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Political Endorsement

November 5, 2012

In case you’re unaware, tomorrow is election day, and it kinda feels like another Frankenstorm is on the horizon.  Like most people, my personal political belief system is a manifestation of my values, but in my eyes it’s as important, if not more important, to embody those values every day, not just on election day.

The strange, and somewhat comical, thing about our current political schism is that the divide is so much wider in our rhetoric than it is in our values.  Otherwise pleasant, respectful people have adopted a finger-pointing, holier-than-thou stance about their political perspective that has deferred dialogue and consensus indefinitely.

So, vote or don’t vote however you see fit, relax, and carry on.  There are many more meaningful things that you could do with your day than what you’ll do alone in that little booth.  Come Wednesday, the sun will still rise, the birds will still sing, and we’ll still be neighbors and friends regardless of who’s been elected Homecoming King.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Cristóbal Palmer permalink
    November 5, 2012 11:52 am

    It can be rational to vote even when your vote has a vanishingly small likelihood of impacting the election. There are two independent arguments (that I know of) for this. One is best expressed in a recent post by Scott Aaronson (A computational complexity theorist) called “The $10 billion voter” and the other has been most recently articulated by Andrew Gelman (statistician at Columbia) and others in a post entitled, “Voting can be rational, and don’t believe innumerate arguments that claim otherwise.”

    The first argument depends purely on placing dollar values on outcomes, and the second argument (Gelman et al) depends at least in part on feelings of community and goodwill generated by the act of voting.

    For me the argument for voting falls into the latter category, and it boils down to Rights. We have vanishingly few rights, and those that we do have are often misunderstood or taken for granted. Voting is one of those rights. Driving is not. A mobile phone plan you can afford is not. A hot shower is not. People I know would generally get a lot more motivated a lot faster if any of those last three were cut off, but they take for granted the fact that people have put their lives at risk in order to extend the right to vote to women and black people, for example.

    Earlier this year voters in this state came out in record numbers for a primary election that included a ballot measure that defines marriage in our state constitution. It makes me very sad to hear people make the argument that voting doesn’t really matter, because for thousands of families in this state–and not all of them families involving same sex couples, there are very real and scary consequences coming directly from that primary. Elections might not have consequences for you or me every cycle, but they do impact many individuals and where we go as a public, and none of us is an island.

    • November 5, 2012 1:55 pm

      I’d add my two cents, but Cristóbal has expressed it so eloquently that I see no need.

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