The Misconceptions of the "No Vote" Movement
The Misconceptions of the "No Vote" Movement: And the Importance of Voting in 2004!
By Vincent L Guarisco
" I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts." ~~ Abraham Lincoln, American president, 1861-1865
The "No Vote" movement brewing in America is not the answer! In terms of real "fact-finding missions" by the people, for the people.... and -- keeping Abraham Lincoln's prophetic "great point" quote in mind - do you actually believe our presidential forefathers would even remotely consider promoting "not voting" as a solution for solving a national crisis? Or for that matter, that they would advocate that not voting would cure anything at all?
Nope, nada, forget-ah-bout-it, wrong, absolutely not! In fact, I would venture to say that Lincoln, and others in a long list of presidential wise men -- would be so disgusted they would not just turn over, but would literally spin in their graves at the very thought of this ridiculous, destructive misconception.
It doesn't take a Rhodes Scholar to understand that Abraham Lincoln would knock things over in his race to get to the nearest podium and, in a millisecond, would remind the American people of what's at stake here. This great leader, whom Republicans boast is the ideological head of their party, coined the phrase, "Democracy is the government of the people, by the people, for the people."
Does anyone believe that Lincoln would pull any punches in reminding those same "people" that voting is our most cherished, hard-earned birthright? Do we need to be reminded that voting IS democracy -- the single, most patriotic thing that we do as Americans? Lincoln would be the first to tell us that advising others not to vote is not only an unpatriotic act -- but a treasonous one.
Those who think I'm being a little too harsh on this issue should first consider all the blood that's been spilled in more than two centuries of struggle to guarantee each of us the right to vote before they scold me. This right did not come "easy," and those who would disregard it so easily should consider that many patriots, without even knowing them, were willing to die for the right they hold so lightly.
To be honest, I have painfully considered the positions of those who further the "no vote" argument. Quite frankly -- although they have a variety of justifiable complaints -- it simply does not jibe.
The meat of this argument is a very complex assortment of issues that most would agree need fixing. For starters, they say there are not enough candidates from which to choose, and those we do get tend to be undesirable, corrupt, or unqualified. I agree that we have a screwed-up two-party system, its deep partisanship dividing rather than uniting us as Americans.
A tainted electronic voting system ( http://wwwblackboxvoting) is being forced upon us; its corporate owners refusing to provide voter printouts for a verifiable paper trail. By not demanding fairness in this most important of our democratic rights, we will continue to have stopped recounts, inaccurate recounts, no recounts, no safeguards on electronic voter data bases, unconstitutional purging of voters. I agree that we could possibly use more voting days and, for certain, longer voting hours.
We have far too many corrupt special interests, blood-sucking lobbyists, non-existant campaign reform for matched funding for all candidates, unfair media deception, media induced witch-hunts, spin-meister talk-show confusion. There should be an additional number of debates between presidential candidates. We need longer debates, better mediators for the debates, and "fair and balanced" media time allowed for candidates to respond.
And that's just a few of the concerns that have people turning away from the polls in disgust. It's enough to drive a feller to drink. Take the above, mix it with the two-party spin-and-smear machines revving up for the 2004 race, serve with a swizzle of hopelessness, frustration and rage -- and you have a great brew of "revolt on the rocks."
I agree that the whole freaking system is severely screwed-up and needs fixing. But someone please tell me where in the hell does "not voting" fix even one part of the problem? By not voting, you haven't helped a darn thing. The voting process will continue without you, and you will have given up your window of opportunity to change anything!
I say vote. Vote even if your vote is counted, not counted, thrown out, saved, not saved, re-routed at the data bank, purged, disfranchised or middle-fingered into oblivion. By voting, you will have fulfilled your patriot duty as an American citizen, and you will acknowledge what previous generations of freedom fighters did before you in you honor. After that, I say follow your conscience and do whatever is necessary to ensure that our government does not hinder your pursuit of happiness and democratic freedoms.
Unfortunately, most who believe this no-vote fallacy are adamant in their belief that the current system or process cannot be changed, reformed, or repaired through any conventional means of peaceful change. Sadly, this may be true, although as a student of history, I seriously doubt it. Even if I became an anarchist who wanted to overthrow the government through violence or other extremist measures, I would as a minimum -- before igniting my first Molotov cocktail -- ensure that I had done everything within my power to work within the system by doing the right thing -- casting my vote.
I'll be the first to admit the odds are stacked against us for finding a peaceful solution to all of this madness. In our lifetime, blood may indeed spill again on American soil. However, before we raise our fists and shout, "Viva Revolution!" -- before we get pissed-off enough to storm the White House -- we should first consider doing something that just may save us the trouble as well as save many lives.
We should do the right thing. We should vote. Because, like Abraham Lincoln said, "Elections belong to the people. It is their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters."
* Vincent L
Guarisco is freelance writer from Bullhead City, Arizona, a
contributing writer for a variety of web sites, and a
lifetime member of the Alliance of Atomic Veterans. Reprint
permission is given as long as article content is not
altered or changed and credit is given to the author.