Want to clarify something. At one point I was a rabid nonvoter…probably even an anti-voter. I’ve softened on that. This year, I’m going to the ballots. I’m voting to strike down two asinine amendments: one that will attempt to define marriage and one that will make it harder for some folks to vote. I’ll probably even vote for an obscure candidate for president (either Stein or Barr).
So, I’m not a vehement anti-voter; rather my big issue is with folks who buy into our societal myths about political power and change. If we want change, we should be exploring all sorts of tactics, voting being the least direct, most costly, and most exploitative.
Voting is a small thing we can do. I think it can be a sometimes helpful tactic. But it is so abstract and broad and limited. We vote for who “they” let us vote for…at least at the higher offices. And I have no faith at all that our system can bring about justice anymore.
But I vote to restrain injustice. That is, as I see it, the only justification I can find for voting at all, given the state of imperial affairs. I can give a few hours on a Tuesday to that. But I must give my life to sowing seeds of justice and peace.
That is the vote that I have to cast every day. And, to be a bit grumpy and cynical about it, it really pisses me off that I’ve seen more tweets and statuses and blog posts about this damned choice between Obama and Romney in the past few months than I’ve seen about justice-doing and peace-making or anything good and noble in the past year.
If you care for the least of these, vote. But if you go through the rest of your life only donating a dollar here and there to help the poor, then you don’t care about change.
If you care for the homeless, vote. But if you have never entertained the idea of giving folks a place to sleep…or explored options with your church or friends beyond simply pointing people to a shelter (which is not a home, nor is it usually safe), then ask yourself if you really care about homelessness.
If you care for the migrant, vote. But if you buy your clothes or food from places that exploit their labor, then what do you hope will happen?
In the end, our politics is determined by what we do more than who we vote for.