(Third) Party Like a Rockstar

By Lindol French, SacMidtown.com

“There are no parameters for your first piece. Keep it clean, and that’s it.” Jimmy Spencer, Editor in Chief, SacMidtown.com

Alrighty then.

There are many topics of discussion I had been considering for this piece, among them, the best places in Midtown to get drunk during the day, who has the best cheeseburger and where I like to ride my bike.

Upon receiving Carte Blanche, however, I chose to go a different route altogether. Worry not, we’ll get to these aforementioned scintillating topics, and many more. Just not today.

Nope, today I am gonna wax political. Let’s just see if I can’t alienate a few of you right off the bat. *brings out soap box. Stands on it.*

Last week, I received, in my mailbox, a Sample Ballot and Voter Information Pamphlet for the upcoming November second election.

It’s arrival spurred in me, as it always does, a sense of civic duty bordering on activism. I seriously love to vote. I get a rush from it. I leave the polling place beaming, proudly wearing my “He Votado Hoy” sticker for all to see.

Since I came of age, I’ve never missed voting in an election. I even vote in those weird ones in June that get a 14% turnout where the only thing at stake is whether or not you can house chickens in your backyard and one school superintendent position.

I find it terribly consternating that we, as a nation, have trouble maintaining even a 50% voter turnout. Many people have died fighting for the right to vote. Many people have died fighting for our right to vote. It’s the least we can do. If nothing else, voting affords you the right to bemoan the current state of matters. If you don’t vote, you can’t whine. At least not with any credibility.

I happen to be a registered Libertarian. I have voted Libertarian in every presidential election since 1996, and in pretty much every other instance where it was applicable.

As far as Im concerned, P.J. O’Rourke puts it best: “There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences.”

You may feel differently, and that’s fine. I am not here to convert you to Libertarianism. I am here to challenge a misconception, however. One that, as a Libertarian, I hear a lot: “If you vote for (any third party candidate), you’re just throwing your vote away.”

I would argue that you’re throwing your vote away if you don’t vote for a third party.

Around 40 percent of voting Americans are going to vote Republican, come Hell or high water. Another 40 percent of voting Americans are going to vote Democrat, until, and after, the cows come home.

This leaves an undecided 20 percent, who really decide the outcome of any given election. Most times, it is a race to the center to see which candidate can swoop up the most of these undecided few. The lines between the parties become even more blurred. (Obama, for myriad reasons, was the exception that proved the rule. Of course, now that he’s struggling, the Dems who are up for re-election are tripping over themselves to prove how moderate (or even conservative) they are.

The fact of the matter is, as things stand, the two major parties have very little motivation to do what is actually best for the country. The two of them know they’re the only game in town. All the Dems have to do is convince you that they aren’t as bad as the Republicans. And vice versa.

Even if one party loses, its no big deal. They just sit back, watch the other one screw things up, and wait for us to come crawling back to them the next election cycle.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

There was a time when our leaders were the best and brightest men and women that this country had to offer. People were elected, at least in large part, because they were the most qualified and had a sense of civic duty, and once in office they remembered what they were there to do: serve their country.  Often they left successful careers in the private sector to serve (briefly), and then returned from whence they came.

That time is long past. Today, there are generally two types of people who make it to higher office today:

The consummate politicians (whores): Their entire lives are political campaigns. On the off chance that they had any morals or convictions when they started out, they have long since been compromised. In sweaty, breathless, groping back room deals. Leave the money on the counter.

The rich, famous and power hungry (also, whores): They have achieved fame and fortune through any number of means, and they capitalize on both to gain public office. These come in two classes, business and entertainment. Most of business class have the added advantage of being unscrupulous to the point of maleficence. Most of the entertainment classes have the advantage of being self-centered dimwits.

It just so happens that our Gubernatorial race features a prime example of each type.

I can honestly say that I would rather take my chances with two street people picked at random. At least the hobo debates would be more interesting than the ones we’ve gotten. Instead of figurative poo slinging, there would be the possibility of literal poo slinging. So there’s that.

Ordinarily, I would say that having two candidates as putrid as Brown and Whitman would be a bad thing. But I see it as an opportunity.

This is our “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take it anymore” moment. We can do better. We have to do better. In order to do so, we need to let both parties know that we are sick and tired of voting for the lesser of two evils.

The 2008 presidential election showed that we’re ready for change, but that change will never come from the inside.

So. this Nov. 2nd, vote for Dale Ogden, Libertarian Party, or Carlos Alvarez, Peace and Freedom Party. Or Chelsea Nightingale, American Independent Party, or Laura Wells, Green Party.

You want to make your vote count, don’t you?

About Lindol

Born and raised in the Bay Area, Educated in Upstate New York, Western Oregon, North West Washington D.C. and the Sonoran Desert. Basking in the afterglow of a 138 day, 22,000 mile road trip across the U.S.A. I suddenly and unexpectedly find myself a Sacramentarean. . . . lindol@gmail.com, lindol22 on twitter.

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Posted by on Oct 20 2010. Filed under Humor, Politics, SMT Talk. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

3 Comments for “(Third) Party Like a Rockstar”

  1. Chris Fryer

    Beautifully said. I’m pumped about voting this year.

  2. J.S. Maguire

    Woo hoo to the third parties!!

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