I already know that this post is going to get a lot of negative comments like the religion one. And that's because this "every vote counts" dogma that everyone loves so much shares a lot with religion. It's a belief that's held true without a single bit of compelling evidence, and it's a strong belief.
But before I get into that, let's talk about some other things.
First, Obama won and I'm happy about that. I don't think that he's a superhero like a lot of people do. When I look at his positions I disagree with most of them. I disagree with most of McCain's positions as well.
But there are three reasons I was hoping Obama would win.
1. I try to stay clear of conspiracy theories, but I definitely fell into the camp that believed that votes were being hacked. This outcome means that I'm either wrong or that the hacking isn't as serious as some people think. I'm glad to know that the political process isn't as corrupt as I thought it was.
2. Obama is smart. When he's faced with a problem he consults with experts and makes a well thought out decision. I don't trust McCain to do the same, especially considering how much he's sold out to get his nomination (I liked him a lot in 2000).
3. The world at large loves Obama. I travel a lot and I think that Obama will do TONS to restore our image in the world.
I have to admit that I was a little surprised that he won. Logically I knew that it was the only reasonable outcome, but I had that niggling fear that the election would be rigged.
The other day I saw a sign that said "vote straight democratic". To me this is high idiocy.
I'm equally offended to be called a Republican or a Democrat. Know what I am? Someone who thinks for himself and makes up his own mind. People who follow their party blindly are idiots.
It would be a CRAZY coincidence if someone researched issues and agreed 100% with everything the democrats stand for. When someone says that they do, I assume that they are a sheep.
This blind faith to parties really troubles me. Even at the election party I was at, which was all democrats, they were like Pavlov dogs, booing any time a republican was on the screen and cheering whenever a democrat was there.
McCain gave his concession speech. He's not a great speaker, but I thought that his speech was pretty sincere and gracious. People at the party were booing him. And even at his own rally people were booing what he was saying because he was being so gracious to Obama.
Ridiculous and immature.
Anyway, Obama's here and hopefully some good will come of that.
Okay, now on to why I didn't vote.
First, the idea that "your vote counts'" is total garbage. It doesn't. I tried to find examples of really close elections, but couldn't find any presidential elections where a state was won by less than 6000 votes. I did find one school board vote where the winner won 1202 to 1201, so for small local offices, my ideas don't hold true necessarily.
"But Tynan, what if everyone thought like you and didn't vote?"
Well, that has nothing to do with the situation. If I don't vote I don't impact ANYONE else. Most of my closest friends voted, and if I can't affect them, who can I affect?
I'm not NEARLY arrogant enough to think that my influence extends far enough to affect anything in the election. You're going to vote or not whether I want you to or not. But still, I admit that it's conceivable that I have more influence than the average voter, so I didn't write this until after the election.
If I DID think that I could influence the vote, by the way, I would be voting early, having a camera following me, and making sure everyone knew.
Masses of people voting matter. One vote doesn't.
I trust the numbers. Look at fivethirtyeight.com. As of this writing they predicted EVERY single state correctly. If I call in and say, "Hey... just want to let you know that I'm voting for Obama," is that going to change their predictions? Nope.
Texas, where I'm registered to vote, has McCain up by 10%. There is NO way that my vote is going to affect that. Even if EVERY SINGLE Texan I knew and every single Texan who read my blog magically decided to vote like me, that still wouldn't register in the polls.
Not to mention that Texas doesn't even matter to Obama. Not a single pollster thought that Texas mattered in the race.
If I was in a serious battleground state in a close race I might consider voting. If I had a huge audience I would consider voting. If I could log in and vote instantly online, I'd vote.
As things stand now it is an unqualified waste of time.
Voting is the illusion that you're doing something without actually having to do anything at all. This isn't apathy, this is realism. When Ron Paul was in the running way back then I spent hours working on a project, talking to political consultants and video producers. It didn't amount to anything, but there was the potential. One vote has no potential.
I know that there are local issues too, and that realistically they can have just as big an effect on local citizens as the national election. Going to vote for those sorts of things could be worthwhile in some cases, but again, the odds of one vote mattering on an issue I actually care strongly about and am educated on are next to none.
Obama won, even without my vote. Proof that at least in this instance, my vote didn't matter and yours didn't either.
EDIT: Check out my friend Dova's post about this. He beat me by a day on it and addressed some good points I left out. Read it here.
Bought your e book, should be called a e guide or pamphlet, far too short to be called a book. Learnt nothing new, everythink was obvious, bought it on the back of the Game, which was a book. Can I have the refund you promise ??
Wow i can't believe how people are so opinionated and when someone goes against the ordinary they get offense? everyone here has taken his option on what he did and blown it out of proportion.
Tynan, I get your point. I've lived in Alabama and Georgia, and if I had wanted to vote anything but republican, I'd say the same thing. It simply won't affect the election results. Those states will never come down to a margin of a few hundred votes. I'd imagine what you're trying to say is that when you know the margin is close, you'll vote. Until it gets close, it's not worth your time; you can make a bigger difference through other avenues.
I can respect that. However, I will reiterate that this is the exact situation we should vote third-party candidates in. I wish Ron Paul would have been put up by the Lib party; he would have had a good shot at the 5%. Basically, if we can get one of these candidates to 5% of the popular vote, they become eligible for critically important federal funding. The additional exposure might get them to 10% the next election, and then 20%, and then we finally have a viable 3-party system. Such a system would be incredibly beneficial to our country instead of choosing between the lesser of two losers. So, we need 5%. Your vote would have not made a huge difference, but it's about slowly gaining and getting to that critical 5%.
Quite simply tynan, if you didn't vote, you've got no say in what happens to your country. You have absolutely no right to complain.
Where were you in the year 2000? the florida count was down to a mere 49 votes in favor of George Bush, the slimest in American history, followed by the kennedy/nixon election in 1960 where illinois came down to antoher slim majority for kennedy. Sure even one vote cant change it there, but its not about any one person and their own view its the conscious decision to do it over a vast populace. By collectively thinking that they themselves do not make a difference, those many people have collectively made a big difference.
Saying "Obama is going to win by a landslide anyway so I shouldn't vote" is pretty... dumb logic. No offense dude. If every Obama voter thought that (which a lot did, especially here in NJ), then he lost thousands of votes in the end.
Those final numbers are all votes and wouldn't exist if it weren't made up of hundreds of thousands of single 'I don't matter' votes.
You stitch together 100, 1000, 10000, 100000 of those 'what I say doesn't matter' votes..... Well then. What do you know. You matter.
The whole couldn't exist without the individual.
The sad part? Millions upon millions of people think like you. Literally millions. Enough people that if all of you people who sat and wasted their time complaining about how they 'don't matter' and won't vote got up and voted for Donald Duck... well. We'd have the first duck president in history.
Tynan wrote "Even at the election party I was at, which was all democrats, they were like Pavlov dogs, booing any time a republican was on the screen and cheering whenever a democrat was there."
I was at the same party, and that just isn't true. Nobody booed McCain. It didn't happen.
I briefly booed Giuliani because I am angry at the way he tried to exploit the tragedy of 9/11 for his own political gain. And if a Democrat had tried to exploit 9/11 for the same purposes, I would have booed that person too. In other words, I wasn't booing Giuliani because he happens to be a Republican.
Everyone listened respectfully to McCain's speech. You shouldn't misrepresent what happened at the party.
Time it takes me to cast my ballot: 20 mins
Time it took Tynan to research and write this article 3-4 hours aprox.
Its Remembrance Sunday here in Britain. Everyone wear poppys on the lapels and theres a two minute silence at 11:00 to remember the British soldiers that have died over the last hundred years. I stayed quiet at 11:00 and thought about some of the horrifying circumstances that people must have been in the the two world wars. I also thought about the bravery and heroism of some of our soldiers. I don't know any veterans and I'm not personally going to thank any. I don't think my act will make the slightest bit of difference to their lives. But thats not the point. Its a personal act of thanksgiving. It makes me feel good to take part in something greater than myself. It makes me feel good to show appreciation for people who were doing something for me.
Tynan, everyone knows that one vote doesn't make a difference. You're not gonna win a prize for pointing that out I'm afraid. I don't have a problem with you not voting I'm just saying why I vote. I'm a part of my country and its government and politics affect me. I take an interest in it and discuss it and want the best for myself and the people around me. I'm not a proffessional politician though, I have my own ways of contributing value to society. I don't want to knock on doors or fundraise. But once every four years I go down to the ballot box and contribute in my simple way.
Email me and let me know when you're coming to London next year and I may be able to put you up, plus can probably plan some crazy adventure or other. Do you have dogging in the US?
Think how much worse the market crash of 2008 would have been if loopy libertarians like Tynan has their way. The state has now had to come to the rescue because deregulated markets just don't work.
Ron Paul is a racist, sexist, old fool. You are a racist, sexist, young fool. Some things don't change in this country, others like the country turning the corner with Obama do.
I feel sorry for you, you try so hard to feel like you have community but you have none. Really you ought to check your ego, you've got some good ideas but please stay out of politics, in this field you have no clue!
I like to bet. For those of you who have read the story about how I was a professional gambler, this is obvious. What I don't like to do is exercise. At one point in my life, these two activities joined to provide an interesting story.
I have a friend named Hayden. He likes to bet me. For a while we had a running string of bets, and I was down overall because I failed to get 10x his score in a Tony Hawk competition. At one point I was one of the top 10 Tony Hawk players in the world. That lasted for about 5 minutes until someone from Japan beat my score.
Hayden and I sat across from my kitchen table.
Ugh. I just sneezed five times. I'm not a quiet, gentle sneezer either. It's loud, thunderous, and almost obnoxious. It runs in the genes. We are a family of loud sneezers. So, I watched most of the first big presidential debate between Senator Obama and Senator McCain on Friday. To me, Obama came out punching and was aggressive from the start. McCain just sort of eased into it and progressively punched back more and more as the night wore on. There seemed to be valid points made on both sides, and they both are quite formidable. Honestly, I seem to be leaning more towards Obama right now only because I happen to agree with where he stands on most of the major issues--the environment, energy, immigration, abortion, same-sex marriage, and education. I guess I'm really looking for a change in direction and a new perspective. I have nothing personal against President Bush, but we've had 8 years of a leader who just doesn't really seem to know what he's doing. He seems like he might be fun to shoot pool with, have a laugh, and enjoy a beer with, but as the leader of the free world, not so much. McCain strikes me as very quirky, articulate, and smart, but I'm not convinced that he will present enough of a departure from Bush ideology and policy-making. I'm also not confident in his running mate Sarah Palin's abilities to help run this country and deal with the world at large. I'm all for a woman being president some day, but the right woman, just as we need the right man, is always ideal. I'm not sure at all that she fits the bill. In less than 40 days, we will have determined the course of our history over at least the next four years. These are precarious times. Gas prices are at an all-time high. Our economy is on the verge of a MAJOR crisis. We are still embroiled in an unfortunate war with Iraq. The list of troubling concerns is seemingly endless. Our next US President will inherit all of this. We will need someone with the courage and the wherewithal to take all of this on. The role of a President is a daunting and difficult one because invariably you're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't. You can be celebrated in one corner and flogged as the nation's whipping boy in another. The nation's chosen leader is also the occasional scapegoat. He will be glorified, demonized, smiled upon, and addressed with sheer disdain. There are people out there who have rough jobs (port-a-jon cleaners, proctologists, sewege maintenance workers, Disney Mascots, etc.), but imagine never really knowing if you're doing a good job and being under the scrutinity of an entire country of millions of people. It takes a special kind of person to handle all of this. In any case, I have been more intrigued by this year's Presidential race than I ever have before. Perhaps it's because there's so much at stake. Well, whatever the outcome, I hope he is chosen fairly and wisely by this discerning country of ours. I've stopped sneezing. Thank Goodness. Have a flower . . . Have a wonderful week!! -g