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

Weekend Edition
April 28, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Slandering Populism: a Chilling Media Habit
Andrew Levine
Why I Fear and Loathe Trump Even More Now Than On Election Day
Jeffrey St. Clair
Mountain of Tears: the Vanishing Glaciers of the Pacific Northwest
Philippe Marlière
The Neoliberal or the Fascist? What Should French Progressives Do?
Conn Hallinan
America’s New Nuclear Missile Endangers the World
Peter Linebaugh
Omnia Sunt Communia: May Day 2017
Vijay Prashad
Reckless in the White House
Brian Cloughley
Who Benefits From Prolonged Warfare?
Kathy Kelly
The Shame of Killing Innocent People
Ron Jacobs
Hate Speech as Free Speech: How Does That Work, Exactly?
Andre Vltchek
Middle Eastern Surgeon Speaks About “Ecology of War”
Matt Rubenstein
Which Witch Hunt? Liberal Disanalogies
Sami Awad - Yoav Litvin - Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb
Never Give Up: Nonviolent Civilian Resistance, Healing and Active Hope in the Holyland
Pete Dolack
Tribunal Finds Monsanto an Abuser of Human Rights and Environment
Christopher Ketcham
The Coyote Hunt
Mike Whitney
Putin’s New World Order
Ramzy Baroud
Palestinian, Jewish Voices Must Jointly Challenge Israel’s Past
Ralph Nader
Trump’s 100 Days of Rage and Rapacity
Harvey Wasserman
Marine Le Pen Is a Fascist—Not a ‘Right-Wing Populist,’ Which Is a Contradiction in Terms
William Hawes
World War Whatever
John Stanton
War With North Korea: No Joke
Jim Goodman
NAFTA Needs to be Replaced, Not Renegotiated
Murray Dobbin
What is the Antidote to Trumpism?
Louis Proyect
Left Power in an Age of Capitalist Decay
Medea Benjamin
Women Beware: Saudi Arabia Charged with Shaping Global Standards for Women’s Equality
Rev. William Alberts
Selling Spiritual Care
Peter Lee
Invasion of the Pretty People, Kamala Harris Edition
Cal Winslow
A Special Obscenity: “Guernica” Today
Binoy Kampmark
Turkey’s Kurdish Agenda
Guillermo R. Gil
The Senator Visits Río Piedras
Jeff Mackler
Mumia Abu-Jamal Fights for a New Trial and Freedom 
Cesar Chelala
The Responsibility of Rich Countries in Yemen’s Crisis
Leslie Watson Malachi
Women’s Health is on the Chopping Block, Again
Basav Sen
The Coal Industry is a Job Killer
Judith Bello
Rojava, a Popular Imperial Project
Robert Koehler
A Public Plan for Peace
Sam Pizzigati
The Insider Who Blew the Whistle on Corporate Greed
Nyla Ali Khan
There Has to be a Way Out of the Labyrinth
Rivera Sun
Blind Slogans and Shallow Greatness
Michael J. Sainato
Trump Scales Back Antiquities Act, Which Helped to Create National Parks
Stu Harrison
Under Duterte, Filipino Youth Struggle for Real Change
Martin Billheimer
Balm for Goat’s Milk
Stephen Martin
Spooky Cookies and Algorithmic Steps Dystopian
Michael Doliner
Thank You Note
Charles R. Larson
Review: Gregor Hens’ “Nicotine”
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail