Note: I’m writing this while sick with some kind of stomach bug, so while I have what, in my mind, are rather cogent arguments, I wrote this in a hurry and may not have expressed myself in the best possible manner. I may come back and revisit it when I’m feeling better, but I want to publish this while it was still relevant.
I want to talk about politics for once. It’s something I generally avoid doing. It’s not that I don’t like politics. If anything, I’m something of a political junkie. It’s more that I don’t think most people care about it that much (at least in many conversations I’ve had) and that they care even less about my opinion. Sure, I’ll do the occasional funny quip on Twitter, or repost something on Facebook that’s so on the nose that I have a sick compulsion to do so, but generally, I keep my opinions to myself or directed to a very select group.
However, this once, I’m breaking my rule because I want to explain my strategic decision to vote Green in the 2012 election cycle.
To start, I don’t live in a swing state. California is pretty much a guarantee to go for Obama and the Democrats. So, I’m not putting anything at risk.
Usually, voting for a third party is accepted as a protest vote. It’s not really going to swing an election (there’s some debate about that in 2000, but I’m not going into that here), and it’s mostly done to make a point. Admittedly, my vote isn’t all that different when boiled down.
I don’t have anything personal against Obama, per se. I’m one of those people who is not all that disappointed with him, but probably for different reasons. It’s more that I didn’t have high expectations for him back in 2008. I’ve been through this before, and I recognized his words as, albeit inspiring, were ultimately not much more than campaign rhetoric. There has been a continuation of damaging Bush-era policies, and people claim that we had Wall Street reform, but I’m not sure what they’re talking about on that front. Now, I will grant that he has been hampered by a virulent and uncompromising Republican party who has systematically kept recovery efforts down in an effort to make Obama look bad. That’s not an exaggeration. That was actually their stated goal.
Which leads to the Romney/Ryan ticket. This ticket really seemed like a bad joke, and to be honest, I don’t get it. I don’t understand how a campaign can be run with such illogical and flat-out false statements, with a total disregard for reason or even basic math. And I don’t get why they have the support they do. I mean, if you’re part of the super-rich in this country, I get it. Romney’s your man, and you probably couldn’t get a better candidate who represents your interests. But I don’t understand anyone else voting for him. I don’t get how this many people are being convinced to vote against their own interests. Romney and Ryan are not your friend, and their policies will not help you or the country. The policies they’re promoting are what got us into this mess in the first place.
So, why did I vote for Jill Stein? Simply because the Green Party platform lines up the most with my own weighted values (based on how important each one is to me), making them what I’m ironically calling the “politically moral choice.” I decided to vote my conscience and inline with my values, not simply to vote for the lesser of two evils.
I hear the argument all the time that you’re just throwing your vote away by voting for a third party, or that you’re hurting the better candidate by taking votes away from them. Honestly, I’m tired of hearing it. If those candidates represented my values and stances, I would vote for them. The way I see it, third party candidates aren’t stealing votes, but rather the big two lost them because they refuse to address issues that are important to a number of people. And honestly, I think we could actually benefit from a European style parliamentary system with representation from third parties forcing the creation of alliances and coalitions between parties, creating truly productive compromise.
I’m not voting Democratic because the Democrats don’t represent me. The Democrats haven’t been a liberal party since the 1970s, despite what Fox News would have you believe. In fact, I find the Republicans more honest, At least they aren’t hiding the fact that they’re working for the rich and for big business. The Democrats, on the other hand, are wolves in sheeps’ clothing. They pretend that they’re working for the little guy, when in fact they’re working for the same people the Republicans are.
I have no illusions that the Greens will win. It would be nice if they could get 5 percent of the vote. It would even be nice if Gary Johnson and the Libertarians win 5 percent, as it would be advantageous to see a return of Eisenhower Republicanism to the political conversation. I doubt that will happen. But my vote for the Greens is a vote of conscience and a vote for representation rather than resignation.