Ken's Voyages Around the Sun

Voted Early
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My ballot's on the way to the counting place. It will be most interesting to see what happens on Tuesday not only with the presidential contest but also a number of California initiatives, such as funding for stem-cell research, that often influence many other states.

(We vote via mail because it saves some time visiting the polling place. I look forward to voting via Internet in the future.)

The other day our neighbor declared that he had so little faith in the two major nominees that he voted for Teddy Roosevelt. You know, the one that died way back when.

To me this action takes cynicism way too far, and even pisses me off. It's fine to not like the two big candidates, but trying to send a message by voting for a dead guy goes beyond pointless.

I believe that anyone like him who complains about such things deserves exactly what he gets -- nothing better. Of course it's true that none of the smaller parties stands a chance of making it big this time around, however there are enough of them that it's likely one of them will align with most any sentiment. Therefore a person should vote accordingly rather than deliberately throw away one of the most powerful democratic tools ever devised.

If enough people do this, things will change. That's the point of the system. Nothing will change by voting for a dead guy. Ever.

Even more I believe that no one has the right to complain about the lack of prospects unless they're also trying to do something about it. I'm not necessarily talking about becoming active in politics, but for the same effort this guy spent telling us about how he was going to vote for a dead guy, he could have said a few words about a living candidate more appealing to him.

Just a couple of sentences to bring alternative choice to our attention might be all that it takes to make a difference. If he tells two people, who each tell two people... well that's how little parties get bigger. Sometimes being too impassioned about a particular point of view pushes people away, but sometimes chosen sensible words can be just as effective.

It's no more effort on his part to suggest voting differently to us than it is to tell us he's voting for Teddy R., but it's miles beyond what he's chosen to do, which is effectively nothing.

About the only thing worse is not voting at all. That sends no message whatsoever, since no one will ever know the reason you did not vote, whether such inaction arises from feelings of futility, laziness, or simply misfortune on the way to the polling place.

So please go vote. Even if you think it won't matter, because this year it might matter more than you expect.

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