Thursday, October 28, 2010

How to vote on election day.

Uh, no, this isn't some traditional, inane list of endorsements, nor a badgering exhortation not to miss This Incredibly Important And Historic, Life Changing Election. Why, you ask? Don't worry, that will become self-evident very quickly.

No, this is just a simple description of the mechanics of casting any vote in a political election--without all the doublespeak/sophistry that usually accompanies it. Consider it a public service to those who might be on the fence. (It also serves as a more complete response to those who insist that I Do My Part, although this is probably not what they have in mind.)

So! Here's what it takes to vote on election day. Are you up to it?

Step 1: Delude yourself that you are not simply legitimizing the problem.

Fail to recognize that voting, within any system that uses the political means to achieve its ends, is simply legitimizing aggression through mob rule. Fail to recognize that bickering about the size and shape of the armed mob does not make the mob, its purpose or its actions anything other than what they are. Fail to recognize that a vote "for the lesser of evils" will never, ever, ever, ever, ever be interpreted as anything other than a "mandate" for the victor--and at the end of the day is still a vote to legitimize evil.

Fail to recognize that no one in history has ever voted himself real liberty--much less liberty for his neighbor. Fail to recognize the inherent conflict of interest attendant to the same entity creating, interpreting, and enforcing the set of rules that (said same entity insists) are supposed to bind us all. Then, fail to recognize the singular source of all those catechisms about working within the system, being a good citizen and upholding the rule of law as the ultimate demonstration of your humanity.

Invent excuses for those you deem "swell guys". They, alone and unlike every other that came before them, would never, but never abuse their power or make things worse. That is: fail to recognize the racket for what it is. (Hint #129: anyone who represents any sort of real change will be invited off the stage by the traditional players.) Convince yourself that "if voting could change anything, it would be illegal" is just a clever semantic joke without any real substance.

Consider or invent any sort of sophistry imaginable, just so you can continue to convince yourself that working within the system is the only way to actually achieve results.
Tell ya what, I'm going to just stop there, rather than go on for hours.

Step 2: Play the Ultimate Absolution Fantasy Quest game.

Observe the "choice" of Establishment-approved candidates from which you are allowed to choose. (It is getting increasingly difficult to tell these apart, since their only differences, despite all the clamor and noise to the contrary, are trivial and usually simply prurient.) Cast a vote for the wannabe tyrant of your choice. (Yes, they're all wannabe tyrants. By definition. They want the power to force others to Do The Right Thing via the strongarm of the state, in your name, and with everyone's money. Remember, you chose to ignore all that in Step 1. Just pick the most velvety glove you see and go with that.)

Then, you do the Absolution Shuffle: free your mind from further worry. You have Done What You Can Do. It's in The System's hands now. If things go south from here, you can always absolve yourself further by proving you voted for The Other Guy. You have now validated your License To Bitch.

Step 3: Revel in your moral superiority.

For days on end after voting, affix various physical and virtual "pieces of flair" to yourself, sanctimoniously offering to the world that "I voted". Well, good on you. You have discharged the duty you learned about in Civics class, and proven that you know how to take orders and follow the rules. You have played your part in deciding who gets to play with the guns of the state for the next term, without raising any serious challenge to the legitimacy of the very Establishment you are voting to "fix". (Oh, it's fixed, all right: did you not choose from among the Establishment-approved candidates in the Establishment-approved election constructed, monitored and interpreted by Establishment appointees?) Yes, you're a Cool Kid now. Come get your cookie.

If "your guy" wins, gloat tribally at every opportunity (rallies! stickers! signs! slogans!), and by all means milk the opportunity to use the Mob Rule justification for your actions: "the majority has spoken". But since the election was probably close, you wonder--openly--how so sizeable a minority could be so idiotic, uninformed, and in need of being Kept In Line (or, if those words are a little too jarring, try Kept From Getting Out Of Control). If things go south from here, it can only be because that annoying minority is being "obstructionist" or otherwise mucking up the perfect works. If "your guy" loses, predict the end of the world. But be careful: the only reason the world might end is because The Other Guy got elected instead of yours--which only proves that most people are idiotic, uninformed, and probably need to be better controlled.

Step 4: Burn the witches.

Never forget: this will all come around again in the next cycle. So, once you've chosen teams, you must start immediately the process of marginalizing your opposition anew. You know they're gearing up to come after you, so there's no time to lose.

It's a well-known fact that the intelligence of people who disagree with you drops precipitously following every election return. Make sure you let everyone know who cannot be trusted, who needs to be regulated and restrained--and always make sure that the Establishment has the right power to carry it all out. Your mantra words: "people like that just shouldn't be allowed to..."

Save your greatest bile for the heretics--the non-participants. Since the whole political process is propped up only by the legitimacy implicitly conferred by participation, under no circumstances can non-participation be tolerated. That, you see, is just irrational. My God, some of these people actually don't believe in Working Within The System--why, they must be knuckle-dragging prehistorics, of such limited intelligence that they can only breed themselves out of existence by not contributing to their own inevitable future.

Always interpret any insinuation that you, the voter, may have been deceived within or by the political enterprise itself, as prima facie evidence of simple provocateuring by The Other Team. No other explanation is acceptable. This just reinforces the evidence that your continued participation in the game is more important than ever before. After all, you've got skin in the game now, and have a reputation to protect.

Most of all, hold your head up high. You're better than they are. You've done your part. Now go tell everyone about it.

That's all there is to it. With these four simple steps, you're ready to rinse and repeat. (Don't worry, things will be just the same next time--your investment in the process can be reused year after year.)

Remember: you're principled, and rational, and now you can see how it works. The importance cannot be overstated. Others are counting on you to do principled, rational things. And so, dutifully, you vote.

Because not voting is insane.

Above comics from xkcd. Thanks again to Randall Munroe for the use of his work; please do not hold him responsible for mine. :-)

1 comment:

Kent McManigal said...

How I will vote on election day: with my feet- by NOT walking to the polls.