Your Vote is Not Your Own

A lot of people have weighed in on the Susan Sarandon statements on Chris Hayes’ show the other night. From the looks of it, Hayes’ audience must have tripled the other night. No, wait, I forgot; once again, it’s people on social media amplifying a message that is at once stupid and frightening and giving it more power than it would otherwise have. I’ll get to that in another post, but suffice it to say that Fox News, Limbaugh, et al, get their power from those who amplify their message, and not the message or the networks themselves.

Anyway, back to the Sarandon thing…

I like Susan Sarandon. I have always liked her. She has great passion and she has great commitment to the causes that SHE decides are the most important that people face. Key words there; “that SHE decides…” God knows, I have discussed almost everything about what she actually said in previous columns.

  • I discussed the stupidity of the “Bernie or Bust movement” here.
  • I discussed the ridiculous notion of “Revolution” in a United States that has all of the power we need, and where elections are decided by non-voters here.
  • I discussed the inanity of wasting a vote on anyone but a Democrat here.
  • I have discussed the narcissism of PUBs and the professional left for years and I will continue to do so. Hell; it’s a recurring theme on this blog; I’ve discussed it here, here and here, among numerous others. Like I said, it’s a theme.

Yes, all three of those apply to Sarandon’s statement. But there is one issue about which I have been remiss recently, however, and that’s what I want to talk about right here, right now:

Your vote is not yours. It belongs to all of us. 

Yes, that’s right. Whereas we have all been told that our vote is a type of individual expression at one time or another, that is simply not true. Everyone should have the vote and there is no excuse for denying someone the right to vote. I will even go so far as saying that, once a felon has completed their sentence, it is unconscionable to deny them the right to vote. It should be assumed that everyone who is a citizen has a right to vote, and it should be incumbent upon the government to prove that someone doesn’t have it; no one should have to prove they are a citizen in order to vote.

However, that is not the same as saying that your vote belongs to each individual, to use as they wish. It’s not. Votes are a collective exercise. We don’t hold elections for YOU, we hold them for ALL OF US. Your vote is a tool that you use to express your preference in elections. By itself, it is meaningless, technically speaking. It gets its power from being part of a huge number of other votes. In fact, the only power it has comes when it is part of a majority, since the only candidates who get to make policy are those who win. If your candidate doesn’t win, they have no power. Those who voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 can assure you of that.

And that’s the ultimate problem with what Sarandon said. Votes are not cookies that candidates have to be “good” to earn. How is holding your vote out for the candidate who says everything you want to hear any different than holding it out for the highest bidder? “I will only vote for the person who says what I think” is a Drumpf voter thing; it’s not something progressives should ever say.

Votes are our entry into the political system and they are our way of contributing our voice to hire a government that is decent, competent and responsive. If you think “a candidate has to earn my vote” to get it, you’re a narcissistic loon. If you think that’s a winning strategy, ask yourself why the progressive movement has fallen behind in the last half century. At some point, when a strategy isn’t working, you might think about changing it, and yet PUBs and professional lefties never change anything.

Unicorn 2How many times do we have to lose before you imbeciles get it? The way you build a movement is from the ground up, but for God’s sakes, folks; at some point, you actually have to build something. When all you have is five percent of the population “snorting” politics and patting each other on the back about how wonderfully “progressive” they are, you’re not winning elections, which means we have no power. You can fantasize about having 100 Warrens and Sanders in the Senate, but if you’re always voting for someone who can’t win because it makes you feel good, you’re only showing what a self-centered idiot you are and you’re actually moving farther away from your ideal. Ironic, no?

The democratic process in the primaries will leave us with a choice between Hillary Clinton and either Donald Drumpf or Ted Cruz. If you think neither is worthy of your vote, or you believe that your fantasy of a “revolution” is worth throwing away your vote, or you believe your vote is a reward for the perfect candidate who can’t win, you simply don’t understand how politics works and you are too selfish to be taken seriously. OUR votes belong to ALL OF US. It’s one of hundreds of millions of keys to our democracy that millions of men and women have given their lives to establish and protect. It is not a key to your personal treasure chest or to the door that will unlock your personal vision of utopia. Your vote is only valuable when used with all of the other votes to create a government we can be proud of and that does the will of the American people. If Drumpf or Cruz win, people will die. You want that on your conscience?

Grow the hell up!

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