Our current voting system is flawed, driven by negativity through attack ads and falsely guarded under the pretense that campaigns are geared towards tackling the issues we care about. Once elected, the person who goes to DC faces the same bribery and underhandedness that the rest have who came before them fell prey to. Lobbyists control their campaign, and in turn, their vote. My vote becomes meaningless. The sad truth is still that I helped put them there.
I have said this before in previous posts, but our elected officials are a reflection of ourselves. American voters are at each other's throats. We are unable to agree on anything. We elect men and women who are extensions of that disagreement. Government can't get anything done because we cannot agree on what should be done. If I want progress, I have to seriously consider how I vote.
Which leads me to my conundrum, and perhaps your own.
I want to vote my conscience. I want to vote for what I believe in. I want to vote based on someone's record. I want to vote for someone I can defend, someone I can stand behind. Instead, I'm being convinced that I must vote against all of that and support the lesser of two evils. If I vote my conscience, I might be able to sleep at night, but the person I vote for will not win. If I vote for the lesser of two evils, I may not like them, but they have a shot at winning and some of what I want might get through Congress. By voting for the lesser of two evils, my wants and needs as a US citizen have a chance. Ironic, isn't it?
But the opposite side votes the same way now. Take David Vitter, for example. He's running against Charlie Melancon who is admittedly a conservative democrat. Republicans and "independent" conservatives will be voting for David Vitter despite his afflictions and very public penchant for prostitutes. Family values are important to those voters, but Vitter is not expected to walk the walk. Why? He is a reflection of the conservative voter. His constituents don't have family values either. They behave in ways which favor selfish interests too. They may not be chasing after hookers, but their values are most certainly compromised. They would never be caught dead voting for "some damn democrat." As far as they are concerned, Melancon is a socialist, despite the fact that he's obviously a conservative democrat. In terms of the political spectrum, he's light years away from being a leftist. Still, conservative voters play the lesser of two evils game too, even when their candidate is an outright scumbag. Apparently Melancon is worse that a john.
The people voting for David Vitter are casting what I call a pseudo-protest vote. They are voting for Vitter to protest Obama, but all the griping going on in this country about incumbents, crooked politicians, and and reforming DC politics becomes meaningless by voting for David Vitter. We do not send a message to the corrupt that we want them out. We continue to put them back in because they will supposedly vote at some point in time in line with our belief system. We vote for the chance, not the reality.
If I do not vote for Melancon, those who vote for Vitter give their side a lead. If I do vote for Melancon, there is a chance he could win. But is my vote worth a sacrifice? Do I break principles and go for the win? Do I play that game? What does that say about me?
I do not like this feeling one bit. I would much rather take a stand against the status quo of conservative Louisiana. I have the gumption to cast a protest vote. Practically, it amounts to nothing in the long run. What would you do?
I would prefer to cast a vote of no confidence. I think that is a sentiment those of us on the Left and Right can sympathize with.