Fearing the Floodgates – Part 1

*NOTE: This blog became so long that I had to separate it into two parts.*

I’ve been contemplating something that never even crossed my mind since I was 18 . . . I’m thinking about registering to vote.

Yes, I’ve lived 24 years without EVER voting in a single election.  No city propositions, no state gubernatorial, and no Senate or Presidential votes have come from me.  Before you decide to flog me, however, let me explain why.

In my senior year of high school, I had to take a Government class.  Up until then, I’d never paid attention to the government.  News and politics weren’t things we focused on in my household.  I always assumed I’d have to vote when I turned 18, but I didn’t realize I had to actually register to do so.  Nor did I realize that I had a choice.

My Government teacher was very passionate about the subject, which resulted in us being more interested and involved.  When we were discussing the idea of capital punishment, he had us all vote how we felt about it, then made us watch the video Faces of Death that focused on capital punishment.  Let me tell you, many of those in favor switched their votes right away after being faced with the horrors of what capital punishment looks like.

When we got to voting, it was quite an eye-opening experience for me.  I learned then that the Electoral College is a VERY flawed system.  It’s been 22 years since the class, but I distinctly remember my teacher saying that the popular and Electoral College votes have matched in less than five elections.  That was the moment I decided not to vote.  If my vote wasn’t going to be counted individually, what was the point?  It didn’t matter.

Since high school I’ve had people tell me the info I received is incorrect, so I did a little research on the Electoral College myself.  Please note, I plucked this paragraph directly from the government’s archives on the EC (this is no Wikipedia research) 😉 :

“Most states have a “winner-take-all” system that awards all electors to the winning presidential candidate.”

An upcoming documentary on the Electoral College

If I understand this correctly, that means if I vote Democrat–but live in a largely Republican section of California (1 of the 55 EC votes that CA gets)–then my section’s EC vote will go Republican.  And if the majority of the EC sections here in CA are Republican, then that’s where ALL 55 EC votes go, regardless of whether or not the ratio was 28/27 or 40/15.  Regardless of whether a tally of the individual votes for Democrat outweighed those for Republican.  Explain to me HOW my individual vote counts in that election again?!

Anyway, after school I went about my life for the next couple of decades, again only marginally paying attention to what was happening out in D.C.  All the muckraking that goes on during campaigns and all the in-your-face signage in people’s yards for local elections was enough to keep me far away as well.  I hate ads to begin with, so for it to go on like this for months or even years is more than I want to deal with.  And while I don’t automatically believe that all politicians are scum or liars or even corrupt, I do believe it’s the nature of politics to tell people what they want to hear in order to get into office.

So with such a low opinion of the system–and a belief that my individual vote won’t do much good to change it–I felt even stronger in my decision to stay away from voting.  I’ve endured pleading from friends and strangers who try to convince me that my vote CAN help change the system, as well as censure from those who say I have no bitching rights (or rights to my opinion) if I’m not willing to vote.

As a side note, I will say that I disagree with the latter opinion.  I have every right to my opinions, just as everyone else does.  But having “bitching rights” isn’t enough of a reason to vote, for me.  I need to feel that my vote matters.  That I’m not just using up half my day to go somewhere and punch a hole in a card that might or might not be found “dangling” by some corrupt politician, in order to get a different outcome.

Please visit next week, dear readers, to see if I voted or not this year . . .

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11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. cminichino
    Nov 03, 2012 @ 08:25:21

    You’re very brave, Alyx! I find it hard to disagree with you. The fact that we didn’t learn our lesson (most recently) in the disgraceful 2000 election still has me reeling. The only reason I vote is for that very small chance that my vote will be a tie breaker. It could happen!

    Reply

    • Alyx Morgan
      Nov 04, 2012 @ 02:46:20

      Yes, that whole election was so incredibly corrupt, I’m amazed that the American people didn’t storm the White House & say HELL NO! And now Romney’s son wants to buy voting machines in key states??? Um, hello…American People?

      Reply

      • cminichino
        Nov 04, 2012 @ 08:48:30

        And Obama, who waited days and days to respond to earlier disasters, shows up immediately in New Jersey a week before the election? There’s no one to vote for on logical, meaningful grounds. This time I’m voting against, not for.

  2. Alyx Morgan
    Nov 04, 2012 @ 03:31:01

    Just as some say that the creationism AND evolutionism should get equal time being taught in schools, I think that before or after anyone showing “Faces of Death” to discuss capital punishment should also show videos of criminals raping women and children and skinning people alive and other such crap serial killers do. You can’t discuss capital punishment without discussing what offenses were perpetrated in order to GET capital punishment.

    Reply

    • Alyx Morgan
      Nov 04, 2012 @ 03:32:11

      Sorry, this is Craig Smith. I was signed on as Alyx.

      Reply

    • Alyx Morgan
      Nov 04, 2012 @ 12:30:19

      While I can appreciate your take on making people watch the horrors that criminals commit before deciding whether or not capital punishment is justifiable, I hate for anyone to have to experience such atrocities, let alone witness them being done. But you’ve given me another blog to write about Craig (aka, Alyx): making punishments fit their crimes, & what to do with the criminals in our country.

      Reply

  3. Alyx Morgan
    Nov 04, 2012 @ 12:27:44

    I can totally understand where you’re coming from, Camille. With everything I’ve heard & seen go on in this election, it’s hard to say that either side has taken the high road.

    Reply

  4. Ken
    Nov 05, 2012 @ 13:49:12

    Interesting.

    I’m not much into blogs or droppings, but I did wander again over to your site after noticing the “floodgates” in your title and was curious about what havoc there was about to inundate us (or, maybe it was just you you were worried about—it wasn’t clear). Still not sure about the title, but the text seemed interesting just before Election Day.

    I would have assumed that the high school civics class you referred to would have resolved all of this. More interesting to me is your persistence in non-participation at any level due to what seems to be your disillusionment/disappointment in the Electoral College. One piece of anachronistic 18th Century lawmaking seems to void it all for you.

    Artists have historically taken one of two paths: staying away from the gears and wheels of society (often for self-protection) or taken direct or indirect action through some form of activism or social commentary.
    Artists retreat from society or get involved. They are a part of society or beside it—ministers or monks.

    Then there is a middle ground barely worth mentioning: indifference.

    Art (in any form) is an opportunity to provide perspective.
    Whether you vote or not, where you stand can matter.
    Every conversation throughout your day, every position you take, every image or sentence you create can add to society, add to clarification, and add to the uncovering of truth or further the betterment of all.

    Or not.

    We live in a society inundated by well-paid-for propaganda. Words matter. Somebody out there is trying to change your mind.
    If you believe your vote has no value, then do you also believe that your words and actions have no value?

    The last time I commented on your page (some year or so ago), a portion of the topic I responded to was concerned with the transmission of information and the migration of an originally intended message through the purposeful distortion of words.

    Whether or not you choose to vote for President or Chief Dog Catcher, what do you have to say?
    Where do you stand?
    What matters?
    If you don’t have anything to say, who cares?

    I’m not sure if Mark Twain ever voted, but he sure had a lot to say that continues to be of value today.

    Reply

  5. Alyx Morgan
    Nov 06, 2012 @ 23:48:32

    I remember your responding to an earlier blog, Ken, & I thank you for returning once again for this one. In my continuation of this blog on Friday, you’ll see that I MOST DEFINITELY have an opinion on this election, as well as past elections. I have no problem saying my piece to those who will listen, so indifference is not a category I fall into.

    I honestly didn’t mean to draw this particular blog out over two weeks, but once I got on the subject, I couldn’t seem to stop, so I separated it out of consideration for readers who might’ve gotten bored with my long-windedness.

    And the title will make itself a little clearer in Part 2.

    Reply

  6. Trackback: Fearing the Floodgates – Part 2 « Droppings From the Mind of Alyx
  7. Trackback: America’s Reality-Show Election | Droppings From the Mind of Alyx

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