Sunday, September 23, 2018

Playing politics with politics, is a threat to all concerned

The line that "If you don't vote for Candidate X, THEN YOU’RE VOTING FOR CANDIDATE Y!!!”, is neither a good argument, nor a laughing matter, and treating it as one, or the other, or both, is not a responsible approach to one of your most fundamental civic responsibilities.

There are a couple things at play here, that need to be considered. First being, what is it that you think that you are doing when voting - are you voting for a candidate, or are you voting to influence who will hold power in a political office? The distinction being made there is one that makes a difference. If you subscribe to the former, then it's pretty likely that you've made the above statement, either in seriousness, or by mocking those who do, or in whining that those who do are 'browbeating' you, in order to make excuses for how you intend to vote. Either approach is a dead end that is harmful to the entire body politic.

If you're exasperated with how someone says they intend to vote, don't tell them what you think about candidates X, Y & Z - they'll just tell you what they think about what you think. Instead, ask them about how they think their vote will affect the results of the election - that at least might give you something to talk about.

Such as... it is important to remember that the ultimate aim of what all of the candidates and voters are participating in, is a means of determining who the occupant of a seat of political power will be, and how the powers of that office are likely to be employed by them upon We The People - that is what your foremost concern as a voter should be. The candidate you favor - if you should be so lucky as to have one you can - is and should be a secondary matter in that choice, and a distant one at that.

The electoral process begins in the primaries, and if you are a member of, or align with, a particular political party, then that party's primary election is your opportunity to examine the candidates, to make your opinion known about their fitness, and about what direction the party should go, and to support what best represents your political ideals. If you chose to participate in that party and in their primary, then by choosing to vote for one of that party's slate of candidates, you tacitly agree to support the winner - whether they were your choice or not. If you are a member of that political party, and you participate in their primary election, and your candidate loses, and you find yourself wholly unable to support the winner, then the principled thing to do would be to resign from that party. If you continue on as a member or supporter of that political party, while vocally denouncing the winner of its primary election and those who support them, then you, above all people, are in no position to prattle on about 'Principles!' of any kind, as you've already demonstrated your disregard for the fundamentals of being principled, and apparently lack the integrity which such a concept requires.

Where the primary election was about your preferences as a voter, the general election is about your responsibilities as a citizen.

If you do support a candidate that has a credible chance of winning the election, and you have no serious objections to the other credible candidates running in the campaign, all is well and good, vote for who you support.

But if there is no candidate running in the general election whose ideals and positions you can wholeheartedly support, or if the candidate you do prefer has little or no chance of winning the election, then it is your responsibility as a citizen to remember that the general election is not about either the candidates or your feelings for them, but about how the powers of that office are likely to be used by the winner of the election, and to vote accordingly.

That is not a case of choosing the lesser evil, it is a matter of opposing the greater one!

If Candidate Y (Hillary, Claire, etc) supports an agenda that is a clear threat to your political ideals and values, and they have a credible chance of being elected, then your own personal preferences, both those for Candidate X, and against Candidate Z (Trump, Hawley, etc), are no longer valid considerations in how you will cast your vote! Political maturity demands that you coolly and clearly take stock of the situation, and that you judge which candidate poses the greater threat to what you consider to be of political importance, and that you then cast your vote so as to ensure that the candidate which poses the greater threat your polity, is defeated in the general election.

If you fail to hold what will result from the election as your main concern, then you are putting your ego and vanity above that of your community, and you will be manipulated by the froth of personalities and identity politics, and your contribution to that miasma can only harm your community, and worsen the political climate for all.

If you as a voter choose to allow yourself to be driven by your personal feelings for candidates, rather than by what your judgment tells you about how that office will be utilized by the winner of that election, then your vote will be futile in every meaningful way, as it can and will accomplish nothing more than to flatter your own personal vanity and sense of self importance. Such a vote of 'Principle!' reflects no principles at all, it is the act of a politically immature child, and all such voters, for the good of the community (which is the ultimate point of politics), should strongly consider refraining from dabbling in politics for the foreseeable future, because playing politics with politics, is a threat to all concerned.

Think less about your personal feelings about candidates, and more about what your vote is, and what it will mean, and act accordingly.

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