of the current government in such a way that it ultimately won't matter that much which candidate wins. They can make whatever promises they want before being elected, but chances are none of their promises will ever come to fruition as they claim to intend to get them done. And, our two parties are so alike these days that it seems so damn strange to me that anyone can vote purely along party lines. Perhaps, from within either party, the perspective might be different. Maybe a republican can see huge difference between himself and any given democrat, and vice versa, but from outside these parties, where I would definitely say I am, they are virtually indistinguishable. There are degrees of difference, tiny degrees that require detailed investigation to recognize. But, such differences will be there from candidate to candidate just as much as from party to party. I've yet to see any clear border between the parties, and yet most people who believe in one or the other seem to think there is one. And people who've made up their minds about who they'll vote for, bush or gore, seem to recognize some distinctions between them that are entirely invisible to me. Perhaps that's my problem. I can admit that that may be the case. But, I tend to think it's not me. There are plenty of people who see something wrong with this system, so it can't just be me. With each election year, there's less and less people voting. Less and less people care. And, as far as I see it, this shows one basic fact?consciously or not, people know things aren't working how they should. With no real urge to choose one candidate over the other, the lines between then blurred so much, people don't even bother trying to pick one. It's not like the candidates can really make much of a difference anyway. People seem to think Clinton somehow made this country, in particular the economy, better. Maybe I missed it. Clearly, I did. It would seem, however, that the economy will have its ups and its downs, most likely a cycle that has nothing at all to do with who's president. By the time the new president is selected, all the factors that influence the economy over the next eight years, barring any cataclysm, has already been dictated by the years before. Recessions follow years of prosperity, years of prosperity follow recessions. Wars, even mostly insignificant events like the gulf war or our participation in Bosnia, can effect the economy, and true the president can effect our participation in such things, but last time I checked, we don't vote in new presidents based on their tendencies to get us involved in wars, foreign or otherwise. At least, I haven't heard any mention of such things in their campaigns. Maybe if they put that in there, it would change things. Maybe if, rather than campaigning?as it exists now?at all, rather than showing off who has the most money, who can get the best lobbies behind them, who can find the best speech writers and PR people, they were honest with us, actually told us not what they want to do or what they would have us believe they'd do, or even guess at what they might actually do instead of making empty promises and setting goals we don't seriously expect them to be able to achieve, people might actually care more.

Of course, backing up a bit, I must say I?d still probably not care. As long they insist on this two party system, and the popular vote, there's no point. Ignoring the way the Electoral College makes individual votes unequal to each other, I really don't think votes should be equal. Not without some way of showing me that the next guy knows as much as I do about the candidates, or showing that I know as much as he does for that matter. If I don't bother to pay attention to the candidates, I shouldn't be allowed to vote. And, as long as we go by popular vote, no race with more than two "viable" candidates will be fair. Consider the obvious example, one we almost had 8 years ago, three candidates. The winner does not need a majority; the winner only needs a plurality, more than either of the other two candidates. So, a candidate could win the presidency (or any other position) with say 40 percent of the voters behind him. So, 60 percent of the population (voting population, that is) could dislike said candidate but he wins anyway. The majority could want someone else and he still wins. Now, there's plenty of mathematicians who could explain other forms of voting in more detail, but I?ll just mention briefly two of them. First: the borda count, which essentially asks each voter to rank the candidates, the lowest getting one vote, the next getting two, etc. For example, out of three candidates, from each voter, one would get three votes, one would get two and one would get three. Second: approval voting, which asks each voter to give one vote to every candidate he thinks is qualified for the job. With this system, you could vote for independent candidates and have your support of them be counted, and still go ahead and vote for one of the two that have a better chance of winning. As the lesser candidates get more support votes, with each election, they would get better recognition and more attention in the next election.

But, now I?m digressing.

I will not be voting. Despite the contention that I have no right to complain about things if I don't vote to change them, I believe it's my very right to complain about things that means I shouldn't vote. I not only don't like the candidates I?m supposed to choose from, I don't like the system itself. So I will not take part in a system I dislike to get a candidate I don't like. So, unless there's a candidate promising to change the system, and unless I can actually believe that candidate would be allowed to do such a thing, I will never vote.