Here we are – voting day. I am ready to go and cast my vote today and in common fashion, I am not happy about my choices. I feel like my vote will be wasted or even worse, that it will actually count against the lesser of 2 evils. You see, I don’t plan on voting for a Democrat or a Republican. I don’t feel either one of them represent our country well. So, with this on my mind, there are other things I’m mulling over as well. I know that the person I will be voting for WILL NOT WIN. I know that this is a tight race and people like myself are taking much needed votes away from the Democrat or Republican that we feel won’t screw things up worse than they already are. I also know that by making my decision to vote in these terms means I may be shooting myself in the foot, but at this point, I really don’t care. I refuse to vote for someone I don’t believe in any longer. I will vote for a person that I think has the best interests of our national community in mind and if it means that many people will consider this a wasted vote, then so be it. I respectively decline that statement and say the only wasted vote is the one never casted.
Many people will also say they refuse to vote in a broken system (I think George Carlin described this best *see below*), but I say that the system can actually work and benefit you if you actually put in some research time and participate. If you choose not to participate, then how do you expect to have a voice to change the system that you obviously disagree with? The founding fathers of our country created a system that can evolve into what serves us best as long as we actually use that system.
Unlike many people, I spend a significant amount of time looking into political candidates and issues. I try to be informed on every ballot position the best that I can. I look for unbiased information because frankly, I’m disgusted with the mudslinging nature of the 2 party system. It has just become a media-driven psychological game of “How many people can we convince to buy into our bullshit”. Both parties have points of admiration and both parties have interests that don’t align with what’s best for the nation as a whole. I’ve already had the discussions about why either major party candidate would be wrong for us, so I won’t go into that here because that will always be the case if we don’t fix the voting system itself.
The problem that I see is that most people are forced to vote against the candidate they hate worse, rather than voting for someone they truly believe in. I know what I’m saying is pretty cliche and I’m not going to drag on and on about things that we already know. I prefer to offer solutions.
#1) Remove the 2 party system: Don’t let any candidate declare themselves as part of a particular party – then people won’t just vote a Democrat ticket or a Republican ticket – they will actually have to find out what the candidates’ positions are.
#2) Remove the electoral college: In the age of information, when we all have access to the information we want, nobody has to be considered too stupid to make the correct decision. The electoral college was an old fail-safe for politicians to make an informed decision when they felt the public was too stupid and could have possibly screwed up the vote. A true popular vote is the right way to do things in our current society.
#3) Give tax incentives to people who vote: This will ensure greater voter turn out. As it stands, the current tally of people that actually go out and vote in federal elections range between 36% to 57%. That means that the president is actually only awarded office based on the voice of only 18% to 28% of the entire nation – and that’s only assuming that they actually pulled in a full 50% of the vote – these numbers are estimates and could actually be lower. So, this means that our president could actually only be representing about 15% of the entire nation and many of those people only voted for him to keep the other guy out. We need to give people more of a reason to get out and participate.
#4) Make mudslinging and religious platforms illegal in campaigning: Either of these sentiments only cloud a persons judgement and distract from the actual merit of the work the candidate has done and most likely will do. Campaigning on either of these platforms should automatically disqualify the candidate for any elected office. Negativity and a candidate’s personal beliefs have no place in government – only policies that benefit everyone as a whole should be adopted.
#5) Institute term limits for all elected offices: Career politicians will lie to keep their job. A person who is elected understanding that their time in office is brief will most likely try to do what they can to leave their mark or legacy and be remembered as person of positive change.
#6) Assemble a full time civilian review board: This board will also have term limits that will not run parallel to the elections of that state. This board will constantly review and hold politicians accountable for representing the people exactly the way they said they would during their campaigns. The ‘leap-frogging’ of terms will also ensure that a politician won’t have a panel that was assembled for their personal benefit.
But, until we can actually implement a system that works to our highest advantage, I will go out today and hopefully my wasted vote will be loud enough to say “I’m tired of your political rhetoric – it’s time to fix the system”