October 30, 2010

The Whole "Voting Thing" Redux

Yeah, it's really effed up sometimes to watch a guy on TV and say, "Jeez, I voted for him?!".  Regular readers know that I am not dissatisfied with Obama because I didn't really expect much to begin with (though Guantanamo Bay isn't closed yet, is it?). But really, it's hard to vote, because you tend to feel responsible for the person you voted for, and that never turns out for the better if you have expectations that transcend the venal nature of American culture.

Going up to the '08 election I was blogging heavily on MySpace, and my annoyance with the election is well documented there. I did the "voting/not voting" thing before that election (if you go back to it, make sure to read the comments too), so I'm not going to go into any great detail again, but I will make a few points.

  1. The government in and of itself is never an active force for good.  You have to live a good life and hope that the good filters up.  How you live your life is infinitely more important than who you vote for or even voting at all.
  2. Given the fact that almost all candidates are nothing more than different colors on the same wheel, voting often seems pointless.  And, in many respects, it is.  But then again, so is recycling, and yet we do it.  If there is a chance of any net good in an action, no matter how minuscule, it is worth doing.  
  3. Voting does not make you any more complicit in your elected official's mistakes/bad faith/poor governance/crimes than you already are.  There are almost never any good choices even if there are less bad ones.  Just go for the less bad, and try to live to vote another day.
  4. Apropos #3, you are complicit in the mistakes/bad faith/poor governance/crimes even if you do not vote.  If you buy something, if you hold down a job, if you participate in our culture, then you are part of the system. Not voting does not give you a pass on the system's karma.
We must know, always, that we are striving for good.  We must know, always, that our efforts are doomed to fail.  We must, in the words of Samuel Beckett (via Slavoj Zizek) "try again.  Fail again.  Fail better."

No comments: