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Bill Roper's Journal
Do You Believe In Magic? 
5th-Nov-2012 09:22 am
Democracy, on the large scale, operates by magic. It has to.

Politicians will tell you that your vote matters, even though it is very, very seldom that one vote makes a difference. In fact, those same politicians do their level best to make sure that your vote doesn't matter, by carefully drawing the lines of the various districts that you vote in to create the maximum number of "safe" seats -- a euphemism that is easily translated to "Your vote doesn't matter". This is true of both Democrats and Republicans -- it's an equal-opportunity crime against democracy. I've been drawn into a safe lakefront Congressional district, although I live far from the lake. I could, without too much trouble, walk to two or three districts that are much more competitive than the one that I've been stuck in. Such is life.

Despite this, I intend to go vote tomorrow knowing that my vote is almost certainly going to make no difference whatsoever.

Voting is an exercise in sympathetic magic. If I stay home tomorrow, then magically some other voter whose preferences resonate with mine will also stay home. And that will cause some other similar voter to stay home. Pretty soon, the vast majority of the people who might vote for some of the same candidates that I sympathize with are all staying home. And the people who have been trying to make sure that my vote doesn't matter get what they wanted.

It works the other way too. If I get off my duff and go vote, then some other similar voter is going to get up out of his (or her) chair and go vote. And that will cause someone else to go vote. If enough of us vote, the people who want to make sure that my vote doesn't count get a big surprise.

And sometimes they do.

So I will vote tomorrow.

Because I believe in magic.
5th-Nov-2012 03:53 pm (UTC)
I typically try to make it sound more scientific by saying that statically speaking there are other voters out there whose voting behavior is similar to mine, so if I go out and vote then they will too. Also some of these statistically similar voters may live in battleground states, so my voting here can make a difference for my candidate there (As it happens I am in a battleground state this year, but even if I wasn't I would vote).

So yeah magic.
5th-Nov-2012 04:42 pm (UTC)
Being in a competitive district has its hazards as well.

The California 50th District for the US House of Representatives is competitive, this election VERY competitive.

As a result of the California "open" primary, there are only two candidates on the ballot, one from each major party. Significant money has been spent by both candidates and a number of PACs or SuperPACs, including both parties' House PACs on this race.

As a result of the negative ads - by and far the majority of the ads on TV and in the mail - I've been convinced neither deserves my vote. As I had no other alternative, I left that section of my ballot blank

Edited at 2012-11-05 08:03 pm (UTC)
5th-Nov-2012 05:31 pm (UTC)
It's not even magic.

People do what they see other people doing. If everyone is sandbagging the sea wall, they are likely to join in. If everyone is looting instead--hey, must be looting day; get a sack!

Voting is like that. When you do it, you contribute to a world in which this is what everyone does; only a loser wouldn't vote.

So by all means vote. It's not magic, it's headology (as Granny Weatherwax would say.)
5th-Nov-2012 09:47 pm (UTC)
and once your girls are old enough to remember, I hope you take them to the polls with you! democracy by example is a good thing
5th-Nov-2012 11:33 pm (UTC)
I'm just glad I don't live in Ohio. If I am getting this number of annoying political calls in Mi, I cannot imagine what the poor swing state voters in Ohio are getting!
6th-Nov-2012 01:22 am (UTC)
I don't care who someone votes for, as long as they participate in the process and vote. The way I look at it, if you don't vote, you don't get to complain. Since I LOVE to complain (especially about the government), I ALWAYS vote.
6th-Nov-2012 10:37 am (UTC)
Amen to this! I will be voting in a few hours! :)
6th-Nov-2012 02:38 pm (UTC)
We will be watching the results here in Canada and hope there s a good turn out at the polls! The majority of Canadians are pulling for Obama.
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