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What’s The Point In Voting, Anyways? (Originally posted on 7/30/08)

May 28, 2009

There’s been a lot of buzz about the upcoming presidential election…with discussions running the gamut between excitement and fear, anger and hope, determination to defiance. Most recently, somebody I know submitted a couple of noteworthy blogs regarding the Far Right / Evangelical crowd threatening to not supporting the candidacy of John McCain.
Most recently, because they didn’t want McCain to have a Mormon VP in Mitt Romney…before that, they refused to support McCain because…well…he was John McCain.
Some have expressed concern about such “extortion” threats.
I’m not.
You shouldn’t be either, in my opinion.
There is, however, a particular block of voters that we should be greatly concerned about this fall….greatly concerned:
The ones who aren’t.
And the reason is simple.
Do the numbers.
I’m going to use a real-life analogy to support my viewpoint…an analogy that is sure to upset, or even offend, some of you. I apologize in advance for any hurt feelings. I simply feel that it is a most telling parallel to the subject of this blog.

In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association declared that homosexuality would be removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-II). Was it because of a stunning breakthrough in psychiatry? An astounding medical discovery?
It was decided on by a majority vote.
Now here’s the rub: according to two of the men who actually attended the controversial convention, Dr. Charles Socarides and Dr. Jeffrey Satinover, and a third who actually spearheaded the initiative, Dr. Ronald Bayer, the actual vote itself was frequently disrupted by angry homosexual activists. As a result, the vote itself didn’t take place at the annual convention, as intended, but was reduced to a take-home ballot that the attendees were supposed to fill out and submit by mail. Of all the ballots that were handed out to the thousands of attendees, do you know how many were eventually submitted?
Approximately one-sixth of the total ballots sent out.
The initiative passed…56% to 44% in favor of removing homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses.
That means barely eight percent of the total number of psychiatrists made a sweeping declaration on the subject of homosexuality that still reverberates today…against the 92 % who either opposed the move…or simply didn’t vote at all. And considering how the APA is still wrestling with the subject today (use the ‘net, folks…it’s easy to find if you know where to look), clearly the vote wasn’t made with any scientific evidence to back up the advocates’ claims.

It wasn’t the advocates who were “at fault” for such events…nor the dissenters.
It was the uninterested ones…the unmotivated ones.
The ones who were willing, to some extent or another, to let somebody else’s opinion supersede their own.
This is the so-called voter block that worries me.

In my hometown, I’ve lost count of of the number of people who told me that they didn’t vote in either 2000 or 2004 because they were too frustrated or confused by the complexities of politics…or, worse, they wanted to vote for a third party candidate but felt that it “would be a wasted vote”.
How scary would it be if all the people who either wanted to vote for Ralph Nader…or would’ve voted for Nader simply as a “protest” vote against Bush and Gore/Kerry…actually DID vote for him?
I truly do believe that, in such a scenario, Ralph Nader would’ve become President of the United States…if even only for one term.

I’m not too concerned about the Evangelists “taking their ball & going home” as an acquaintance of mine so succinctly put it. In a typical election, it seems that the average voter turnout is about 1/3 to 2/5 of the total registered voters on record. If approximately 50% of those voters are voting Republican…and The Far Right make up approximately 15% of them…well, my math skills am not too much goodly here, but clearly they make up only a very small number of so-called participants.

…Now, my own partisan bias is seeping in, so be warned…

Anybody remember the infamous “Vote or Die” campaign a few years back? How about when the greatest celebrity hero of our times, Paris Hilton, spent so much time telling her legion of fans how important it was to vote…only to be too distracted by her grueling partying schedule to take a short detour into a voting booth herself?
I am confidently counting on more of the same from that bastion of enlightenment known as The Left…particularly from the group that claims that “your brain on hope” is some sort of young poultry.

* Apres, Lori Z and “Super Awesome! According to D-List Actors, Obama Will Turn Your Brain Into a Cute Little Chickee”…great blog! *

I live in a stereotypical “blue state”…in a very “blue city”…trust me when I say that there are way too many moderates and conservatives in this town for me to believe that Obama is a shoe-in…unless the only ones who vote are the ones who will “Vote for Change”.

I’m not going to whine about how silly, stupid, or foolish those Obama followers are behaving…I’m going to put it on display, on as many e-mails that I can.
I’m not going to fret about the Far Right, still pining for Lyndon LaRouche or Pat Roberston’s long-lost presidential aspirations…I’m going to politely remind them of the alternative.
I’m not going to let the whiners wallow in self -pity about how government is too big and too bureaucratic…I’m going to remind them that a vote for Obama is a vote for bigger government.
And I’m not going to let some stick-in-the-mud political cynic wallow in self-pity over how “nobody in government really cares about us”, blah-blah-blah-retch-puke….

I’m going to remind them that Americans have a unique privilege; we get to overthrow our government every four years.
And I’m going to convince them that an apathetic voter block is precisely what the self-serving politicos want from them…and from you, as well.
Now…an election where the frustrated, the confused, and the truly disenfranchised turned out in record numbers to express themselves and their “voter fatigue” at the polls?

That’s real change.

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