SYNDICATED COLUMN: Boycott the 2012 Election

Hey Liberals! Time to Stop Getting Rolled

We might as well have defaulted.

Regardless of where you stand politically, the deal to raise the federal debt limit came too late for the U.S. to achieve its main objective, avoiding the downgrading of debt issued by the U.S. Treasury that would have followed a default.

“The political and financial world surely thinks less of us now, and one demonstration of that will likely be a downgrading of the credit rating of the U.S., probably imposed in the next few months,” writes John Keefe of CBS’s Moneywatch. “The net result will be higher interest rates on U.S. government debt, which is likely to bleed through ultimately to higher costs for all sorts of other interest rates.”

The buzz on Wall Street says that Standard & Poor’s will soon downgrade T-Notes from a sterling “AAA” either to “AA+” or “AA”, the same as Slovakia. That’s exactly what would have happened had there been a default.

It is true: Our leaders are idiots.

“I have a home in Nevada that I haven’t seen in months,” said Majority Leader Harry Reid on the floor of the Senate. “My pomegranate trees are, I’m told, blossoming.” Too bad. He missed his pretty flowers for nothing.

Liberals got rolled.

Just like on healthcare.

Just like on everything else.

Everything about the way this deal went down, from the initial posturing to a compromise that will make the Great Depression of 2008-? even worse, along with Congress’ total lack of concern for the hardships being faced by the 20 percent-plus of Americans who are unemployed, has people disgusted.

“The big loser after this exercise is Washington,” Republican strategist Scott Reed tells The New York Times. The 2012 election “has the potential to be an anti-incumbent feeling in both parties.” Gee, ya think?

If any good comes out of the debt limit fiasco, it’s that this embarrassing showdown could serve as a long overdue wake-up call to liberals who still have faith in the Democratic Party. Maybe, just maybe, these ideological rubes will finally accept the obvious truth:

Those corrupt corporate-backed pigs just aren’t that into us.

So boycott the pigs. It is time for Real Liberals to kick Team Democrats to the curb. It isn’t hard. Next November all you have to do is…

Nothing.

Just.

Don’t.

Vote.

In other countries voter boycotts have a long and proud tradition as a way to effect pressure on a non-responsive political system. Think the politicians won’t care if you don’t vote? History proves you wrong. Even in dictatorships where only one candidate appears on the ballot, regimes go to desperate lengths to get people to turn out to vote. Why? It proves the government’s legitimacy.

Samuel Huntington cites the example of apartheid-era South Africa in his book “The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century”: “In the 1988 municipal elections, the [pro-apartheid] South African government…clamped down on pro-boycott opposition groups and made it unlawful for individuals to urge a boycott.” The African National Congress then upped the ante, declaring its intent to “use revolutionary violence to prevent blacks from collaborating [by casting a vote].”

Extreme, perhaps. Effective, definitely. The ANC is now the majority incumbent party in post-apartheid South Africa.

Are you Real? Or do you play for a Team?

If you’re a Real Liberal, you espouse liberal values and policies that you think would make America a better place. If you’re a partisan of Team Politics, you only care about one thing—whether the Democrats get elected. You couldn’t care less about policy.

Which side are you on?

Like Clinton and Carter before him, Obama has sold out core liberal Democratic principles, such as fighting for the weak and poor and expanding the social safety net, as well as civil liberties. He can’t point to a single major liberal policy achievement. Heck, Obama hasn’t proposed a major liberal bill. Even so, Team Democrats will vote for Obama in 2012. Team Democrats are Democrats first, liberals last.

Real Liberals, on the other hand, have no reason to support the Dems. The debt limit deal makes this painfully clear.

Paul Krugman, the only reason to read The New York Times op/ed page, calls the debt limit deal “a disaster, and not just for President Obama and his party. It will damage an already depressed economy; it will probably make America’s long-run deficit problem worse, not better; and most important, by demonstrating that raw extortion works and carries no political cost, it will take America a long way down the road to banana-republic status.”

Krugman is a Real Liberal. Real Liberals care about liberal policies—defending old liberal victories such as Social Security and Medicare, as well as struggling to achieve new gains like a public-works program to put the unemployed to work.

Real Liberals give Democratic politicians the benefit of the doubt. But after they prove themselves to be a DINO (Democrat In Name Only), Real Liberals withhold their support. Classic example: Joe Lieberman, the senator from Connecticut. Current version: Barack Obama and his allies.

Obama has been locked in an epic showdown with House Republicans for weeks. Matador vs. bull. Scary and exciting.

First and foremost, the debt ceiling debate was ridiculous from the start. The economy is at a standstill. Recent GDP numbers came in at a sub-anemic 1.9 percent, so low that the real unemployment rate of 21 percent will continue to increase. Foreclosures are emptying out whole neighborhoods.

The traditional, historically proven Keynesian response to Depression is for the government to spend more. Members of both major parties know this. Yet here they were, both agreeing to spend less, indeed to slash the budget by historic amounts. If the Democrats had an ounce of sense, much less principle, they would have refused to discuss budget cuts at all. (Although an end to the wars would be nice.)

Obama and Congressional Democrats went along with trillions in cuts, cuts that may lead to Soviet-style collapse. The Dems’ only demand was that a final agreement include tax increases on the wealthy.

In the end, the Hopey Changey matador hopped the fence and fled the stadium. The GOP got their cuts. The Dems didn’t get a cent of taxes on the rich.

OK, Real Liberals. It’s been three years. You know Obama’s record. Obama never fights. When he does, it’s for conservative values, like slashing the federal budget and giving our money to millionaire bankers.

Why would you vote for him, or any Democrat, next year?

I know, I know: the Even More Insane Evil Republicans would take over. Après nous, la deluge. To which I ask, really, truly, no sarcasm—what difference would it make?

What if John McCain had won in 2008? Do you think we’d be at war in more countries than Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and Libya? Would the Republicans have done less than Obama for the unemployed and homeowners getting evicted from their homes?

How much longer are you going to tolerate the sellout Democrats? How many more times are you going to stand in line to cast a vote for these treacherous scum?

(Ted Rall is the author of “The Anti-American Manifesto.” His website is tedrall.com.)

COPYRIGHT 2011 TED RALL

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114 thoughts on “SYNDICATED COLUMN: Boycott the 2012 Election

  1. And this week’s Kunstler, good enough to weave into a cartoon?:

    “I’d like to know why the fuck the president is even out campaigning more than a year before the election. And hasn’t the mainstream news media noticed that there’s something a little peculiar about a cycle of perpetual election with no governing in between?”

  2. Ted, what struck me far more than that sense that Whimsical keeps repeating what once was true but is no longer…. is the strange conceit that there is only one boat. That’s what the communists used to say. Only one boat, us. And if it’s leaking, it’s YOUR fault! Heh. Totalitarian thinking refuses to die.

  3. >>There are Bush bankster bailouts, and there are Obama bankster bailouts. There is GOP revolving door between Wall Street and government, and Dem revolving door. There is GOP sponsored corporate welfare, and there is Democrat sponsored corporate welfare. There are endless billions wasted on weapons and wars by Bushites, and then those wasted by Obamaites. Two wars for Bush, is it 5 wars now for Obama? I lost count.

    Massive oversimplification. You’re capable of much deeper thinking then that. There are real, substantive differences between the two parties, and your failure to address them hurts your “pull together” message by making you appear biased.

    >>A fingernail vs a lead pipe?!

    I exaggerated to make a point- you’ve never heard of hyperbole? The basic point is still correct, however.

    >>You are so deep in denial you will need a crane to pull you out.

    Heh. Obviously, I disagree. The left has been in denial for thirty years; I’m offering a way out that actually stands a chance in hell of getting what they want.

    >>And btw, in order to get out of a hole, first, you have to stop digging.

    Good advice, cept we’re not in a hole. We’re in a boat, and some of the folks in the boat have knocked holes in the bottom and are trying to enlarge them.

    If enough of us stop bailing like hell, we’re all dead. I think that outcome should be avoided.

    See you around.

  4. There are Bush bankster bailouts, and there are Obama bankster bailouts. There is GOP revolving door between Wall Street and government, and Dem revolving door. There is GOP sponsored corporate welfare, and there is Democrat sponsored corporate welfare. There are endless billions wasted on weapons and wars by Bushites, and then those wasted by Obamaites. Two wars for Bush, is it 5 wars now for Obama? I lost count.

    A fingernail vs a lead pipe?! You are so deep in denial you will need a crane to pull you out. And btw, in order to get out of a hole, first, you have to stop digging. Good luck with that. Enjoyed our discussion.

  5. >>The salient point is that both sides are unable to govern responsibly.

    You’re doing it AGAIN. Even if I accepted the above statement as true (which I most certainly do not- a broken system allows irresponsible Republicans to block Democratic attempts at responsible government; which is vastly different than Democrats being unable to govern responsibly) it is still wrong to lump both sides together in a context free statement like the one above.

    It’d be like telling a sentencing jury “These men hurt the defendant. Pass sentence”, without telling them that one of the men scratched the defendant once with a fingernail, while the other beat the defendant with a lead pipe for an hour.

    It is NOT equivalent, and to even imply it is equivalent is at best misleading and at worst deliberately deceptive. It taints the entire discussion and makes focusing on the real problem- the broken system- impossible.

    People will not be able to come together in an honest discussion until false equivalencies; even unintended ones, are dead.

    As for the rest of your post, it’s an interesting theory, but I see little real-world application for it. If I have cancer, it might be briefly interesting to discuss why I got cancer, but I’d prefer the majority of the discussion be about what I was going to do to not have cancer any more.

    After all, in the words of the great Yogi Berra; “In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is. “

  6. Whimsical: “as long as people are saying, even by implication, that both sides are equally bad.”

    When you say that, I feel disappointed, because I am hoping to be heard on my own terms.

    Let me try again. The point here is not whether the two sides are equally bad. The salient point is that both sides are unable to govern responsibly.

    As for Buffett, he has been saying that for some time. Are we supposed to hold our breath in anticipation while the broken down system debates endlessly whether the top 0.1% ought to pay more taxes, and how much?! Perhaps you will find it riveting. Argh.

    Here is something I just came across (a book called Reports from a wild country). It eloquently explores the issue of narcissistic ideation that systems of narrower and narrower power fall prey to. I would be interested in your thoughts in response.

    “A crucial feature of the system is that others never get to talk back on their own terms. Communication is all one way as the pole of power refuses to receive the feedback that would cause it to change itself, or to open itself into dialogue. Power lies in the ability not to hear what is being said, not to experience the consequences of one’s actions, but rather to go one’s own self-centric and insulated way. Plumwood (2002:27) notes two key moves in sustaining hierarchical dualism and the illusion of autonomy – dependency and denial. The pole of power depends on the subordinated other, and simultaneously denies this dependence.

    The image of bi-polarity thus masks what is, in effect, a singular pole of self. The self sets itself within a hall of mirrors; it mistakes its reflection for the world, sees its own reflections endlessly, talks endlessly to itself, and, not surprisingly, finds continual verification of itself and its world view. This is monologue masquerading as conversation, masturbation posing as productive interaction; it is a narcissism so profound that it purports to provide a universal knowledge when in fact its violent erasures are universalizing its own singular and powerful isolation.”

  7. Oh, and Ted, if you’re still reading this this far in:

    Given that we appear to have shaken off most of, if not all of the effects of the downgrade, is it still your position that “we might as well have defaulted?”

  8. >>Whether the will is there nowadays? So far, I don’t see it.

    Interesting you should say this on the day Warren Buffet’s piece on taxing the rich comes out. If he’s saying it, I can promise you a lot of the rich are thinking it. The will to raise taxes on them may come from the rich themselves.

    >>Yes, but that is the crux of the problem, isn’t it? Concentrated in fewer and fewer hands?

    Ironically, it is the same thing that makes letting go of some of it easier. Much easier to convince 100 people to ease up on their chokehold on the cash flow or face the angry mob that it would be 1000, or 10,000. I’d actually say this makes re-regulation MORE likely, not less.

    >>I am saying that if we are to effect deep change, we all have to start pulling together.

    And I’m telling you that won’t be possible until we get an honest accounting of the state of affairs. And that an honest accounting of America’s state of affairs will not be possible to have as long as people are saying, even by implication, that both sides are equally bad.

  9. Re Wisconsin: Interesting. You make some good points. Will keep an eye on it.

    >>Yet history shows, painfully, that elites tend to run the system into the ground despite damaging their own long term prospects.

    “American history says otherwise, actually. FDR went to the wealthy and pointed out that they were outnumbered and suggested they either share a little of their wealth or lose a lot of it when they got over-run. They saw the light then and allowed for regulation of the economy; and if the same case was made today they’d see the light now.”

    Well, I said “tend to.” Yes, FDR made a dent. Whether the will is there nowadays? So far, I don’t see it. I see Obummer as their craven tool, and nothing else in the offing. (I believe the political system once centered on Constantinople was able once to make significant reforms as well, and extend its life. In the end, it perished anyway.)

    >>Will the depression shift things? Well, it remains to be seen; so far it hasn’t. In the 30s, there was a lot of wealth to throw at the problem. Different times…

    “Well, that’s because what we’re in now is far more analogous to Japan’s “lost decade” than the Great Depression. And there’s still plenty of wealth to throw at the problem, it’s just concentrated in far fewer hands these days.”

    Yes, but that is the crux of the problem, isn’t it? Concentrated in fewer and fewer hands?

    >>I don’t buy all this frantic vilification of the right any more than I buy their endless sneers and lies about the left. Plague on both your houses!

    “This blatantly false equivalency, that both sides are equally bad, is a huge part of America’s current problems (and a favored right wing talking point). This zombie lie needs to die, ASAP.”

    Ha. How about you actually argued your point? Besides, I am not claiming “equivalency.” I am saying that if we are to effect deep change, we all have to start pulling together. ‘Divide and conquer’ is an old and worn trick of the elites who precisely do NOT want people to unite, for obvious reasons. Enough of this poison in the body politic.

    A great cartoon, btw:
    http://garrisongraphics.blogspot.com/2010_08_01_archive.html

  10. >>I suggest you deepen your understanding of them. For example, Bouton’s Taming Democracy is highly instructive.

    Thanks, I’ll check it out.

    >>Why don’t you stop fighting us unvoters, and fight a corrupt and malfunctioning voting system instead?

    Who says I can’t do both? [/snark]

    In all seriousness, I’m NOT fighting you. I’m trying to make you understand that you cannot fix the system without keeping the country alive, or something much worse will take it’s place.

    Unvoting is the equivelent of ignoring the nicked artery on the body politic because you’re too busy cutting out the cancer. “The operation was a success but the patient died”; is that an outcome you can be proud of? Or even accept?

    I’m all for fixing the system, but not at the expense of killing the political body. And IMO, that’s EXACTLY what unvoting will lead to. And I’m almost positive you’re not going to like the zombie that rises in its place. I know I won’t.

    >>As for Wisconsin, I read online that 2 recalls are insufficient to change the situation. True?

    Again, I’m going with the Clintonian “depends on what you mean by ‘change the situation'”.

    If you mean “pro-worker legislation can now get through, despite a govenor’s veto”, no, two victories wont change that. But, neither would three (and there still may be three once the investigation is done).

    If you mean “anti worker legislation can now be stopped”, my answer is “Much more likely now than before the recall.” One of the Republicans has consistently voted with the Democrats against Walker’s anti-worker agenda. If he continues along that path (and there is no reason to believe he will not) any anti-worker legislation Walker proposes is dead, dead, dead.

    Plus, lets not overlook the value of example. It’s very possible that we put the fear of voters into some of the other Republicans and they may change their votes accordingly; especially since Walker himself is certain to face recall.

    So, even though we didn’t officially re-take the majority, I firmly believe we “changed the situation” in Wisconsin. And we did it by voting! Imagine that!

    >>Yet history shows, painfully, that elites tend to run the system into the ground despite damaging their own long term prospects.

    American history says otherwise, actually. FDR went to the wealthy and pointed out that they were outnumbered and suggested they either share a little of their wealth or lose a lot of it when they got over-run. They saw the light then and allowed for regulation of the economy; and if the same case was made today they’d see the light now.

    >>Will the depression shift things? Well, it remains to be seen; so far it hasn’t. In the 30s, there was a lot of wealth to throw at the problem. Different times…

    Well, that’s because what we’re in now is far more analogous to Japan’s “lost decade” than the Great Depression. And there’s still plenty of wealth to throw at the problem, it’s just concentrated in far fewer hands these days.

    >>I don’t buy all this frantic vilification of the right any more than I buy their endless sneers and lies about the left. Plague on both your houses!

    This blatantly false equivalency, that both sides are equally bad, is a huge part of America’s current problems (and a favored right wing talking point). This zombie lie needs to die, ASAP.

  11. Whimsical: “And if you have any quotes where they endorse not voting, I would honestly love to see them. From my understanding of the founding fathers, they would be deeply ashamed of people who didn’t vote.”

    I suggest you deepen your understanding of them. For example, Bouton’s Taming Democracy is highly instructive. You will learn, for example, how common Pennsylvanians stopped voting en masse after getting shafted by the fraudulent IOU scheme and other Federalist shenanigans. And I doubt you will find evidence that either Franklin or Jefferson tried to shame them. That would be adding insult to the injury. – It’s too bad that lesson was later forgotten.

    Why don’t you stop fighting us unvoters, and fight a corrupt and malfunctioning voting system instead?

    “none of your complaints have legitimacy”

    That’s your opinion. I look at it another way, and so do many others. For many good reasons. And that is all I have to say about it; since in your eyes I do not have legitimacy in this area, why keep talking?

    As for Wisconsin, I read online that 2 recalls are insufficient to change the situation. True?

    Local governments are going bankrupt with the help of the economic elites. It seems to me that when you want to take various perks away from people, that’s a good way to do it. Now that they have finally gotten closer to their goal of killing “entitlements” why would they turn around reinstituting them? Yes, it is a powerful argument you make; they should for their own safety. Yet history shows, painfully, that elites tend to run the system into the ground despite damaging their own long term prospects. Perhaps they feel so insulated by their wealth and power they don’t believe the writing on the wall. And perhaps they have bought so much into sociopathic thinking patterns that denial and inability to plan ahead becomes their daily bread.

    Common folks everywhere, like in Ohio, are on the defensive. Here and there, they will be able to defend, elsewhere, they will keep on losing. Will the depression shift things? Well, it remains to be seen; so far it hasn’t. In the 30s, there was a lot of wealth to throw at the problem. Different times…

    If people were serious about getting the country on track, they would have to unite past all the divisions the ‘divide and conquer’ masters of ceremonies throw at us. Which means uniting past the right-left labels. I don’t buy all this frantic vilification of the right any more than I buy their endless sneers and lies about the left. Plague on both your houses!

  12. @vera

    Easy, tiger. No offense meant.

    >>Are you being disingenuous? The straw man I was referring to consists of mischaracterizing those who do not accept the current voting system as legitimate as passive “never do nothings.”

    Since I NEVER said that I have to ask if you are being disingenuous. The “passive do nothing” comment was ONLY in response to your attempt to justify non-voting by saying that you should not have voted because you could not know in advance who was going to be worse. Go back and read my last response which explains why it’s a valid characterization of that argument.

    It was never intended to be the blanket statement you are taking it as.

    You’re welcome to claim the current system is illegitimate all you like, as long as you are trying to change it, peacefully, which requires your participation in it.

    If you are not participating in the system, none of your complaints have legitimacy. But we’ve been over that.

    >>I do not accept the bad choices I have been given as viable.

    That and a dollar will get you a cup of coffee. Someone who has cancer can claim that surgery and chemo are bad choices which are not viable, but the reality remains that they are the choices he has: chemo(fixing the system), surgery(overthrowing the system), or death(dropping out of the system).

    Simply saying something is not viable is insufficient to make it so.

    >>And, by the way, since you opened the can of worms about “slapping the Founders” – may I point out that the Founders were not a monolithic body? I honor the American Revolution of Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin rather than that of Alexander Hamilton and Robert Morris.

    And if you have any quotes where they endorse not voting, I would honestly love to see them. From my understanding of the founding fathers, they would be deeply ashamed of people who didn’t vote.

    >>After all, the banking regs got thrown out under Clinton… I think the hope of putting better people into those shoes is a vain hope… not because it cannot sometimes happen, and do a little good, but because the clusterf**k of crises within the current system is so massive that fiddling with it does not show good prospects.

    Clinton was a lot more conservative than people realize; folks tend to cut him slack because he’s the last President who presided over a decent economy, which casts a rosy glow over his memory.

    It may take another depression before the economy can be re-regulated. I don’t think things will have to go that far, but it may. Still, whatever it takes, I have no doubt in my mind the economy will be re-regulated to protect the middle class sooner or later.

    Since eventually the bankers are going to realize that there are a hell of a lot more of us than there are of them, and once we have nothing left to lose, their wealth will only protect them from us for so long.

    Putting better people in those shoes is never a vain hope. Wisconsin just voted took out two corporate Republicans in blood red districts, effectively neutering their bought and paid for Governor’s ability to ram anti-worker legislation through. (Would’ve been three, but there’s cause to believe a deeply corrupt clerk fiddled with the vote totals).

    Ohio’s governor used dirty tricks to get a similar anti-worker bill through; the citizens needed to get 225K signatures to put it on a referendum to overturn it in the fall. They gathered over one million signatures, and the law has no chance of surviving the referendum vote.

    I’ll leave you to guess what those two examples have in common.

    • Guys, guys, gals, gals—
      This discussion has officially arrived at the Disputes Over Reading Comprehension level that marks the end of constructive dialogue and the beginning of name-calling. Before things turn ugly, may I suggest that you/we turn to other topics or look at different approaches to this discussion. The You-Said-No-I-Didn’t phase is not particularly useful.

  13. Whimsical: “But not voting is irresponsible BECAUSE it invariably aids “creeps that are bad for the country”;”

    So does voting. Going in circles, now…

    “This is a straw man- especially since I have repeatedly said your vote entitles you to criticize all you like.”

    Are you being disingenuous? The straw man I was referring to consists of mischaracterizing those who do not accept the current voting system as legitimate as passive “never do nothings.” If you want to criticize other people’s arguments, the least you can do is not mischaracterize them. The best you could do is to actually try to see what they mean in the best possible sense, and then attack that. If, that is, you want to move beyond “winning the argument” and onto finding common ground. Do you?

    “Correct me if I’m wrong, but your entire argument for not voting seems to be that you cannot know in advance who will be worse.”

    No, I was responding to your arguments earlier. I would say that the crux of my decision to not vote lies in my refusal to legitimate a corrupt system. I do not accept the bad choices I have been given as viable. I grew up in a system where one party set the candidates and the people had to pretend they had a choice. Now I live in a system where two-parties-supported-by-the-same-money set the candidates and the people pretend they have a choice. This is part of the spectacle, and I do what I can to funnel my energies elsewhere. And, by the way, since you opened the can of worms about “slapping the Founders” – may I point out that the Founders were not a monolithic body? I honor the American Revolution of Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin rather than that of Alexander Hamilton and Robert Morris.

    “The financiers may be trying to take over the world, but unlike you, I do not view it as a given that they have succeeded. Or that they will.”

    I would greatly appreciate if you do not try to read my mind and pretend you know what I believe. Do you think you can manage? Now if you had asked me, I would say… that they have taken that project (taking over the world) a long ways down the road. I would agree that they have not won. And I personally believe they will not win, when all is said and done.

    Yes, I think the same way about the arrests. They have too much power and wealth to bring to justice. It’s naïve to think otherwise. I do not see the “right players” rising into positions where they can change the rules. After all, the banking regs got thrown out under Clinton… I think the hope of putting better people into those shoes is a vain hope… not because it cannot sometimes happen, and do a little good, but because the clusterf**k of crises within the current system is so massive that fiddling with it does not show good prospects.

    “Look at Wisconsin- look at Ohio; both places where the will of the people is overturning the will of the financier’s bought and paid for politicians.”

    Are they? Can you tell more? I have not been following that.

  14. @vera

    Well I need to clarify a point or three, and then I’ll be happy to cease whipping the moribund equine.

    >>You think not voting is irresponsible, and I think that voting for creeps that are bad for the country is irresponsible. So here we are.

    Yes, not voting is irresponsible. But not voting is irresponsible BECAUSE it invariably aids “creeps that are bad for the country”; so I find your rationale contradictory.

    >>To wrap up, I don’t think you understand what legitimacy and legitimation means. No political system can afford to ignore problems with legitimization. Check it with some expert you trust. You’ll see.

    And I don’t think you understand what actually de-legitamizes a system. Simply not participating and going “There, you are no longer legitimate” doesn’t cut it. Try it in a court sometime and see how far you get.

    >>Both you and Albert stoop to a fallacious argument. Just because someone criticizes the voting system of this country (and by the way, nobody has modeled their system on it for 200 years, that should tell you something…) does not mean they “want to lay still and never do anything.”

    This is a straw man- especially since I have repeatedly said your vote entitles you to criticize all you like.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but your entire argument for not voting seems to be that you cannot know in advance who will be worse. Therefore, if you are unwilling to make that choice, it is a merely a logical extension of your argument to ask what choices you are willing to make without knowing the outcome in advance, since non-psychic humans can’t know ANYTHING in advance.

    And if you are unwilling to make ANY choices without knowing the outcome in advance, you do in fact, want to “lie still and never do anything”, because that’s the only way that can happen.

    >>Do you think there is a way for the current political system to deal with the corruption within the financial world?

    Not to be overly Clintonian, but it depends on what you mean by “deal with”.

    If you mean “protect the general public from the consequences of”, absolutely. We had laws and regulations that did so and worked well for a number of years, and the only difference between the system now and the system then are the players. There is no reason not to believe that with the right players in place, those rules would not be re-instated.

    If you mean “arrest and punish those responsible”, no. Barring a mass evolution in human consciousness, there will always be two sets of rules- one for those with money, and one for those without.

    >>There are those who say that it is the (unelected and unaccountable) financiers who are running the world, not governments. Do you see any truth in it?

    Yes and no. Look at Wisconsin- look at Ohio; both places where the will of the people is overturning the will of the financier’s bought and paid for politicians.

    The financiers may be trying to take over the world, but unlike you, I do not view it as a given that they have succeeded. Or that they will.

  15. Well, Whimsical, it looks like we’ve flogged this horse to death. You think not voting is irresponsible, and I think that voting for creeps that are bad for the country is irresponsible. So here we are.

    To wrap up, I don’t think you understand what legitimacy and legitimation means. No political system can afford to ignore problems with legitimization. Check it with some expert you trust. You’ll see.

    Both you and Albert stoop to a fallacious argument. Just because someone criticizes the voting system of this country (and by the way, nobody has modeled their system on it for 200 years, that should tell you something…) does not mean they “want to lay still and never do anything.” When people stoop to fallacies, I feel frustrated because I want to get somewhere in a mutual exploration. Would you be willing to play straight, without the help of straw men?

    If you are, I would be interested in exploring another area, since you seem like a thoughtful person, and I rarely argue or hang with mainstreamers. Do you think there is a way for the current political system to deal with the corruption within the financial world? The only place that is even attempting it is Iceland, and even there they are going after a single fall guy. There are those who say that it is the (unelected and unaccountable) financiers who are running the world, not governments. Do you see any truth in it?

  16. @vera
    >>Whimsical, there are times indeed when refusing to do a certain job (not necessarily telling the boss) is the honorable thing to do. Sometimes, it means sabotage via shirking etc. Sometimes, it means whistleblowing.

    And that is fine, as long as you TAKE THE CONSEQUENCES. Shirkers can get fired. Whistleblowers can get jailed. If your action is that important to you, and you take the consequences of it, I have nothing but respect for you. But that’s not what you’re talking about.

    See, I’m not opposed to not voting per se. Yes, I think it’s about the damn stupidest thing a citizen can do, it’s a slap in the face to the founding fathers, it will accomplish the direct opposite of what you think it will accomplish, etc etc. But if you do it and take the consequences, that’s up to you.

    What are the consequences? The silencing of your voice, and the taking away of any form of legitimacy of your criticism. “Dem that don’t vote, don’t matter”, as some southern politican once said.

    What you’re talking about is not living up to your responsiblities AND still expecting your critique of the state of the country to have validity, and that’s simply never gonna fly with me.

    >>Do you think that if only 10% of American citizens showed up to vote, the system would just shrug it off?

    Absolutely. Not only would it not be remembered as other than a minor footnote, those in charge would simply ignore it and trumpet the majority they got out of those who showed up. It is wishful thinking to think otherwise- see my friend the southern politican’s quote above. A more perfect example of how the system would react to a huge number of shirkers could not be found.

    >>Problem is, it rests on a supposition that we can know. And we cannot. Maybe the candidate A in your example is also a vampire who will suck the blood of maidens if elected, unrestrained!

    More sophistry. By this philosophy, you should lay very still and never do ANYTHING at all because you can never know when something bad is going to happen, and until you know nothing bad is going to happen as the consequence of your action, you should take no action. Foolish.

    You cannot know that you will not get in a hideous accident and die on your way to work tomorrow. Does that relieve you of your obligation to get up, and go to work, doing the best you can? It most certainly does not.

    >>In retrospect, I find it hard to believe that McCain would have been worse than Obama has shown himself to be.

    And I find it hard to believe that any one who makes a claim like that was paying attention. It is crystal clear that McCain would’ve been orders of magntitude worse than Obama. Palin ALONE guarantees that.

    >>What does the still sane citizen do? Refuses to legitimize any of these bloodthirsty loons.

    Sorry, the only person deligitamized by not voting…is yourself.

  17. Whimsical, there are times indeed when refusing to do a certain job (not necessarily telling the boss) is the honorable thing to do. Sometimes, it means sabotage via shirking etc. Sometimes, it means whistleblowing. What you seem blind to is that some rules, and some laws, are simply wrong. And that it is wrong to aid and abet them once a person realizes they are so.

    Do you think that if only 10% of American citizens showed up to vote, the system would just shrug it off? I suggest you look closer. Every political system, even tyrannies, depend on being legitimated. This one does too. If people stopped legitimating it, it would have to change. And I don’t mean Albertian “tweaking.” I mean, it would have to face the crisis of legitimacy one way or another. Basic poli-sci, sir.

    I appreciate your explanation of what you meant. Very clear. Problem is, it rests on a supposition that we can know. And we cannot. Maybe the candidate A in your example is also a vampire who will suck the blood of maidens if elected, unrestrained!

    In real life, Whimsical, it works like this. There is Obama, and there is McCain. Neither desirable in my neck of the woods. I wasn’t gonna vote, but lived in a wobble state, friends yelled at me, so I broke down and voted for Obama who seemed at the time like the lesser evil. But I think I was wrong. In retrospect, I find it hard to believe that McCain would have been worse than Obama has shown himself to be. More money wasted on the military, more wars than even Bush got us into, more debt, more bankster bailouts, more precarious dollar, more dire economic situation, more skyrocketing spending, more bloated government… need I go on? And worse of all, no real ideas of what to do. Only empty babble.

    You know what? The whole blue-red clown thing? It’s a con, to keep us divided. They have no ideas, no solutions to anything, but keep on manipulating the populace to keep us divided.

    So, overall, I am highly educated, did pay attention, and yet, made a bad guess. Of course, if I had picked McCain, he may have turned out just as bad. How the heck would I know beforehand? Like I say, we cannot see the future, we only have hunches, and we are often wrong. Sophistry? That’s a lame come back. I am merely pointing to life as it is. Humans are limited critters with limited understanding and it would serve us well to assume that as a given. A little humility would not be remiss, eh?

    Here is your puzzle:
    Candidate A: kicks puppies (and is a secret vampire though he tells everybody he is a vegan)
    Candidate B: kicks puppies and smothers old people
    Candidate C: kicks puppies and is a psychopath who can’t wait to start another war (though he makes nice speeches about peace)

    What does the still sane citizen do? Refuses to legitimize any of these bloodthirsty loons.

    And then comes in Whimsical and blames the sane citizen because the vampire got elected when the psychopath could have been elected instead! Ha. Merrily spins the carousel.

  18. @vera

    Let me give you an analogy- You have a job. There is part of your job responsiblity you don’t like.
    You can complain about it, you can try and get it changed (both of which still require you do it), or you can quit your job. What you can’t do is tell your employer “I don’t like this so I’m not doing it”, not without losing the perks that your job confers on you.

    Part of your job as a citizen is to vote. You can complain about it, you can try and get the process changed(both of which still require you to do it), or you can renounce your citizenship (quit your job). What you just can’t do is not do your job and expect to retain all the perks the job confers on you- most notably the luxury to complain about the status quo.

    >>If vast numbers unvoted, they’d be forced to pay attention.

    This is completely false. There is absolutely no reason to believe that vast numbers of people shirking their responsiblities would be anything other than a minor media footnote. All those in charge would do is trumpet about how they had a mandate, because a majority of the people who showed up voted for them.

    >>There is no way to know which candidate will do the least harm. Humans do not have that kind of knowledge. All we have is a hunch, maybe, of a lesser evil, but we don’t really know, do we?

    Sophistry. Of course we can’t be ABSOLUTELY sure, but if you educate yourself you can usally make a damn good guess. Esepcially these days, with the tea party running rampant through the GOP.

    >>You say that not voting at all means voting for the worst candidate. How so? I don’t understand your argument.

    Let me give you an example then:

    There are ten people and two candidates.

    Candidate A: I will kick puppies
    Candidate B: I will kick puppies and smother old people in their sleep.

    Normal election, where everybody lives up to their responsibilites: 6 vote for candidate A, 4 vote for candidate B. Candidate A, easily the candidate who will do the least harm wins.

    Now imagine that three folks buy into your nonsense about not voting because both choices suck.
    New Tally:
    3 folks vote for candidate A
    4 folks vote for candidate B

    Candidate B, the candidate who will do the most harm wins!

    Congratulations, thanks to your not voting, you have put the candidate who will do the most harm in office and guaranteed that old people will now be smothered in their sleep. Dont that just make you feel wonderful about the stand you took?

    THAT’S what I mean.

  19. @Ted
    >> They’ve refused to budge since 1976; in fact, Obama is to the right of Nixon.

    And have you never asked yourself why that is? I promise you, it’s not because they’re intrinsically opposed to moving left. Its because the left, through their electoral strategy, has sent the following message to politicans over the past 30+years: “We have no interest in keeping you in office. In fact, we will abandon you the nanosecond you don’t move left enough, fast enough to suit us. Therefore, if you are interested in staying in office, you would be well advised to ignore us, and play to the people who ARE interested in keeping you in office, who are invariably to our right.”

    By changing our actions to send a different message, something along the lines of “Even the slightest move leftward will be rewarded with enough time money and votes to keep you in office”, you’d get a different result. And once politicians saw that the left was serious about keeping them in office, the effect would snowball.

    Psych 101, dude. Positive reinforcement is one thousand times more likely to get you what you want than negative reinforcement. You learn that when training a dog.

    And trust me, if you can train a dog, you can train a politician.

    @Albert
    You know what, every good and liberal thing has come from tweaking and change within the system. The system was totally changed when democracy came about and has since worked to make things better and has come about because people with the right vision stood up and did shit. I don’t see that from Ted, I just see laziness, despair, and contrarian philosophies. I remember Ted making fun of Millennials for being optimistic and I’m a Millennial and I consider myself optimistic and at the same time realistic and the first step is getting Obama reelected. And damn anybody who stands in the way of reelection whether they come from the right, middle, or sadly the left.

    >>Democrats can win by making enemies out of Republicans, but again they shouldn’t continue to behave like Republicans. But the solution is not to not vote for Democrats.

    Bravo sir, couldn’t have put it better myself. Thanks for the props.

  20. Nixon also had a liberal congress and shouldn’t get any credit for anything good.

    BTW, Romney just gave Obama and the Democrats an issue to clobber him with his “corporations are people” comment. Democrats can win by making enemies out of Republicans, but again they shouldn’t continue to behave like Republicans. But the solution is not to not vote for Democrats.

  21. Joking aside, I see less common sense every day on , especially from this column (besides me and Whimsical). It seems like Ted has joined the cult of “nothing we can do to change things, let’s just sit back and hope for this Earth shattering revolution and the system is broken, bla bla bla.” You know what, every good and liberal thing has come from tweaking and change within the system. The system was totally changed when democracy came about and has since worked to make things better and has come about because people with the right vision stood up and did shit. I don’t see that from Ted, I just see laziness, despair, and contrarian philosophies. I remember Ted making fun of Millennials for being optimistic and I’m a Millennial and I consider myself optimistic and at the same time realistic and the first step is getting Obama reelected. And damn anybody who stands in the way of reelection whether they come from the right, middle, or sadly the left.

  22. “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”

    Insanity is repeating that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result…over and over again. It’s cliche and stupid. I call doing the same thing over and over, “being redone-dat.” 🙂

  23. Whimsical, we seem to have reached an impasse. Let me at least counter a bit of misunderstanding. I do not wish to play by the rules set by a corrupt system. I think it is my duty as a citizen *not* to play by those rules. Some rules are just plain wrong. Would you tell a black person years ago refusing to pay the poll tax on principle, that they are really not doing their duty, because that is how the game is played, so grow up?

    Once you accept the corrupt rules of engagement, then you find yourself voting for some imagined “least evil” — and conveniently forgetting that lesser evil is still… EVIL!

    I have not unvoted to send a message. I harbor no illusions that the people in power are interested in any messages coming from the likes of me. If vast numbers unvoted, they’d be forced to pay attention. Any less than that, and they don’t have to. I have unvoted to do the right thing.

    There is no way to know which candidate will do the least harm. Humans do not have that kind of knowledge. All we have is a hunch, maybe, of a lesser evil, but we don’t really know, do we?

    You say that not voting at all means voting for the worst candidate. How so? I don’t understand your argument.

  24. >>But in the meantime, unvoting = none of the above. *Now.*

    Nope. This is another example of how liberals play by the rules they THINK the system plays by instead of the ACTUAL rules it plays by.

    You THINK you’re sending a none of the above message. Sorry, but given the way the system is currently structured, not voting for the candidate that does the least harm=voting for the candidate that does the most harm; and you’re sending one of the two messages outlined above. Those are the rules the system ACTUALLY plays by.

    There is nothing principled about aiding the candidate that does the most harm, even by negative actions, such as not voting.

    Now, you may not like it. You may wish it was other than what it is. You may bust your butt to change what it is and get “none of the above” on the ballot. But until you do, you are morally obligated to deal with the system as it is, and that means holding your nose, gritting your teeth, and PULLING THE LEVER for the candidate that you feel, based on your knowledge will do the least harm.

    >>Tell me: what if you are faced with two candidates neither of whom is the least harm. Both are about equally harmful because both are paid for by the same unprincipled people. What then?

    Not possible. There is always a degree of difference, even if it is minute.

    Once again: You are morally obligated to educate yourself, ignore your feelings, and then cast an actual vote for the person who will do the least harm. There is simply no other way to live up to your responsibility as a citizen.

  25. A “token gesture of resistance”? Surely you jest. I am sure the power-hogs in DC get a big kick out of that one as they throw another bale of money at the banksters.

    Lessee. A freak show comes to town. There is the blue clown, and the red clown. One is riding a donkey, the other an elephant. Then, there are some midget clowns walking behind, but nobody pays much attention to them. The circus master comes to you and demands that you pick one of the clowns to be your town’s mayor. You dutifully step up… pinch your nose, and pick one of them? Wha? How insane or brainwashed do you have to be to accept this as normal?! (Don’t mean that as an insult, I was there once too.)

    I don’t want any of the clowns. How long before they put “none of the above” on the ballot? I’ll be long dead. But in the meantime, unvoting = none of the above. *Now.*

    I agree with you about responsibilities. I am a first gen immigrant who was totally gung ho on voting once. I still believe that getting educated about the system is the responsibility of each citizen… and then, to act in principled ways based on that understanding. That is what I am doing.

    Tell me: what if you are faced with two candidates neither of whom is the least harm. Both are about equally harmful because both are paid for by the same unprincipled people. What then?

    Phew… what *is* that stench?! 🙂

  26. >>What I would like to understand is why you think that people who are principled unvoters have no right to complain? Why? Aren’t they citizens too? Or is citizenship conditional in your world?

    For starters, because the phrase “principled unvoters” is an oxymoron.

    Not voting, in actuality sends one of the following two messages:

    1) “I am so happy with the status quo, I feel no need to vote”. In which case, you are a lost cause and I don’t want to hear from you.

    2) “I am so broken that I cannot be bothered to put up even a token gesture of resistance to your plans. Do what you will.” In which case, you are useless, and I don’t want to hear from you.

    One of the only true things Clarence Thomas ever said was that along with the Bill of rights there should’ve been a bill of Responsibilities. In my view, one of the responsiblities is to educate yourself, and cast the best possible vote given your information and understanding.

    Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for modifying the voting process to include “none of the above: do over”; but unless and until that gets accomplished, you are morally obligated not only to vote, but to vote for the candidate that will do the least harm, regardless of how doing so makes you feel.

    And yes, there was a revolution-I can only dream of what wouldve been accomplished had the majority of revolution supporters stopped firing after the first shot.

  27. Albert Cirrus, I believe it was you who said the system needed major tweaking. When Ted asked how, you had this to offer: “Whatever Ted, the truth is that the only choice is to vote for Obama in 2012 and hope for the best while working at the local or state level to improve the Democratic Party and hoping that filters up to the national level.”

    That is tweaking?! What color is your sky anyway????!!! Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

    Whimsical, I am sorry to hear that no matter how ineffectual and corrupt the voting game is, you feel duty bound to support it. Kinda mindboggling, but so be it.

    What I would like to understand is why you think that people who are principled unvoters have no right to complain? Why? Aren’t they citizens too? Or is citizenship conditional in your world?

    Interesting analogy, regarding the Revolution and Obama. To me, it was like electing Washington to the top of the Continental Army. He then proceeds to hire loyalist soldiers and officers, and begins to fight the American rebels! Obama stuffed his cabinet with status-quo defenders and wall streeters. His hand was visible from the get go. Yet some people keep saying we should have “continued the revolution.” There was no revolution, folks. There was just a change of masks.

  28. Obama’s strategy is the strategy that you’ve mocked for the past few years, the “I-suck-but-my-opponent-is-worse” strategy. I know it’s a dumb strategy, but it’s better than yours, telling people not to vote at all.

  29. >>How, exactly, is it possible to get what we want by playing within this system?

    By quitting playing by the rules we THINK the system should play by, and starting to play the game by the rules it ACTUALLY plays by.

    >>We vote on Election Day and hope for the best, figuring we can vote the bastards out the next time if they fuck us over.

    Perfect example. We THINK the system works that way and so we act. When reality is that doing so sends the following message to politicians: “We are not interested in keeping you in office. Therefore, if you want to stay in office you should ignore us and play to the people who ARE interested in keeping you in office- who are invariably to the right of us.”

    When we accept that reality and send a different message to politicians, we will be closer to getting the policies we want passed.

    >>Am I supposed to wait for my great-great-great-grandkids to enjoy political decency?

    Not at all; I mean the 2012 elections are a wash, sweeping Democratic victories are necessary merely to undo the left’s disastrous strategy from past 30 years and the disaster it caused in the midterms. But provided we sweep Democrats to major victories in ’12 and KEEP following my strategy, I’d say we could get a highly progressive Congress and White House by 2018-2020 tops.

    It would however, require a coordinated strategy and patience, two things the left seems to be sorely lacking.

    @vera

    No. There is no point where I would refuse to vote, because if I refuse to vote, my complaints have no legitimacy. Don’t vote? Don’t complain about the state of the country. Not to me, anyway.

  30. @Albert-
    >>But the solution is for Democrats to grow balls and elect Democrats with balls to replace the conservative/cowardly ones, not to boycott an election which will lead to more Republicans and maybe a crazier Republican president.

    >>And besides, the American people already pulled a “boycott” in 2010 by electing a bunch of teabagger Republicans. Yes that was to punish the Democrats for being lame and guess where that ended up, shit got worse. Do you think a boycott of voting for Obama would suddenly make everything magical? Are you just hoping that electing more Republicans would make things so bad that it would lead to some magical revolution that would change the system? If that’s so, it’s retarded and I don’t want any part of it!

    Yeah, that sums it up pretty well, I think. Thanks for being a voice of sanity and reason, two things in increasingly short supply on the left.

    Oh and @Susan-

    >>“Real world obligations” didn’t stop the Egyptians from going to Tahrir Square until they got what they wanted.

    Ten bucks to the charity of your choice that says the protests completely disperse by Dec 6 without getting a thing on your want list.

  31. @Ted-

    Well, we’re going to have to agree to disagree. I believe you are playing directly into the right’s hands. They WANT a violent revolution so they can crush it, along with what remains of our Republic – and that ALONE is sufficent reason not to have one.

    But I’m not going to convince you that a revolution doesn’t stand a chance in hell of succeeding, and you’re not going to convince me that the right wont put it down within weeks and use it as an excuse to transform the country into a fascist theocracy, like they’ve always wanted to.

    But, since (unlike others) you’ve actually considered my points and been civil, I’m content to leave it at that.

    You’ve made one huge incorrect assumption though, and I can’t let that go by:

    >But we did that in 2008. And look where it got us. Pure foolishness.

    No, what was pure foolishness is that people GAVE UP after 2008, as if the election of Obama was the end of the war instead of the first kill.

    Imagine if after Washington’s band of Rebels had killed their first Redcoat, huge sections of the army started griping- “What? We’re not free of Britian YET!?! Screw this! Washington sucks. I’m staying home!”, and then they stayed home and got their freinds to stay home for the next battle!

    I swear, if Washington had to run a revolution with the folks who voted Democrat in 2008, we’d still be under British rule.

    The election of Obama was a sign to DOUBLE OUR EFFORTS, not REST ON OUR LAURELS. It was the first kill in a generations-long war, not some sort of triumphant victory. Those who didn’t get that are entirely responsible for any dissapointment they feel- not Obama and the Democrats.

    • You have a point; politics is something that occurs between Election Days too. However, that’s not the way the American system or our national personality works. We vote on Election Day and hope for the best, figuring we can vote the bastards out the next time if they fuck us over. I think you’re asking for something unrealistic, a personality change on the part of the American people. I’m hoping for something plausible, a spontaneous explosion of anger.

  32. @Susan-
    >>>>No, Albert has it right. It’s time for liberals to stop insisting that politics plays by the rules they think it should play by and start playing it by the rules it ACTUALLY plays by. They start doing that, they could get a liberal majority Congress and a liberal President by 2018 or so.>>

    >>Whimsical, this is a direct fucking contradiction to your earlier claim to me that you KNOW democracy is dead.

    Uh, no. Saying we’ve never HAD a direct Democracy is not the same thing as saying Democracy is dead. We don’t have a Democracy, we have a Republic. The founding fathers distrusted direct democracy, and for good reason. At this point, I must ask if you’ve even passed high school civics? Not to mention basic English- it’s not possible to claim something’s dead (not that I did) that never existed in the first place.

    So, if you’re done freaking out about something I never said, let’s move on.

    >>If they openly declared martial law, it would be the greatest gift they could ever give us. The phony veneer of pseudo-democracy would finally be ripped off.

    I’m sure all the people being trampled and violated under a fascist theocracy would agree with you that it was “the greatest gift” they ever got. I’d be hard pressed to find an answer more likely to alienate people from liberalism by demonstrating how badly liberals are out of touch.

    >>You are quite probably a paid Obama/Democratic sock-puppet, judging from this statement alone. You offer no ideas of your own. Nothing except play by the rules and vote for Obama.

    Heh. Actually, it’s far more likely that you are a paid right-wing sock puppet, designed to fool the left into continuing to make the same mistakes they’ve made for 30+ years, giving us more Republicans in office and pushing the Democratic party and the country further right as a result.

    When you haven’t played by the actual rules for 30 years and gotten MISERABLE results, “playing by the actual rules” is not just a new idea, it’s a radically new idea. It’s most definitely mine, and indeed one that would do much better than the nonsense you and Ted are advocating.

    And yes, it starts with voting for Obama, regardless of how he makes you feel. See, your feelings aren’t remotely important. The country is.

    >>So why don’t you go play in the playground while the grownups discuss revolution? You can come back when you’ve finally decided to grow up yourself.

    Accusations of childishness from a woman whose current political position can be summed up as “I can’t figure out how to get what I want by playing by the rules (even though it’s perfectly possible), so I’m going to kick over the board.” seem well, hypocritical, frankly.

    • How, exactly, is it possible to get what we want by playing within this system?

      The US system has only approximated my basic values four generations ago, under FDR. Though he didn’t go nearly far enough.

      Am I supposed to wait for my great-great-great-grandkids to enjoy political decency?

    • Real liberals don’t me to tell them not to vote.

      I can’t imagine how Obama’s campaign could possibly motivate the Democratic base to turn up, considering that he hasn’t delivered for them on a single issue–and hasn’t even tried. But I look forward to seeing his sales pitch. Should be fun.

  33. “Until then using my vote to reject the status quo is a better use of my voting voice then simply remaining silent with it.”

    How so, someone?
    From my side of the fence it looks like you are supporting status quo by voting for third parties or write ins, because the only effect of your vote is legitimization of the status quo. Not from your side? What besides legitimization are you accomplishing?

  34. @vera:

    “…is there actually a point where you would decide to refuse to vote?”

    Absolutely, when third party and write-in votes are no longer possible I will refuse to vote. I.e. when the situation actually becomes identical to all the examples Ted cites as precedent for resisting the power by not-voting, then I will refuse to vote. Until then using my vote to reject the status quo is a better use of my voting voice then simply remaining silent with it.

  35. Go Susan Stark!
    And you mealy mouthed defenders of the status quo, tell me, is there actually a point where you would decide to refuse to vote? Where is it? When elections are stolen via shenanigans and untraceable computer voting, maybe? Nah. When the people offered us for candidates are the same corporatists on both sides, and the moneymen support both so that no matter who wins, they win? Nah. When the parties are so corrupt and so drowning in bullshit they don’t get anything done? Nah? When both parties bail out the rich perpetrators of financial con games? Nah. When the real governance happens among the financiers who pull the strings and who are not responsible to the voters? Nah. Well, when? How bad does it actually have to get for you to say, ENOUGH? How bad for you to say, I am not gonna participate in this charade? Tell me, please.

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