Vote Cat Says Vote

See that look Ghlaghghee has there? It’s the look she gave me when I told her that there are some people who can vote who don’t vote. It is, in point of fact, the same look she gives insects and small varmints shortly before what I like to call “The Disembowelination.” Don’t anger Vote Cat, people. Get out there and vote today.

And yes, I did vote this morning, of course. I haven’t missed a vote since I turned 18, and I’m not planning to ditch that streak anytime soon. I won’t go into specifics about for whom I voted (except to note that, as publicly announced here earlier, I did in fact vote for Justin Coussoule for the 8th Ohio district Congressional representative), but I will say that if you looked at my ballot, you would find more than one party represented there. Because that will happen from time to time.

Whomever you vote for, do vote. It’s one of those really important things. And it will make my cat happy. And you want her to be happy. Or at least I do. Because she’s awake when I’m asleep, you see. And that could be dangerous for me.

112 Comments on “Vote Cat Says Vote”

  1. This is why I like the Australian way – compulsory voting.

    But then, you couldn’t have that in the states…
    It would be taking away your democratic right to be undemocratic!
    Or your Right to Free Speech – to say nothing.

  2. Yes indeed – everyone do please go vote. It’s your right and your privilege. And everyone look forward to November 3rd, with the (albeit all too temporary) cessation of political robocalls, banner, TV and radio ads, and the collection of ugly lawn signs!

  3. At the risk of sounding partisan, I’d like to remind the republicans that they are going to win anyway. So they might as well sleep in. No need to go to the polls.

  4. I knew everyone at my polling place this morning, and knew that my vote would help to cancel theirs out; yes, I live in the town that John Freshwater made famous. I would like to see a photo of Vote Cat at the moment you pull that sticker off!

  5. asms@2 Well, apparently Nevada has the Hugo-esque option of ‘none of these bozos’, which is better than writing in a protest vote for Mickey Mouse. So you can register your distaste for the candidates while still showing up.

    The things I learn from Five Thirty-Eight…

  6. asms: This is why I like the Australian way – compulsory voting.

    Is that enforced by cats or some local species?

  7. asms:

    While it galls me that low voter participation makes it easier for those in power to manipulate the people who *do* vote, there are few people I’d be *less* interested in getting to participate in the electoral process than those who would only vote if they legally had to.

    Except, perhaps, those who think it’s a valid political tactic to play ugly disenfranchisement games while simultaneously mock-hyperventilating about non-existent masses of illegal voters.

  8. O Great Scalzi, how great it is to finally see a picture of Her Most Glorious Shimmering Radiant Perfection.

    Great even though this picture has gone through the patented (and patently) ridiculous and offensive – and most importantly, banned – Scalzi Image Manipulation. Stop doing that. Now. As ordered.

    And you have even dared to impute your foolish thoughts to Her. Another epic failure that we have warned you about. That’s two strikes.

    And you have stuck some ridiculous thing to Her Most Superb Self! Three strikes.

    You may redeem yourself from this horror by doing the following things:

    1. Remove that Rancid Dog Thing banner image.
    2. Enable comment preview.
    3. Change the font back to what it was. The Executive Committee doesn’t like tiny and crappy fonts.

    The Official Ghlaghghee Fan Club

  9. I like the idea of compulsory voting.

    I also like the idea of telling people #foo party is going to win anyway. It means my opponents wont turn up to vote and risk stopping them. I like to think I’ve shaved a few hundred votes off of a certain UK party in my constituency in the last election. And another couple of hundred by campaigning for a radical nutcase party that would spilt their core vote. Nevermind tactical voting, I’m all for tactical campaigning.

  10. I’ve already voted this morning and I wish that I could impart this fact to all of the robocalls I’ve been getting. (11 so far this morning..) I don’t support manditory voting, but I would like a law that if you don’t vote, you can’t complain about who got in…

  11. On the one hand, your individual vote has a negligible chance of affecting the outcome. On the other hand, the fewer votes cast the more important yours is.

    My view is that if you don’t vote, you aren’t entitled to bitch about who’s running the show.

  12. Australians get a small fine (~$20) if they neither vote nor provide a satisfactory explanation for not voting(illness or religious reasons being two reasonable ones). Around 95% of voters apparently attend voting in Australia; I wish we had something similar in the UK.
    There are of course problems with this system – ideally you’d want a set of randomised ballot papers so the same candidate isn’t first on each paper and therefore benefits from uninformed and uninterested voters ticking the first boxes they see. The Australian system does let people submit spoiled or unfilled ballot papers though.

  13. Get out and vote, by all means, if you have bothered in the least to educate yourself on the things you are voting on. Otherwise, I don’t care so much that you vote, if you can’t be bothered to do anything but listen to political ads.

  14. My husband went to vote this morning and said the polling place was empty. Me? I voted early. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop the robocalls. I’d like to get all high and mighty and refuse to vote for anyone who uses robocalls, but in Texas that would leave an empty ballot.

  15. Voted by mail last week.(Washington State) Our Secretary of State is expecting 2/3rds turnout for this off year election. I think the vote by mail program helps with turnout, not as much of a hassle and you don’t have to wade through the media and partisan SOB’s to get to the polling station. We have some serious issues and initiatives to look at this time and need as many people as possible to make their voice heard.

  16. Considering the havoc that The Orange One wants to wreck on us, I wish I could vote for Coussoule, too :/

  17. I voted this morning and was faced with our state’s idea of high-tech polling: a Scantron. I had to color in the boxes on a paper ballot just like I did when I took survey tests in grade school, then feed the ballot into a machine the size of a 1980s-era photocopier to be counted. I’d feel better about this alleged progress if the fellow next to me hadn’t had to re-do his ballot twice because he’d marked it wrong. (“But I put an X in the box!” “The machine can’t read an X.”)

    At least we didn’t have to use a #2 pencil.

  18. Rush said it best: “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice”
    I, however, decided to choose.

  19. Voted. Yellow Dog. No on all binding questions.

    I have split tix in the past, but not this year, not for this GOP.

  20. I’m voting this evening, after work. Because my only phone is a cell phone, I’ve not had any robocalls–either from parties or pollsters. The only people who auto-dial me are fraudsters and thieves.

    When I was in high school and too young to vote, people who could vote and didn’t made me so angry that I had trouble speaking to them for days after elections. They were squandering a right I didn’t have, and it made me sick to my stomach. Every election day, I remember that feeling. I also remember the women who went through hell to make sure I wouldn’t have to feel it all my life.

    It doesn’t matter what the odds are on an election. Voting is a civic responsibility.

  21. I voted early (not often, as I’m not from Chicago) this morning on the way to work at my temp job (which ends soon). I was commended for voting before work. :)

    I live in the Dayton area, but not in District #8, so couldn’t vote for Coussoule. Wish I could have, though…

  22. I’d also love to deny my vote to any candidate who uses robo-calls, but that would mean not voting, as you said. What frustrates me most about them is that there’s no way I can register my displeasure. If a candidate’s staffer calls me at home during dinner, I can say, “Please tell your candidate that by calling me at home, he’s lost my vote.” That doesn’t make a difference, and I don’t actually follow through on the threat (see: not voting, above) but it makes me feel a tiny bit better. Then when they call back two minutes later and ask for my wife, I can get really ticked. With robo-calls, I can’t even do that. Do independents get fewer calls? I’d switch affiliation if that were the case.

    @Rob K.: My initial reaction….”I never heard that Limbaugh said that…oh, wait, I get it.”

  23. @Annalee: “When I was in high school and too young to vote, people who could vote and didn’t made me so angry that I had trouble speaking to them for days after elections. They were squandering a right I didn’t have, and it made me sick to my stomach. Every election day, I remember that feeling. I also remember the women who went through hell to make sure I wouldn’t have to feel it all my life.

    It doesn’t matter what the odds are on an election. Voting is a civic responsibility.”

    You go girl! I’ve voted this morning, and then done some other non-civic chores.

    As to Scantrons. Oddly enough, they’re the most reliable automated method of counting votes. MA did a study after a famous voting fiasco in the ’90s and mandated a switch to them. Before, I had to punch Chad. Towns also have the option of using hand-counted paper ballots, which are more cost effective for small towns, and slightly more accurate than Scantron.

    Jack Tingle

  24. I AM from Chicago, and so far I’ve only voted the one time. I think I’ll wait and see who’s offering the best kickback for a dead person vote.

    On a serious note, it always disappoints me to see unopposed candidates from either party and for any position. (Or in the case of IL-7, an opponent whose website is made entirely out of vague exclamatory statements! Really! Go look! It’s a proud member of the so-bad-it’s-hilarious school of comedy: Even when I DO approve of an incumbent it’s still galling to not have a choice.

    On a more philosophical note, I don’t vote for the lesser evil. If I can’t bring myself to support someone, I leave the field blank. Question the utility, but it’s what feels right.

  25. Interestingly enough, I saw a statistic yesterday (which I don’t know to be true (saw it on TV), but it sure sounds good) that there was an 80% voter turnout in the 1860 presidential election, which Lincoln won and which was a prelude to the American civil war and the end of slavery in this country. While we don’t have any issues as horrible as slavery these days (thank goodness), it’s sad that that number seems so incomprehensibly high, particularly considering how much more effort it took to get to a polling place in 1860.

    Oh well; I did my part and voted (for split parties, no less, although I would LOVE to have more than two realistic options). I wish 80% of my nieghbors would vote, even if they don’t agree with me, but I have no hope of it happening.

  26. We vote up at the neighborhood elementary school. Oh so many years ago when the girls were young, they walked to school. Now most of the neighborhood parents drive their kids. Made for an interesting traffic jam as I was leaving after I voted. The vote box was up near 450 votes at 8:30; pretty good rate for an hour and a half.

  27. In theory, I’d like my government split up between the 3 parties:
    Legislative Branch – Democrats
    Executive Branch – Republicans
    Judicial Branch – Libertarians

    Not the actual political parties as they exist day to day, but the Platonic Forms of the parties that you can imagine if you squint really hard while looking at the Constitution. In my imagination, Democrat Congress passes laws to improve the social welfare of all instead of just for unions and special interests, Republicans Presidents are isolationists who don’t start foreign wars when they get bored, and Libertarian Judges strike down half a dozen unconstitutional laws before they finish their morning coffee.

    Sadly, reality looks nothing like that, so pretty much every vote I cast is a downtrodden lesser-of-two-evil decisions.

  28. I voted already – but for anyone who hasn’t yet – here are some words of wisdom from Fred Pohl:
    “Fred’s Non-Partisan Way to Decide
    (Or, More Accurately, Who to Vote Against)
    When you just can’t make up your mind between two candidates who are equally good, or equally rotten, follow these simple steps:

    1.Keep an eye on your TV.
    2.Count how many commercials each candidate has.
    3.Identify which candidate has more,
    4.Vote for the other guy.
    The point is that those commercials cost big money. The way the politician pays for them is mostly with the large donations from for-profit companies and associations. The way politicians get those big donations is by doing favors for those same entities.

    When a politician lets lobbyists “suggest” changes in legislation he isn’t working for the voters any more, he’s working for the people who are giving him money. I’m assuming that isn’t the way you want it. ”

    and to Jeanne in Freshwater’s backyard – I empathise
    any chance of a criminal child abuse case happening?

  29. I’ve got to wait until this evening, but plan on voting down a bunch of initiatives when I get there. I wish California could either end the initiative process or ban paid signature gathering.

  30. Don’t vote, it only encourages them. One group of politicians or another group of near identical politicians. Same policies, just slightly different rhetoric. (Obama just continued Bush’s policies, the Tea Party will not change anything either – one sniff of power and its just grab grab grab).

    However you vote the government always gets in, and if it really changed anything they’d make it illegal. The same ruling class wins. The same pile of crap is dumped on those not lucky enough to be born into the political or corporate aristocracy.

  31. @Brian Mac: I haven’t declared a party and I still get calls, although my eyeball estimate is that 20% of them were actual humans doing the calling. (It’s a rural district, so it’s feasible to let volunteers do the dialing rather than hire a bot – at least for the state legislature races.) I don’t know if I’d get more calls if I declared one or another party, and I’m not curious enough to try it just to find out.

  32. Background research completed: CHECK. Damage assessment against robocallng spamcandidates: CHECK (with an axe).
    Okay, I’m ready to sing this one…

    To the polling booths I go,
    practicing my mantra:

  33. I must vote! I must prevent disembowelination! Besides, if Ghlaghghee had to come all the way to the DC suburbs to disembowel me, the Scalzi household would get worried.

    (In point of fact, I’m an obsessive voter.)

  34. dear chang, who is not chang: will you marry me? i’m sure my husband won’t mind. :P
    dear scalzi: please tell her most glorious and radiant perfection that i’m going to vote around 3:00 so please not to slaughter you on my account. :)

  35. You can’t scare us with your cat; your cat is so tame that you can TAPE BACON TO IT. Any cat who holds still for that is no threat. :-)

    I’ll vote because
    1) I don’t want the idiots* to have complete control over who gets elected, and
    2) If you don’t vote, you lose the right to complain about the stupidity/incompetence/insanity of the people in office.

    *Anyone who’s been on the Internet for more than an hour knows that there are an awful lot of idiots out there, few of whom can spell.

  36. I voted this morning. I actually like our Scantron ballots — to my mind, they strike a good balance between fast vote-counting, and having a clear written vote record in case a recount is necessary. In my old precinct, we used rickety electronic machines that I deeply suspected would crash at any moment, with no receipt or written record of the votes. I think Scantron is a better way to go.

    There was a line when I voted at 9:15 AM. I was trying to avoid the rush by waiting until then, figuring most people would vote before work. I was actually glad to see there was still a line — it means a lot of people are turning out. I hope that continues all day.

  37. We voted. (Well, I dropped my absentee ballot off at the polling place, as I always do, while she voted, as she always does.)

    Then I got kicked out for reading a book on my iPad while waiting for her to vote. Grrr!

  38. I voted. I kind of wish Kentucky had Nevada’s “none of these bozos” option. I would have used it in the Louisville mayor’s race. As it was, I cast a write-in vote for Bozo The Clown, because he was clearly a better choice than any of the candidates on the ballot.

    And the cat seems to be thinking, “Oh God, this is going to be a repeat of the Bacon Incident, isn’t it?”

  39. Point 1: Our Founding Fathers never intended that EVERYONE should vote. The problem is to fairly choose a group of US citizens who will represent the Nation as a whole and do the right thing. Personally, I believe the Motor Voter Law sets the bar too low. Perhaps we should take a page from Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers and require military service as a condition for full citizenship (and the right/responsibility to vote) [I may be biased a bit as a Gulf War vet and retired USAF member]

    Point 2: If our government is in sad shape, the only ones to blame are the voters. In every election we have the opportunity to throw the bums out and get in a fresh crop. If we persist, eventually both the Republicans and the Democrats will run out of these crooks and we might even see some honesty in government.

    Point 3: No matter your political leaning, it is obvious to even Big Media that the current state of affairs is unsustainable. I have no great love for either National Party at this point. 2 years ago Mr. Obama pledged ‘Change’ as his platform. The Dems had their chance and have blown it. [Yes, the Republicans blew their chance when they had Dubya.] It’s time for some new blood and bring about some real change, to real issues that matter to real Americans: jobs, financial industry reform, immigration reform, campaign financing and health care reform, etc. Is it necessary for the government to be worrying about ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ at this exact moment? Does Congress really need to get into who took steriods in MLB? WTF?

  40. @Tristan For many years, I agreed with you and refused to vote. I might even still continue with that philosophy, except (as someone pointed out to me) that there’s almost always stuff on the ballot other than politicians. In Louisiana, for example, we have ten different constitutional amendments (our constitution has like 150 of them; it’s as backwards as it sounds) on the ballot, several of which could make big differences. I’m sure other places have similar measures. Even if you don’t want to endorse a candidate, it’s worth voting to have a voice on those sorts of things.

  41. @Matthew in Austin – the judicial branch is supposed to interpret the law, not write it. I wouldn’t assume that Libertarians (even pretending they have a unified Platonic-ideal platform) are the best candidates for judicial restraint.

    And what Annalee said.

  42. Spirit03:
    1. At any given time, there are people unable or unwilling to serve in the military, for various reasons. Sounds nice on paper, but that’s just another form of disenfranchisement.
    2. Regrettably, I think there is an endless supply of bums, both idiotic and shifty. The main thing that changes is the label. I only hope that when someone who is neither and is actually competent comes along (o happy day!) they can be identified as the jewel in the dungheap.
    3. Inertia is a mighty force to overcome. We freed the slaves in the 19th century, but it took well into the 20th to mostly get rid of the holdovers from slavery. I only hope that small steps towards sanity will prevail.

  43. I just voted and discovered that we vote for auditor here in MA. I hadn’t seen a sign forcandidate all year.

  44. @Spirit03: You need to reread your Heinlein, then, because military service was explicitly NOT required in ST. Just service. Recall that Carl (in the book, not the execrable movie) was a civilian research scientist, and that counted just as much as Johnnie’s military service did. As Heinlein himself said in Expanded Universe (I’m paraphrasing, because the book’s at home), you signed up and then you went where you were told. It might be the military, but there was a very good chance it wouldn’t be, if you had skills that were deemed more useful elsewhere.

  45. @Spirit03: Indeed, the Founding Fathers never intended that black men or women (of any race) should vote. Is that really where you wanted to go with this?

    Of course, requiring military service would also mean that disabled persons, homosexuals and those not eligible for the military for other reasons (e.g., having asthma) would not be able to be American citizens. Is that really where you wanted to go with this?

    The ‘motor voter’ law (<a href=""National Voter Registration Act) did not change who has the right to vote; it simply required states to make it easier for those people who may vote, to register to vote.

  46. My wonderful wife has a somewhat adversarial relationship with the English language and was puzzled by the large number of Librarians running in this election. She’s in favor of libraries, so she voted for many of them.

    What? Librarians. Democrats, Republicans, and Librarians. Surely you’ve heard of them.

  47. I realize that this isn’t true across the country, but here in our suburban, middle-class, anglo & hispanic neighborhood, voting is a surprisingly pleasant experience. The volunteers are cheerful & helpful, and nearly everyone is glad to see each other. After such a vitriolic election season, it is gratifying to see so much good will at the polling place. It gives me a bit of hope for the future.

  48. My polling place is conveniently located between my home and workplace. (The gauntlet of people electioneering just past the signs saying “No Electioneering Beyond This Point”, not so much.)

    Whether I vote in the morning or the evening varies, depending on a variety of things. The turn into the polling place is easier coming home, but it’s less crowded in the mornings and then I get to wear my sticker all day.

    Since I’ve got a night class on Tuesdays, I voted this morning. I checked my email later in the day to discover my instructor explicitly considers voting an excused tardy. Said email was sent after I had already voted :)

  49. I’m from Australia – the nerdy antipodean kid who just wants to play with the popular, rich, and muscular USA kid. I know my country will go along with almost anything your country will – so please, intelligent people, vote.

    Louise Curtis

  50. Here’s me pushing the like button on everyone voting. I don’t really care how you voted or who you voted for. The point is that you voted. Good job.

  51. Snap!
    1. Of course, it’s disenfranchisement, that’s the point. Mr. Heinlein believed one had to earn the right/responsibility to determine the future of the Nation. Rather than basing one’s right to vote on the color of skin or gender or other physical attribute, he felt the people who have offered to give their lives in defense of the Nation (whether or not they ever actually were in imminent danger) might be best suited to care the most about the running of the Nation.

    2. I do not agree the supply is infinite (although it might be quite large). As long as an environment exists for corruption there will be corrupt people taking advantage of the situation. The Federal Government is supposed to be run with checks and balances. This is why there are 3 branches to our government. The People need to restore the checks and balances to politics.

    3. Inertia IS a terrible thing. Not being able to pay for food and shelter because you are being taxed to death to support agrabusiness, bankers and politicians is a powerful motivator. All you have to do is care about how gets your vote.

    @Andrew Hackard: I’m pretty sure it was MILITARY service. The difference in his world was that if you applied they had to take you. Consequently, there were a lot of positions that weren’t necessarily combat-related. If I remember correctly, the specific character you mention was actually a Major (which is why Neil Patrick Harris’s character was wearing a uniform in the newsflash in that godawful movie). Recall also, by the time Carl’s research is mentioned, Earth is fully involved in the Bug Wars so the whole government is on a full war footing, much as the major powers were during WWII. Carl was researching Bug countermeasures.

    Rico didn’t think much of people who weren’t CI (Combat Infantry) because they weren’t putting their lives on the line continuously. Heck, even CI training was rather fatal.

    @mythago: 18th century America was a little bit different that today. I believe the Founding Fathers held that a Citizen should be a reasonable Man, well-educated, free and a landowner. I like to think things have improved a bit since then and we can all agree that basing Rights on physical attributes is wrong.

    You’re confusing the current US military’s entrance requirements with those of RH’s Earth government. If one has to serve to be a Citizen, then the rules must change to allow anyone who asks to be allowed to serve.

    I’ll give you your point on the Motor Voter Law. Our country diving into the toilet isn’t a result of making it too easy to register to vote. It just seems like about that time politics became noticeably repugnant. MTV claiming their ‘Rock the Vote’ program got Bill Clinton elected is just one example. Just what we need, the ‘Jackass’ (movie) Generation deciding who runs our country.

  52. Drat! No do-overs.
    Rico was in Mobile Infantry not Combat Infantry.

    A mind is a terrible thing.

  53. 1. Of course, it’s disenfranchisement, that’s the point.


    Disencranchisement is all fine and dandy when you agree with the criteria, but what if you don’t? And you’re not making a particularly good case for your set of criteria over others.

  54. Mr. Heinlein believed one had to earn the right/responsibility to determine the future of the Nation

    Do not confuse an author’s books with an author’s actual beliefs.

  55. My 50-something-year old mother finished her third shift work day at the Kitchen-Aid factory and stopped on her way home to hit the polls as they opened and vote for that “nice young Mr. Coussoule.” Go Mom!

    For my part, I voted for a number of people, some of whom I liked more than others, but all of whom I feel can do the job. I also voted to legalize and regulate pot, despite not being a smoker. I just want a sensible drug policy. And the tax revenue.

  56. And the cat let you put a STICKER on her lush, silky fur? And then take her picture? And you’re still alive?

  57. @gwangung: I don’t happen to believe that the sole qualification to vote or hold public office be the ability to maintain a body temperature near 98F.

    The premise in Starship Troopers is not that you have to TAKE a life in order to run the show but that you have to be willing to GIVE yours. Federal Service is designed to be as unpleasant or fatal as possible. If you chose to resign from service the only repercussion would be the lost chance to vote or hold public office. Mobile Infantry had a graduation rate of about 10% before even getting to the part where you get to kill beings and break stuff.

    I’ll concede that the current world situation may not be horrible enough yet that this is a practical solution.

    SOMETHING needs to be done. The United States IS The Greatest Nation on Earth ™. I am not looking forward to the day when we are #2 (or lower). Unfortunately that day seems to be heading for us sooner than later.

  58. @Spirit03: well, dude, make up your mind on the Framers thing. First you argue that they never intended EVERYONE to vote and therefore, according to their wishes, we should limit who gets to make decisions; now you’re saying that, hey, maybe we shouldn’t go with the Intent of the Founding Fathers thing after all?
    I am, for purposes of needling you about this backpedaling, ignoring the fact that the common people vs. rule of elites debate was something the Framers did not agree on and which still rages in our government today.
    Your point of view is a very old one, though, going back to Plato and likely farther; the world is going to hell in a handbasket, so only those who, like me, are worthy, ought to be able to run things. In Plato’s case, being a philosopher, he nominated the philosopher-king. In your case, being a military man and a Heinlein fan, you suggest military service (with civil service an alternative for the wimpoisie who can’t heft a rifle).

  59. Voted. Rarely, if ever, have I wanted NONE OF THE ABOVE more. The harsh version, where they can’t run in the subsequent election if NOTA wins. Not quite as busy as the night Jesse Ventura won, but probably second to that in our precinct.

  60. Having now read a bunch of the posts, I wish to point out that the director of the movie “Starship Troupers” did not read the novel. I will add that I found the movie very enjoyable, once I started cheering for the bugs. Oh, and Rico’s in the MI, not the CI, in the book. /end pedantic.

  61. @mythago: You caught me out. After some 2500 years of (Western) civilization, we still have not devised a way to cultivate a group of people willing and able to guide humanity justly and fairly.

    Definitions of a number of things have changed sufficiently since our Founders were around, making their literal criteria inappropriate in today’s world.

    Perhaps all is not lost.

    Here’s a fun fact: Since 2001, tens of thousands of young men and women have voluntarily joined the US military knowing beforehand they were going into harm’s way. (there is no ‘rear area’ in Iraq & Afghanistan). Some, like Pat Tillman, gave up very cushy lives in order to fight for something they believe in. Won’t that make for some interesting politics once they’re old enough to be in charge? Contrast that with the Hippie Generation more or less running things now.

  62. @Spirit)3
    Won’t that make for some interesting politics once they’re old enough to be in charge? Contrast that with the Hippie Generation more or less running things now.

    And won’t it be funny if because of their experience they decide not to put young people in harm’s way in the future.
    The Hippy Generation is also the Vietnam generation.

  63. Done that again, for the umpteenth continuous time since I got the franchise (except when I moved between states right before the 1980 election and lost my first chance to vote for the Gipper).

    And I ignored all the Democrat scare ads to vote for Ken Buck for US Senator from Colorado. Michael Benner was (to use a fave liberal trope) “selected, not elected,” when Ken Salazar, who we DID elect (most of us, anyway) was lateraled over to Secretary of the Interior to give Obama a robot slave in the Senate, handpicked by that waste of space Bill Ritter. And all my relatives on the Gulf Coast can tell you the sort of job Salazar did of enforcing offshore oil well safety. I’d rather pick my own Senator, thanks.

    Sure, Buck wants to go back to having state legislatures pick US Senators. It’s the way we used to do it, strictly Constitutional, not un-Constitutional the way the DNC’s ads have been saying. That factual over-reach has tainted all of the DNC’s other attack ads aimed at Buck. But frankly, Bennet sucks. That’s the main issue. If we wanted Obama picking our senators, we’d have asked him to.

  64. I’d vote for Coussoule on the basis that he’s cute as a bug. But then I’m shallow that way.

  65. In addition to compulsory registration and voting, other Great Australian Ideas for Voting include:

    Polling day is a Saturday
    You can cast your vote at any polling place in your state (and with a little bit of planning, you can cast your vote in any state)
    All polling place materials are supplied by the Electoral Commission – ballots, boxes, booths, pencils, rolls, procedures etc are all the same in every polling place in the country.
    Preferential voting, what you lot call ‘instant run-off’. number all the candidates from 1 to n, in your order of preference. It’s easy to vote and easy to count.


  66. My son, Sgt. Armand Luke Frickey, Louisiana Army National Guard, 256th Brigade Combat Team, detached to the 1/69th Infantry from New York, paid the ultimate price with the rest of his squad and two Bradley crewmen from the Fighting Irishmen when a coward with a garage door opener detonated three arty shells under their Bradley AFV. I look forward to seeing when our country is represented by men like these, who not only understood that freedom is not free, but actively embraced the implications of that statement. It’s time that people who are willing to stand for the meaning of the political slogans we all mouth represent us in Washington.

  67. The way I see it Americans have three primary duties. Vote, and not just vote but actually invest some time to figure out what and who you are voting for or against. Jury duty, why pass laws if you won’t help apply them. Lastly pay taxes. None of these things are fun but it’s a small price to pay for what others have paid so dearly for.

  68. @shane: I would be honored to laugh my ass off with you on that day. I think if you ask around, most military people do not believe in going to war without a clear and present danger. Once you see for yourself how terrible war really is, you really don’t want to wish that on anyone.

    There is no such thing as a permanent peace so while we continue to preach peace, we must be prepared for war because someday someone will try to take our freedom away.

    @coonass#77: I am sorry for your loss. Thank you for raising your boy right.

  69. I’m of the opposite opinion. I say: I don’t care who or what you vote for; but if you are not passionate and self-informed, then please, don’t vote.

    I detest “Rock the Vote” and “Vote or Die!” campaigns.

    If people are ignorant and apathetic to who wins or who loses, I say: leave them alone.

  70. #56: I only WISH I had the option to vote for Librarians! I voted this afternoon, not that it mattered when the whole rest of the state disagrees with me. rrrgh.

  71. coonass @77: I am so sorry for your loss. I wish your son had lived to serve his country for many more years.

    spirit03 @72: sadly, whoever we cultivate is still going to be human, and selected for office by other humans, who have the usual human failings.

    Rembrant @78: thank you for that.

  72. I like how you frame it: It’s your right and privilege, but you really have no choice.

    So what is the choice for people who, when confronted with two options they find detestable, refuse to pick either? According to your frame, they’re essentially just miserable sots who are worthy of disembowelment. Well fuck you.

    Our two-party system has produced a party of neo-fascists, and a party of not-so-neo-milquetoasts who can’t even defend their own actions. Neither party even falls within the realm of “the left” as defined by the world’s politics (certainly not by my politics). What subjective good is performed by giving them a passing grade when I consider them failures? What better way to prove that you really don’t need to perform in order to be promoted?

    Why do I consider them (the Democrats) failures? Because when confronted with the inanity of the Republicans, Tea-Partiests and the rest of the educationally-deprived Right, they said “Well, you guys may have a point there. Let’s talk.” They allowed Sarah Palin(!) to control the narrative, fer crissakes! Obama goes into meetings with Republicans not even willing to take a stand on principles. What happened to the public option? It wasn’t even brought up. He decided not to even bring it up because he projected failure onto it. That’s pathetic. Now we’re strapped to mandated insurance from robber barons. So, yeah, I’m pissed. And I dissent by not promoting failures.

    I remember when Romano Prodi was elected in Italy on a platform of essentially “elect someone serious about governing.” He was elected, and was ousted soon after, because he was utterly incapable of governing. He had his view of how Italy should be governed, and it didn’t survive the reality of how Italy required to be governed. Obama is our Romano Prodi — a technocrat with no ability to lead. Either he starts standing up for something, or he’ll be gone.

  73. In Starship Troopers the requirement for being able to vote and/or hold elective office in the Terran Federation was to complete a volunteer term of FEDERAL service, not MILITARY service. You volunteered or not, at any time you chose after reaching age, and that was your only choice. After volunteering you went where they sent you, whether that was assistant drainage clerk in the municipal waste bureau or front-line cannon fodder in the Infantry.

    You could quit your Federal service at any time (other than IN combat, IF you were in the military) regardless of your assignment, but quitting before your term was completed meant forfeiting the right to vote or hold office. No do-overs, no second chances to volunteer. Those who completed their volunteer terms were referred to as “veterans,” which confuses some, but it meant veteran of FEDERAL service, not neccessarily MILITARY service.

  74. Hey, your choice didn’t win, but looks like your U.S. Rep will be speaker of the house. That’s pretty cool.

  75. uhreally @84: the Russian judge gives your false dilemma a 3.2 for form and a 2.0 for originality.

    Really, there are no minority parties on your ballot? There are no write-ins? You’re only allowed one R and one D for every office and, what, if somebody tries to register to run as a Libertarian the registrars have them taken out behind the chemical sheds and shot?

    And don’t say that third-party candidates don’t have a chance. Not only is that a circular argument, it’s a dodge; we’re talking about who you get to cast your vote for, not a right to have your candidate win.

  76. mythago: So, by your pathetic logic, I have to vote for SOME candidate, even if I don’t agree with them. Do you agree with Libertarians? I don’t. Don’t fucking tell me to vote for them.

    You’re telling me that a non-voting dissent has no place in this country. Bullshit. There’s no logic behind it, and no moral standing behind it. Sorry dude, try again.

  77. When I’m being told that not voting as dissent is unpatriotic, or worthy of disemboweling, or a “false dilemma”, I take it personally. Sorry to offend, not.

  78. There was only one party on my ballot. I voted for Governor O’Malley, Barbara Mikulski, and Elijah Cummings. (I didn’t pose as much of a threat as I did when I lived in Michigan.)

    I don’t think I blindly follow the Democrats; I find myself frequently frustrated at their spinelessness. The Republicans just don’t have any ideas which I agree with. Also, John brings up the whole “white, heterosexual, male, well-off” thing – well, going based on that list, that means that in all but one way the Republicans don’t give a rat’s ass about me.

  79. Haha, all the complaints about robocalls explain why when I was phone-banking, one of the people who responded asked me if I was a human being. (I wish I had come up with a more creative response than “Yes.”)

  80. uhreally:

    “Sorry to offend, not.”

    Your being offended is not an excuse to be a jerk on my site, however. So as long as you’re here, if you choose to be offended, also choose to respond to offense more civilly.

  81. uhreally @90: Dude/ette. You start off your argument with a ‘fuck you’ and you’re carping about being personally criticized? Srsly?

    But that aside, outrage is more righteous when it doesn’t require constant adjustment. Your rant was about the two-party system and how you hate both so it’s unfair to force you to choose one or the other. Now you’re insisting actually, what you were saying is that non-voting is some kind of grand protest, and you bolster this by pretending I ordered you to vote for a Libertarian.

    One more time: there are other choices besides the Big Two. There are other parties out there, yes, some other than Libertarians. There are independents. There is also this thing called a ‘write in’ where you can vote for anybody you want! So, again, unless you’re telling me that third-party candidates are not allowed to register in the corrupt district where you live and write-in ballots are destroyed, the claim that you’re stuck with R or D is false. Saying “fuck” over and over doesn’t really change that.

  82. I didn’t start off with a “fuck you”. I started off with saying:

    “I like how you frame it: It’s your right and privilege, but you really have no choice.

    So what is the choice for people who, when confronted with two options they find detestable, refuse to pick either? ”

    I could have easily said “5 choices I find detestable”. “10 choices I find detestable”. When we get a Left in this country, you tell me, OK? Until then, you’re free to try to convince me that voting for a bunch of Rightists against my will is in my best interest or in the country’s best interests.

    My point was that you all have made the option of non-voting dissent a despicable act, and I say you have no logical nor moral basis for your argument, and you’ve said nothing to refute it. And yes, I’m offended when people who have no moral or logical foundation for their argument try to condescend to me.

  83. You are, mind you, ignoring her actual solution to your problem, which is that you may write in any candidate you wish, even if he or she is not officially on the ballot.

    Your formulation of voting also forgets that aside from people on the ballot, there may also be resolutions or propositions on the ballot, which one wish to vote for or against. So there are valid reasons to show up at a voting station even if one doesn’t like anyone on the ballot.

    As for non-voting dissent, one is of course free to do as one will, but in the case of the United States the message one sends with such dissent is the equivalent of the message one sends when on is too busy playing XBox to get up off the couch and vote. Of all the manner of “dissent” possible, it’s one of the least impressive.

    As for your other comment, you don’t appear to comprehend that this is my site, and therefore I get to do as I please, but you are a guest here, which means you play by my rules. These are not equivalent states. So if you want to keep commenting, be more polite to other people. Otherwise you’re going to find your ability to comment taken away. This is of course covered in the site comment policy.

  84. And to me, your argument is akin to “Believe in God, because what harm can it do? If he doesn’t exist, you are no worse off.”

    Sorry, but I am worse off. Oh, and thanks for the condescension yet again. It’s an appealing trait.

  85. BTW, again her “solution” doesn’t address my point, and instead you all are just dancing around it pretending it doesn’t exist. My point was that “non-voting dissent” is not a logical fallacy, nor is it morally reprehensible and deserving of evisceration by your cat. Please refute.

  86. uhreally:

    ” your argument is akin to ‘Believe in God, because what harm can it do? If he doesn’t exist, you are no worse off.'”

    The suggestion that offering up a protest vote is the equivalent of Pascal’s Wager is in fact one of the dumber things I’ve read here recently.

    It’s not actually condescension. It’s closer to pity.

    And actually her solution does address your point, you just don’t like it. There’s a difference.

  87. Oh, and I do comprehend the site policy. I have run sites for years and put up with stuff far worse than the few swear words I lobbed your way. Color me sorta shocked that you are actually offended by me being offended enough to tell you to sod off.

  88. I’m not offended in the least when people tell me to sod off. However, you weren’t being rude to me, you were being rude to another of my guests here. And I do in fact get to define what’s rude here. If you don’t like it, you know where the door is. If you are as intelligent as you wish the rest of us to assume you are, you have the capability to make your points slightly less antagonistically.

  89. Yeah, don’t fool yourself: it’s condescension alright.

    And, uh, really, no it doesn’t address my point at all. Her argument makes assumptions that non-voters never vote. Untrue. Her argument also seems to make the assumption that I didn’t even vote in the last election. Again, a false assumption.

    The argument you both seem to be making is “Vote! Just vote! It’s the right thing to do!” But you are utterly unable to counter the argument that there is a place for non-voting dissent in a democracy, and I’m guessing it’s because you have no argument. Let’s put it this way: In the vote, in my state, between Joe Sestak and Pat Toomey, it’s like asking me to vote for idiot #1 or idiot #2. Idiot #2 is supposed to be on the side of “the people”, but he can’t even muster a decent argument as to why. And I should reward him how? By voting for him? How does that reward me, the voter? How does it reward you?

    Your argument seems to be “There’s never a point of vileness beyond which a politician can pass, that can cause you to not vote for him/her.” Yeah, that’s basically your argument, because if I HAVE to vote for someone, because non-voting dissent is illogical/immoral/whatever, then I have no choice. What freedom is that, exactly?

  90. uhreally:

    “But you are utterly unable to counter the argument that there is a place for non-voting dissent in a democracy, and I’m guessing it’s because you have no argument. ”

    I don’t think you’re reading what either of us have been writing, actually. For my part, I agree that non-voting dissent has a place, just that in the United States it’s the place right next to the people who are apathetic or too ignorant to know that it’s actually election day. I don’t value it as a form of protest; it has value in other places and in other situations, but here it just comes across as an obnoxious form of laziness.

    You are of course perfectly entitled to disagree, but that’s a different thing from saying that there’s been no argument. There’s been an argument offered for voting, but you don’t appear to want to address the particulars of it because you’re on your particular hobby horse; either that or you are somehow not able to understand that neither of us have suggested you have to vote for the least disgusting choice on the ballot, and that there are other options for you as a voter, if you choose to use them.

  91. “just that in the United States it’s the place right next to the people who are apathetic or too ignorant to know that it’s actually election day.”

    Thanks — you’ve actually gone beyond the conclusion I was drawing, to essentially state that your argument is founded in condescension.

    Would you have voted for Sestak or Toomey? I felt neither would represent the Commonwealth well. Should I just flip a coin? Should I write in Donald Duck? Should I write in my own name? Aristotle? Buddha? That serves what end, exactly?

    I don’t believe that either of these fellows — or their parties — has claims to my assent. What exactly is the other option you are providing me?

  92. uhreally:

    “Thanks — you’ve actually gone beyond the conclusion I was drawing, to essentially state that your argument is founded in condescension.”

    Well, to the extent that I’m understanding that the way you defend your ego from people who tell you that your choice not to vote is essentially valueless in our society is to decide you’re being condescended to, fine. On my end, as I said, I see it less as condescension and more as pity, to the extent that you don’t seem or want to understand there is more to voting than your formula of it.

    On the other hand, I don’t know that it’s worth my time to try to convince you otherwise, as you’re invested in not voting as a noble form of dissent, so, you know, fine. Don’t vote. Here’s your pat on the head for sticking it to the man.

    (And there finally is some actual condescension for you, since you seem to be looking for it.)

  93. uhreally @100: you attempt to reach a conclusion (nonvoting can be principled dissent) by presenting a fallacious argument (only two choices are offered in the ballot, and therefore your dilemma is voting for someone you despite or not voting at all). When it’s pointed out, over and over, that your argument is wrong, all you really do is repeat your conclusion a bit louder.

    I’m sure there are sound, thoughtful arguments to be made as to why not voting may be principled dissent; you’re just not making them, because “I have to pick an R or D I hate” is incorrect.

  94. At the very least, use a blank ballot instead.

    The point of protesting is to get your voice heard. But if all you’re doing is refusing to vote, what really makes your “statement” different from those of people who don’t vote because they didn’t register in time, or because they were too lazy, or because they forgot?

  95. I’m not in favour of compulsory voting mainly because of the main reason cited above: If you don’t find it important enough to do in the first place without being told to, then stay on the couch with your Cheetos and America’s Top Dance Idol Apprentice on the Moron Box.

    You should, however, be forced to show up at the polling station and declare this. “They’re all the same, anyway” is just verbal camouflage for “I’m a lazy prick” unless you’re willing to prove otherwise.

  96. Also, it’s worth noting that if you don’t vote, the people in power don’t really CARE about your voice anyway. It doesn’t effect their status, so why should they?

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