Vote, even if you don’t like either candidate

Shutterstock 116742910The cameras are being set, microphones tested and clichĂ©s pulled out of the closet and polished to a high gloss. 

 That’s right, it’s election time, and me being a journalist, a member of the lamestream media and all that, shouldn’t I be telling you how to vote?

 Nothing brings on quite the creepy joy of telling other people what to think, but I will fight the urge. The truth is, picking a president is like a box of…

…Oh never mind.

 I do know that the media filter and distort so much of their material that they create a bizzaro universe that has nothing to do with reality, or sober assessment or good judgment. How else do you explain these discrepancies:

 Richard Nixon was said to be the most despicable president ever, yet somehow he managed to create the EPA, end the war in Vietnam and bring our soldiers home, not to mention prying China loose from the Soviet Union with ping pong diplomacy and thereby destroying what might have been decades of worldwide communist hegemony.

 Ronald Reagan was portrayed as a doddering old grump. Yet every time he met with the Russians he got everything he wanted and they got next to nothing. He was a superb negotiator, a poker player who snookered his adversaries every time every time they sat down at the bargaining table.  And how many wars did this alleged warmonger start?

 The lesson here is that presidents and candidates aren’t really what they seem to be at first glance. And they quite often are, or become, the opposite of what the media and the mob think of them.

 Which doesn’t help much, I know, but, I still think its important to vote.

 In fact it’s more important to vote than it is who you vote for. Because if you don’t vote, you make it that much easier for the next round of rascals to win unexamined.

 Low voter turnouts mean politicians can rely more on back-room bribes and corporate lobbyists to fund their campaigns. The only thing that scares them is this inconvenient habit we the people have of showing up and kicking them out of office. They’d get rid of this voting business if they could, and both parties go to great lengths to limit who you can vote for. But if you don’t vote, you’re just helping them that much more. If you do vote you at least keep them partially accountable.

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 A classic example of this is the Tea Party. Like them or not, the Tea Party’s influence on politics and the Republican party is undeniable. In 2010 they took away Ted Kennedy’s Senate “seat,” engineered the largest legislative landslide in U. S. history and grabbed six Senate seats. They also helped elect six governors and 700 seats in state legislatures. For better or worse, they forced the Republican party to pay homage to their small government, low taxes philosophy.

 How did they do this? Simple. They voted. And the fact that they vote has politicians on both sides of the aisle scared to cross swords with them.

 Even if you don’t like either candidate for the presidency this time around, there’s always independent candidates.  And voting for an independent candidate is not throwing your vote away unless you happen to live in one of the six swing states. If you live in one of these, they you face a tougher decision. Independent Ross Perot torpedoed George Bush the elder’s chance at a second term and Ralph Nader sunk Al Gore’s bid to be president in 2000. Keep that in mind, please.

 At this point, I doubt the issues are going to motivate anybody to change their mind. But if you want a sober, objective list of the issues, this blog by Barry Ritholtz does it better than any newspaper account I’ve seen yet.

 The only salient factor you should be aware of is this: The unfunded mandates from the combined federal, state and local governments in the U.S. come to $200 trillion.  Our economy created about $14 trillion in goods and services last year. In other words, if everybody worked for free for the next 15 years, we might be able to pay off what the government has already agreed to spend.

 In light of this, how you’re expected to pay for food, clothing, shelter or  vacations to WallyWorld with your permanently indebted offspring is anybody’s guess.

 What can’t go on won’t.