Saturday, September 22, 2012

Kodos '08: Democratic Self-Flagellation and the Strange Mentality of Conscientious Abstention

Three times in the last couple o' days I have read people say "this is why I don't vote" in reference to some douchebag or other who is running for political office.


They're all players in some grand, supernatural Jewish conspiracy anyway.

Don't get me wrong, I understand where peeps are coming from with this, and - unlike the Australian Electoral Commission - I am actually cool with people not voting if they don't want to. Whatever you wanna do, man. I do hear ya: the lesser of two evils is still evil... that is true.

Given the choice though - and you are actually given a choice - what are you gonna do?

Option 1: Evil. The massive right-wing bigot with an irrepressible lust for power, no scruples and access to incomprehensibly large political coffers, unlimited PR and ubiquitous support from influential media barons, old money, royalty, clergymen, finance industry sociopaths and almost every trusted corporate brand known to mankind since Keating first floated the dollar.

Option 2: Lesser Evil. Back when they were young and idealistic, the former student unionist joined a party that used to be left-wing. They now keep their ideals a closely-guarded secret, publicly hovering somewhere around the middle of the political spectrum, at least when the press is looking. They are under the advice and very-watchful eyes of hack staffers who are always on the phone to the Gallop Poll crew, endlessly trying to suss out which particular bigoted contradiction the public expects them to uphold in any given week.

Option 3: Third Party. Choose between paranoid lunatics, religious zealots, and activists whose records you used to buy in the 80s but you're not so sure about them anymore because Option 1 and Option 2 have told you they're bad for the economy so many times that you're starting to actually believe it - but it's not like anybody votes for them anyway. Besides, the notion that politicians might stand on principle seems utterly preposterous. They are definitely either lying to you or to themselves, and sharing their blog posts on social media will result in your immediate ostracism from your work colleagues, brother-in-law, your former school chums and anybody else who still watches A Current Affair.

Option 4: Do Nothing. Sleep in on election day, have a really long shower, fire up the Xbox and make nachos. Drink heaps of liquor. Adopt a sense of smug superiority. If anyone brings up the vote count throughout the remainder of the election period, or if they mention the result in any way, make them feel as uncomfortable and self-conscious about the whole thing as you possibly can. When Option 1 gets voted in and outlaws the consumption of nachos and enforces mandatory church attendance on both days of every weekend - under penalty of corporeal punishment - remind everyone that you didn't vote anyway and that the situation is therefore not your fault.

To my mind, Option 4 is the shittest option, and if you read on now I'll tell ya why.

...and here's why I can't go for that.

Surely it's better to prevent the Biggest Jerk from having their Finger On The Button, even if it means voting for a career politician who in your opinion is not one hundred percent perfect.

In other words, surely you'd want to go for Options 2 or 3 as they are the most likely to keep Option 1 the fuck out of power - thereby increasing your chances of not being arrested for pursuing Option 4.

In the long run, this is very fucking important. When someone is allowed to take office, society allows them access to fucking guns, and funds, and manpower - entire armies of soldiers and cops - all out to prove themselves, all contractually obliged to follow the orders of politicians. Think about that. It's terrifying.

As a white male member of the pacified majority, it might be technically possible to drop out of the whole pantomime at the moment... but how often do you wake up one morning to find that yet another fucking thing that you used to be able to do is now illegal? In Australia it happens all the time.

Think about what you're tacitly endorsing here.

Ten or twenty or a hundred or four hundred or fifteen thousand good people who are just over it abstaining from voting cause they're all crooks m8 - or because the Lesser of Two Evils doesn't offer an absolutely flawless solution, or whatever - could easily be the difference between...

Damn straight! Al Gore vs. George W. Bush

Sure, one of those guys was an arsehat politician with very questionable family members who were the active enemy of free speech and artistic expression throughout most of the 1980s. He was a journalist - they can't be trusted - and he once scored a scholarship from the Rockerfellers. I'm referring of course to Al Gore. Sound the alarm.

He seems nice enough but frankly I don't know enough about Gore to call whether he would have been a very good president or not. And, especially given Tipper's record, he could have been a jerk even despite his apparent best intentions re: global warming and social justice and the fact that he, unlike his opponent, actually rocked up to work during the whole Vietnam thing.

Still, I doubt he would have made his way into the All-Time Top Ten Presidents list. It is possible to argue that he would not have been perfect...

"...and those who harbor them."

But the other guy? You have got to be fucking kidding!

George W. Bush was the most dangerously apathetic, incompetent boob in the 223 year history of the US executive office. He was a third generation drunken jerk - the Idiot Son of an Arsehole Son of a Nazi Sympathiser - a foolish elitist, a one-time deserter, a warmonger, suddenly in control of the most powerful empire the world has ever known.

Gore, for all I know, might also have been vulnerable to top level corruption. I don't know. Everyone has their price and he was, after all, a politician. However, Bush actively facilitated what happened next. His election by such a preposterous minority was one of the worst things that has ever happened.

America's going to be suffering the consequences of Not Voting For Al Gore for decades to come.

Bush did irreparable damage to East/West relations.

Worldwide we've all had our freedoms curtailed by simpering Allied governments.

It was the corporatocracy's finest hour.

Now, this analogy may not be watertight. I don't know whether Gore would have gone the same way in the aftermath of That Event (You Know The One)... but I doubt it - not the same as Bush did. The Powers That Be went to considerable effort to rig that 2000 election and it worked out very well indeed for them.

But I'm pretty confident that if every disillusioned left-leaning liberal who said fuck it, I'm not voting for either goon had actually turned out instead and voted for the Lesser Dickhead, then the Republicans simply wouldn't have had the numbers to pull off their swindle.

(Unless said liberals accidentally voted for Ralph Nader, but that's a whole other thing.)

So there you go!

Have a think about that whole thing, I guess.

You don't have to vote, but if you're saying this is why I don't vote because of douchebags playing the same old power games, well that's understandable - but be aware that sometimes democracy is simply about kicking the biggest jerk out on their hole before they get a chance to ruin things for everybody.

So, I suppose I am more NOFX than Propagandhi on this one... and that's the reason why I'll grit my teeth and go with Option 2 if there's no suitable Option 3, every time.

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