By Nick BeJeaux
Late last month Rolling Stone published a 9,000 word expose on the Koch Brothers – specifically their Darth Sidious-like control over environmental policies and other egregious actions – which, along with a study released by Stanford University concluding that the U.S has in fact become an oligarchy (a system where the few control the many), begs the question: Does voting even matter anymore when money can so easily influence policy?
The answer is yes – emphatically so.
It is not naive to believe that votes cast by the masses still carry weight during elections. In fact, they’re the only votes that really matter. It’s important to realize that all the power to choose our leaders rests within our hands, but the unfortunate truth is that our hands are lead by easily swayed minds. Between attack ads on television, Facebook, Twitter, self-serving media outlets, loud mouths that think they know what they’re talking about, and yammering politicians looking for votes, it is very easy to get your passions riled up, which is exactly what string pullers (like the Koch Brothers) want. It’s easy to vote for the guy/gal that vows to make the other guy/gal – who you’ve been lead to believe is Satan incarnate – fail; all the while, the candidate you voted for is taking money to loosen toxic waste dumping regulations.
The reality is that voters that call BS on horrendously overstated attack ads, shady campaign donors or ignorant, selfish comments from pundits are less likely to vote than people who believe whatever crap their party serves up. Likely, it’s cynicism that keeps them from the polls. They suffer from the idea that idiots who believe propaganda from the left or right far outnumber them and their choice candidate, therefore, has no chance in hell of winning – why bother? Little do they know it’s that kind of thinking that makes that thought a reality!
We are just a little less than a month than open Congressional Primary (Nov. 4) begins, and to shake you out of apathy and get you to the polls we’ve come up with a few points on why voting still matters.
By 2015, the Millennial Generation (likely you) will control over a third of the electorate. No doubt this statement scares the crap out of baby boomers, but take heart Generation Y! Millennials do have a bad wrap for being tech-addled zombies with zero empathy for others, and that is true to some extent – We invented Tinder for f-ck’s sake. However, Gen Y is steadily out growing that stereotype and evolving – oh so slowly – from Generation “Me” to Generation “We.” Can you imagine what cooperation and altruism could do in Congress? The White House? Good luck finding that today!
The claim that your vote doesn’t really count was born after the 2000 presidential election and the reasoning behind it is totally bogus. In case you forgot, Al Gore won the popular vote, but lost the presidency. After that, many people started to think that since a candidate won the popular vote, but still lost means the votes of everyday people just don’t count. It does count, just in a more complicated way – and here we’re only talking about presidential elections, not local. In local elections, the votes of individuals are much “stronger” and, arguably, local candidates hold more power than national ones anyway – at least when it comes to immediate and palpable change.
You don’t have to vote for the Democrat or the Republican – there’s more choices than just those two. Occasionally, a Libertarian that is actually a Libertarian, or a non-eco fanatic from the Green Party runs for office. There’s even a United States Marijuana party out there! We have options upon options – oodles, really – as far as candidates and political stances go; the world does not exist in black and white, or, rather, red and blue. Once you shake of the stark duality that has apparently paralyzed U.S. politics, a beautiful rainbow of possibilities opens up – complete with unicorns, sparkles, and Judy Garland back from the dead and hot as ever.
If you haven’t started thinking about the Nov. 4 primaries, there is still time! Go educate yourself, you responsible citizen! For dates and registration, visit www.geauxvote.com