Politics and FreeThinking. Is there more to consider than Barrack Obama, Mitt Romney, and Gary Johnson?Saturday, July 7th, 2012
Jim gave me the following blog entry a few months back and I’ve been sitting on it. As you know, Jim writes profusely in this blog on a wide variety of topics. I’m dependent on Jim since he regularly provides three articles a week for this daily blog. Currently, I’m trying to get ahead and program in future blogs because next week I’ll be in Las Vegas attending TAM 2012 (The Amazing Meeting) and hanging out with Skeptics from around the world so I’m now going back to the submissions that I’ve been sitting on.
Jim and I are different people. He’s not an alter ego. He’s a real person with his own ideas. He’s quite a bit younger than I am which gives him an edge on seeing things from a different perspective. I don’t always agree with his assessment but we are both freethinkers and understand that often reasonable people disagree due to differences in priorities and personal experience.
Jim’s original submission suggested that freethinking voters should not vote in the upcoming general election since we are a “Red” state and our vote would not make a difference. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t in clear conscience run that article. You should never tell someone not to vote because when you vote there are more items on the ballot than the presidential candidates. There are local races that actually affect us more than the national offices. Saying get knowledgeable about the candidates and the issues is better than saying “if you don’t know, don’t vote.” I was also uncomfortable about the Red State discussion since we don’t have all representatives from a single party and there is an outside chance that the independents could rise up and make Arizona a swing state.
After some discussion, he took another stab at it. Here’s Jim Wilson’s rewrite:
Should, you vote against Obama & Romney?
I say yes, but that is just my opinion. I believe you should vote in such a way that it reflects the best interest of the country, your state, county, and city. Vote for whoever you think would do the best job and is most deserving of your support and if do not think any of the candidates deserve your support feel free to write someone in. Also, if do not feel that you have sufficient knowledge of the candidates or issue by all means take some time and do a little research there is a great deal of information available on the Internet and about all the major candidates and plenty of the minor ones.
While most if this piece is dedicated to the upcoming presidential election, I want to remind everyone that this should not be a voter’s first or only focus. Your vote has more influence when it comes to Congress, state, and local level offices. There is wide variety of choices regarding these positions.
I believe that our state is pretty strongly Republican but that is not true of other positions. Gabrielle Giffords and Raul Grijalva are recent examples of Democratic Arizona Representatives and Kyrsten Sinema is running in the Phoenix area and is a fellow Atheist with excellent secular credentials. The theocratic wing of the religious right currently has huge sway in our state government that I strongly urge everyone to research their Arizona House and Senate members and vote accordingly. It is time to show the Center for Arizona Policy that its outmoded religious authoritarianism and complete control the state’s Republican office holders will no longer be accepted. Become active in Arizona politics and do not limit your involvement to voting on election day. There are so many issues that need to be tackled and the status quo thrives on an indifferent citizenry.
I have a different opinion about the presidential election. I suggest all Arizonans keep in mind that this state is not expected to be a swing-state in the presidential election. It is reasonable to expect that the Republican candidate has this state in the bag. I see no reason to care about making the margin Obama looses by any bigger or smaller. I also hold no illusions of electing a third party candidate this year but that is not what is important to me. For me, the monopolization of our politics by what amounts to a two-party-one-party system is a major problem as is the lack of real choice this leaves us with. I sympathize with the notion that a functioning Democracy should actually give the people real choices rather than just the illusion of choice between to establishment insiders. In many ways, I see Republicans and Democrats as part of the problem and as I’m always happy when I get a chance to express this and I am always looking for opportunities to make their domination of the political system less secure.
I would say to anyone not living in a swing state to go ahead and vote for whoever you think the lesser of the two evils is but if you live in a solid red or blue state like this one you should go vote your conscience to the fullest and let the establishment know that we are looking for alternatives. A cumulative effect of more people doing this will be getting more coverage and more publicity to anti-establishment politicians and more importantly it will make their often important ideas better known and bring these ideas to the table. The attitude of not wanting to waste your vote on a candidate who is not going to win is absurd especially when ones lives in a state where the election is already decided and their vote as no-influence on it what so ever.
We have a wide range of choices this election cycle and many of them offer great appeal and many of them deserve far more attention than they are currently getting. There are many parties and many candidates with interesting and sometimes refreshing positions.
The Libertarian Party candidate is the former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson who is a favorite of many libertarians. Libertarian Party candidates tend to be more consistently free-market than the Republicans especially in social issues but also as importantly in areas of foreign policy such as opposition to the expansion of the country’s overseas empire the meddling in the policies of other countries. Libertarians want to get the government out of the bedroom and the boardroom. Libertarian candidates strike me as far more likely to consistent fiscal conservatives unlike their mainline Republican counterparts who have greatly (and often intentionally) contributed to our countries debt crisis. Libertarian Party candidates are consistently small government unlike their mainline Republican counterparts who have greatly (and often intentionally) acted to expand the role of the U.S. government domestically and internationally when in power.
Vote your conscience or not at all and whatever you do don’t be blinded by the Republicrat political machine. Vote Libertarian, Green, Constitution, Socialist, or whatever… you can even write in Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich, or Peyton Manning for all I care. Just vote for who you think would do best.