Go Vote Yourself!

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The
next election is still a ways off, but already I’m giving due consideration
to which lever I will pull.

I’m
not talking about the lever in the voting booth, mind you. No, I
mean the one on a slot machine. You see, next election day I’ve
decided to drive over to Biloxi, Mississippi and have a crack at
the one-armed bandits. On the whole, I’ve determined this is a better
way to spend my time. The decision I’m facing is: nickel, quarter,
or dollar?

If
you’re like me and don’t mind your similes loosely applied, then
you’ll appreciate it when I say: pulling
the lever on a slot machine is much like doing it in the voting
booth
. First of all, the outcome is rarely going to match your
expectations. Second, the slot machine produces no wealth on its
own; it merely redistributes what others have put into it. Third,
it doles out just enough to keep you coming back and keeps the rest.

Some
time ago, I was convinced by an
argument of Wendy McElroy’s
that voting is largely for the birds,
or would be if birds were trained to punch out chads. Others
have persuasively argued
that if you choose to vote at all,
you should vote for candidates of the Libertarian
Party
. The problem is that simply being on the LP ticket is
not a guarantee of a good candidate. In fact, if you’ve ever attended
a large LP gathering, you’ll find the “big umbrella” concept has
been extended to cover perennial bathers, Belleview outpatients,
and those who think the Illuminati Overlords send messages through
the TV. I frequently meet people who are members of all three groups.
And by the way, they want to be your next senator.

Since
not everyone has a decent LP candidate to vote for, where does that
leave the rest? I’m talking about people who just can’t suppress
the urge to vote. For them, I’ve come up with a solution: The “Go
Vote Yourself!” movement.

I
conceived this idea after a discussion with a libertarian friend.
He thinks it would be a swell idea if the voting laws were amended
to allow people to vote for “none of the above.” If this option
won the majority of votes, his reasoning goes, then all the candidates
would be rejected. We’d then start the election process all over
until we got some decent candidates. In a perfect electoral utopia,
this might go on indefinitely and we’d never get anyone elected.
On the other hand, the mass adverse reaction to an unending stream
of political ads might flood the ER’s with thrombosis patients.

I
went home and did some careful calculations. I determined that the
chance of election laws being changed to include “none of the above,”
were slightly worse than the chance of Noam Chomsky performing oral
recitations of his work on a USO tour. But days later, the idea
hit me. There is nothing currently stopping us from writing in whatever
candidate we want, right? And what better candidate could you find
that reflects your policy views than yourself? Why not write yourself
in?

In
the past, election night commentators would mirthfully report that
a few write-in votes were cast for Mickey Mouse, Pat
Paulsen
, or somebody’s pet hamster. How would they react if
ten thousand candidates all got one vote? As it stands, all those
who conscientiously abstain from voting get lumped in with those
who don’t vote out of apathy. This is easy to do because an astonishingly
small number of non-voters participate in exit polls. But if you
Go Vote Yourself, your vote gets counted, yet serves to advance
absolutely no candidate. To stretch my already highly elastic metaphor,
it would be like everyone putting metal slugs in the slot machines
all at once. It would gum up the whole works.

I’ve
discussed this idea with quite a few people and their reaction is
much the same: they start looking around for a paper sack to see
if I’ve been huffing model airplane glue. But I am undeterred. I
envision the Go Vote Yourself! movement as a grassroots effort with
fundraisers, newsletters, and a website. But like all great men
of ideas, I will leave these nuts and bolts details to others. It
is enough for me to know that I put a giant metaphorical slug into
the electoral slot machine.

Plus,
I’m too busy watching TV. The Illuminati, I’m told by informed sources,
will be sending an important message any day now and I want to be
sure to catch it.

July
25, 2005

J.E.
Crosby [send him mail] writes
from Mobile, Alabama where he works as a television director. His
opinions are his own and do not reflect those of his employers,
who are grateful not to be mentioned by name.

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