FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Why Vote, Anyway?

by MISSY COMLEY BEATTIE

From the questionable elections in 2000 and 2004 though the recent election and its recounts, I’ve received oodles of e-mails about mass voter disenfranchisement and problems with punch-screen voting machines. I’ve read articles about voter flipping, systems that can be hacked into or infected with viruses to change tabulations, and I’ve heard first hand from friends whose names were purged from voter rolls.

Some years ago, I would have had the same kind of reaction experienced by Oprah Winfrey on her virgin voyage into computer voting. Winfrey took advantage of early voting the Thursday before Election Day and either didn’t mark the X strongly enough or pressed too long. Whatever she failed to do correctly, her vote for president didn’t record. On her show, Winfrey told her television audience about this, reenacting how emotional she’d become in the voting booth, and warned people to double check their vote.

I really wanted to help make history by placing an African American in the highest office in our country. But like many Progressives, I’d concluded that the differences between Republicans and Democrats are quite overplayed.

Then, along came Sarah Palin. For many, the syntax-impaired, Christofascist fashionista changed the equation. I simply couldn’t imagine how any person with an IQ above 85 could possibly think that Palin was prepared to step up if John McCain were declared non compos mentis, had to be anesthetized, or died. Suddenly, the lesser of two evils seemed urgently acceptable.

Still, I was in a quandary. Should I vote my conscience and go for an Independent or a Green? I thought about Barack Obama’s “Yes We Can.” But McKenney and Nader were distracting, whispering their truths in my ear.

I recalled the 2004 Democratic National Convention when Barack Obama spoke the words that catapulted him into the consciousness of Progressives as someone capable of leading us out of the valley of shame defining George W. Bush’s reign of immorality. In Obama, we saw the antiwar candidate, bringing hope in all its heady audacity.

Eventually, Obama caved, sounding more and more like most of the other Demopubs, The fizz went flat as he slid to the right of center, the comfort zone of both parties, with his talk of sending more troops to Afghanistan.

Finally, we were inflicted with the “faith forum” when Obama and McCain were questioned by Saddleback Church’s evangelical Pastor Rick Warren. This was an opportunity for Obama to set the record straight that he’s not Muslim, which shouldn’t matter in a country founded on religious freedom. But the real opportunity was lost when neither aspirant had the balls to refuse to take part in such superfluous pandering.

And, now, President-elect Obama has named nearly a platoon of war hawks and Clintonites to his team. This looks nothing like change we can believe in.

This is the reason I’ve become cynical and why I ask the question: what is accomplished in eliminating voter fraud when the differences between Republicans and Democrats aren’t all that great?

In fact, I’m beginning to wonder why we vote?

Especially, if it’s possible that the election process, which should be sacred, may be controlled by Wall Street, Big Oil, the military-industrial complex, a committee that selects who will lead and who will lose. Picture these deciders as so many of us underlings get excited about participating in something we believe could possibly be life altering.

Are they laughing at us? “Look, look at how seriously they take themselves,” these members of the elite circle might remark.

And what if they directed our mainstream media, influencing them to report endlessly on an upcoming election, yammering about hairstyles, pantsuits, celebrity, and other trivia while the real news, like violence in Iraq and Afghanistan, torture, destruction, and murder committed in our names, the health care crisis, a broken economy, a ravaged military, collapsing infrastructure, environmental peril, underfunded public education, the widening gap between the rich and poor, is ignored or relegated to the crawler? Perhaps, it’s all some extravaganza of subterfuge–this process which many of us stand for hours in line to complete because we believe in its importance and the weight it gives to our voices. And because we trust that integrity in voting is the cornerstone of democracy.

But what if it really is some obese, stinking contrivance?

It wouldn’t be quite so craven–if the winner represented the lesser of two goods.

Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She’s written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she’s a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a novel last year, but since the death of her nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase J. Comley, in Iraq on August 6,’05, she has been writing political articles. She can be reached at: Missybeat@aol.com

 

 

 

 

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

March 27, 2017
Robert Hunziker
A Record-Setting Climate Going Bonkers
Frank Stricker
Why $15 an Hour Should be the Absolute Minimum Minimum Wage
Melvin Goodman
The Disappearance of Bipartisanship on the Intelligence Committees
Patrick Cockburn
ISIS’s Losses in Syria and Iraq Will Make It Difficult to Recruit
Russell Mokhiber
Single-Payer Bernie Morphs Into Public Option Dean
Dave Lindorff
Budget Goes Military
John Heid
Disappeared on the Border: “Chase and Scatter” — to Death
Mark Weisbrot
The Troubling Financial Activities of an Ecuadorian Presidential Candidate
Robert Fisk
As ISIS’s Caliphate Shrinks, Syrian Anger Grows
Michael J. Sainato
Democratic Party Continues Shunning Popular Sanders Surrogates
Paul Bentley
Nazi Heritage: the Strange Saga of Chrystia Freeland’s Ukrainian Grandfather
Christopher Ketcham
Buddhism in the Storm
Gregory Barrett
Can Democracy Save Us?
Thomas Barker
Platitudes in the Wake of London’s Terror Attack
Mike Hastie
Insane Truths: a Vietnam Vet on “Apocalypse Now, Redux”
Binoy Kampmark
Cyclone Watch in Australia
Weekend Edition
March 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump is Obama’s Legacy: Will this Break up the Democratic Party?
Eric Draitser
Donald Trump and the Triumph of White Identity Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nothing Was Delivered
Andrew Levine
Ryan’s Choice
Joshua Frank
Global Coal in Freefall, Tar Sands Development Drying Up (Bad News for Keystone XL)
Anthony DiMaggio
Ditching the “Deep State”: The Rise of a New Conspiracy Theory in American Politics
Rob Urie
Boris and Natasha Visit Fantasy Island
John Wight
London and the Dreary Ritual of Terrorist Attacks
Paul Buhle
The CIA and the Intellectuals…Again
David Rosen
Why Did Trump Target Transgender Youth?
Vijay Prashad
Inventing Enemies
Ben Debney
Outrage From the Imperial Playbook
M. Shadee Malaklou
An Open Letter to Duke University’s Class of 2007, About Your Open Letter to Stephen Miller
Michael J. Sainato
Bernie Sanders’ Economic Advisor Shreds Trumponomics
Lawrence Davidson
Moral Failure at the UN
Pete Dolack
World Bank Declares Itself Above the Law
Nicola Perugini - Neve Gordon
Israel’s Human Rights Spies
Patrick Cockburn
From Paris to London: Another City, Another Attack
Ralph Nader
Reason and Justice Address Realities
Ramzy Baroud
‘Decolonizing the Mind’: Using Hollywood Celebrities to Validate Islam
Colin Todhunter
Monsanto in India: The Sacred and the Profane
Louisa Willcox
Grizzlies Under the Endangered Species Act: How Have They Fared?
Norman Pollack
Militarization of American Fascism: Trump the Usurper
Pepe Escobar
North Korea: The Real Serious Options on the Table
Brian Cloughley
“These Things Are Done”: Eavesdropping on Trump
Sheldon Richman
You Can’t Blame Trump’s Military Budget on NATO
Carol Wolman
Trump vs the People: a Psychiatrist’s Analysis
Stanley L. Cohen
The White House . . . Denial and Cover-ups
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Marines to Kill Desert Tortoises
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail