Why bother to vote?

Recently I received a call from a local Democratic Party worker that went something like this: “Hey, Pete, how’s it going? Haven’t seen you around this campaign, we could really use some help at the office, any chance we can count on you coming down to lend a hand?”

You see I’d been a slightly active Democrat, particularly the past decade, even attending the state assembly and convention thrice, twice as a delegate representing Hermosa, La Plata County, but this year nothing.

My friend was curious why the depression and lack of interest, what happened to me? Well, Obama happened, yet another crushing disappointment for those who believed in his campaign talk. The man made assurances, but seldom fought for them once in office.

Admittedly, I believe that had we the people – I’m talking about regular educated citizens who possess humanist and rationalist instincts – been busy putting pressure on the President, he’d have acted more valiantly.

After all, it’s the votes and vocal grassroots voters who put The Backbone into our representatives, but it seems we the people abandon our newly elected leaders as fast as our government abandons its peaceful commitments. Reminds me of the saying, “We get the government we deserve.”

Of course there’s also the Republican Party, our one-time “loyal opposition,” which has morphed into some malicious hulk possessed by the single-minded desire to wreck Democratic presidencies and to heck with our nation’s problems.

Think I’m exaggerating? For an introduction to the GOP’s disregard for our nation’s best interests you’ll find Robert Draper’s “Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives” an interesting read.

Well, then… having written all this, why am I not marching down to the Democratic Office to lend a hand and some cash? My ‘out’ is I’m tremendously busy this year – but I do toss in some cash when I can and now I want to reach out to folks who share my love for liberty and being an American citizen and member of my community. Folks like me who have broken free of blind dedication to others’ interpretations of ancient “holy” books. Folks who believe in experiencing their lives on this wonderful home planet of ours. Folks who are so disgusted by our political process that voting seems a farce or worse.

I’d like those Americans to consider the real-world consequences of not adding their (your?) vote to the final count. I’m haunted by the 2000 election and all the jaded civil libertarians and rationalists and humanists and environmentalists and such enlightened citizens who chose not to vote. Or even more hideous, sacrificed their vote by giving it to that vainglorious has-been fool Ralph Nader.

I often wonder if those too busy to vote in 2000 ever ponder the direct consequences of their abandoning the Democratic Party? I say this because it was the “I won’t votes” that gave our government over to a tribe of faith-based self-interested zealots.

Where were the loud concerted demands of worried citizens telling the Supreme Court to “leave it be, allow the votes to be counted”? We turned away, too busy with our daily lives, abandoning the meek liberal to the ruthless right-wing bullies to work it out – and they certainly did.

The “I won’t votes” gave President Bush, Cheney and their Neoconservative mentality our government. Then these God-fearing people proceeded to display nothing but contempt for their national security advisors, reacting with equal dismissal towards all rational objections to their sophomoric Rambo war schemes. I won’t even get into their utter contempt towards our planet’s life-support system and scientific observations and our accumulating knowledge of all the irreparable harm that has been inflicted on the world, and indeed the course of history, since that fateful 2000 election, when so many good Americans were too good to vote.

Here we are 14 years later – has anyone learned anything? Have the Reaganomics masters-of-the-universe made the world a better place to live and raise our children? Have they learned anything from their mistakes? Do they even recognize any mistakes? How do you feel about your future?

The thing is, we live in America, a nation that still follows Democratic Principles, which include relatively open elections that install the representatives and law-makers who will govern us through the next years.

“Yea, sure,” you laugh, “the system is corrupt.” My response: “Cry me a river.” The fact remains, it’s the system that sets all the rules and exports our soldiers and treasure and weapons out into the world to multiply their miseries.

What I’m driving at is that no matter how disappointed or even disgusted I feel towards the Democratic Party, I’m a humanist and believe in the Scientific Enlightenment and personal freedom. I reject people who literally believe they understand God Almighty, the creator of time and life.

I mean, really, what are we to make of politicians who are so full of themselves they are convinced they’ve tapped into God Almighty’s Mind – it boggles my imagination.

What happened to good old-time religion, when faith was personal and between you and Jesus or the God of your choice? Back when your faith was reflected in how well you lived your life and handled its challenges.

The Democratic Party, no matter how weak, at least continues to represent the “intellectual enlightenment” which ushered in today’s rational understanding of our world. Democrats appreciate the scientific process and the need for us to listen to real experts, unlike the Republicans with their political and religious absolutism and their “litmus tests” for whom or what to pay attention to.

Tuesday, Nov. 4, Election Day, is coming up fast, another chance to participate. It is the one time your opinion can make a difference and the Democrats sure could use some extra help. Buddy, can you spare a vote?

Living near Durango, Colo., Peter Miesler maintains a blog dedicated to sharing scientific information and challenging climate-science contrarians at http://whatsupwiththatwatts.blogspot.com.

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From Peter Miesler.