Monday, November 06, 2006

How to vote without getting caught up in politics

Since it is election day tomorrow, I'll say my two cents. I think voting is a very serious civic duty. I think that every citizen has a responsibility to be the good government they want by voting for people and ballot propositions/measures that promote good government. That said, I'm not a big fan of politics and don't really like to follow the ebb and flow of movements, scandals, personalities and so on. I agree with George Washington that political parties are actually divisive and make it harder to govern in some ways. I realize that there are plenty of people who could make a case for the good that political parties do. The only practical purpose I see for them is for mobilizing nominations of people popular enough to be electable. I've been a Republican. I've been a Democrat. Now I'm independent. Each time I eventually found myself out of sync with the party line of the time. Instead of voting for a party, I vote for who I think would do the best job and promote a good and efficient government.

Now, I'm realistic enough to know that most people don't think this way. Some people vote party line because they identify with the group. Some people vote for personalities they like. Some people are swayed by the last scare ad they see on TV. Some people are very conscientious and agonize over the options and end up confusing themselves and voting for the opposite of what they intended. Many just vote for their perceived narrow interests (Bread and Circuses). Combine all this with the truism that power corrupts and it is amazing that our government is as good as it is.

So, do I have any advice on voting without getting caught up in politics? Having a faith in God helps. I know that whatever happens, God can handle the situation. It is not a disaster if my choice loses. I have no right to gloat if my choice wins. The election is not the end of the process but the beginning of a task. That helps me keep things in perspective. So if you are a registered voter, get out there tomorrow and do your best to provide us good government. Then get on with your life and do your best to live a good life.

I think that will be the last I say on politics for a good long while.

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