Yesterday was election day. Here in my corner of the globe we have the right to vote to determine our leaders. Actually, it’s more of a privilege. And I chose not to exercise that privilege. *ducks for cover*
I can hear the lectures now, droning on and on about having a voice in government and using the rights (I hear privilege) that so many risked limb and life to preserve. I can also hear the emotional trigger words like shame and guilt and laziness thrown in there.
Among my more Christian friends, the talk will turn to civil responsibility tied to morality and honoring our elected officials. I might even hear a challenge with a sin buzzword in there based on “he who knows to do good and does it not sins.”
You can probably lump me in the group so often debated as “disenfranchised.” Except I don’t think I fit as disenfranchised…
Disenfranchised speaks to me of a boredom grown out of never quite fitting in the political system and never quite participating in the political system. Disenfranchised speaks of passively choosing not to act in any part of the process due to issues with power and perception of the election process.
For me, frustration is more the word. I have voted since turning 18. Some years, it was easier to be more faithful than others. As a matter of fact, I have an astounding track record of managing to always pick the loser, but I digress…
Within the last year or two, I have found causes that I was passionate about. I visited my representative to discuss his position and intelligently review the potential outcomes. I have written to various governing bodies.
All this did not make a difference. I and my family are still subject to laws that don’t work and don’t take into consideration our situation. We still pay taxes at a very uneconomical rate, and we still see limited return on this investment in our government. The books containing all the laws to which we are subject would outweigh our family vehicle fully loaded with us and our vacation gear, and we have to hire a lawyer to fully understand the laws that apply to us (which isn’t in the budget).
The reality is our two-party system doesn’t work. Each party is engaged in a constant war of one-up-man-ship. The election cycle gets so long that less than half way through I feel like the walking wounded or the living dead. The 30-second sound bites from the candidates feel like fiery darts of negativity and falsehood designed to obfuscate the judgment of the listener. Even debates, designed to engage those who enjoy thoughtful analysis, have provided less substance than smoke from a chocolate cigar.
I chose not to vote yesterday because I didn’t have enough good information to make an informed decision based on my conscience and the positions of the candidates. I chose not to vote yesterday because I have learned that even when we the people join our one voice to each other’s it is still not enough to overwhelm the minority who have designed the stage so what they want to happen will happen.
Some can (and do) argue that I wasted my vote. How is not voting any less a waste than voting based on the lesser of two evils?
More and more, I have been thinking of the Israeli government. Their president is a figurehead. They have a judicial system similar to ours. Their executive branch is like our Cabinet, and it is led by a Prime Minister. Their legislative branch includes 120 individuals from a multitude of parties (think of the cost savings… 120 versus 535). They can’t just set policy; they actually have to work together with all parties, and all parties negotiate and win and lose. The legislative branch can listen to the people and vote to oust the executive branch in times of gridlock or unwise decision-making.
Do I want to see our Constitution overthrown? Hell, no!
I just don’t think the forefathers could envision a day when with just two parties we would teeter on the brink of perpetual gridlock, when the people would be nearly enslaved to pay for all the big dreams government holds; that would be too close to disaster for a group of strong, intelligent, stalwart freedom fighters who had just narrowly won our freedom to even remotely consider (although they did understand the evil that lurks within the hearts of men and women).
I truly believe that we need a multi-party system here in my corner of the globe. I believe this would inject new life and vitality into our government and ensure a greater representation for all people.
To that end, I will investigate changing my political affiliation. I’m not yet sure where I’ll hang my hat to call it my political home, but I’m sure the research and investigation will lead me on a merry, wandering path.