I still don’t vote, but have to say I am relieved – OK, pretty happy – with the results of this week’s midterms. Not because I think the Democrats are any better than the Republicans (or, fundamentally, very different from them), but because they are to some degree at odds with them, and to the extent that they are there will be gridlock: both parties able to do much less to interfere with my life and the lives of others, and maybe even less able to wage aggressive wars with my tax dollars. (OK, maybe not that last part.)
So why didn’t I vote for it, if I think gridlock is such a great thing? Because I don’t believe in it. I don’t believe that decisions about what people can and can’t do with their own lives should be made by majority rule or any variation thereof. I don’t believe that a bunch of overpaid egotistical farts in Washington D.C. should be able to vote on whether my husband can play poker online or whether the police can steal your property because somebody sold the wrong kind of drugs on it or whether or not women can choose to terminate their pregnancies. These are not things that should be up for a vote. In fact, I think the things that can legitimately be determined by voting are pretty limited: who I want to be president of my local bridge club; when our next board meeting should be; where to hold the next Buffy sing-a-long. In other words, all things that are part of voluntary associations, *not* things that involve forcing someone else to do what you want them to. I don’t get why that is such a difficult concept for so many people, and why they look at me like *I’m* the weirdo when I suggest that things might be a lot better if our society weren’t founded on coercion and force.
…All that is not to say that I wouldn’t abandon this principled stance if the stakes were high enough. If I really thought that I could help to end our country’s imperialist foreign policy, end taxation, free all the people in jail for drug crimes, etc. etc., I’d have to really think about it. But for the most part, I don’t think that these things can be accomplished from within the system – certainly not by voting for representatives or presidents. It’s just not what the system of pork and special-interest lobbying rewards. I have to admit, ballot initiatives are a different animal. If there were an initiative to end the war on drugs in my state, would I vote for it, even though I don’t think these things should be decided by a vote? Yeah, I probably would. The benefits would just be too overwhelming not to. And the principle at stake not a fundamental one.
Anyway, lots of rambling to say: I’m glad the vote turned out as it did, but the stakes weren’t high enough for me to go participate in a system I think is wrong. (And no, I don’t believe a Democratic congress will help end the war in Iraq – they didn’t lift a finger to oppose it when they could have, why would things be any different now?)