A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library. ~Shelby Foote

Friday, September 15, 2006

A Small Act of Defiance

It meant nothing, in the grand scheme of things, but it felt good and if enough other folks join me in doing it, perhaps it will begin to be noticed. What was it?

I voted Tuesday in Wisconsin's primary election, and I wrote-in a candidate for every single slot. I wrote myself in for Governor (I'd make a good governor), my wife in for attorney general, and various of my friends and neighbors in for the other slots. I didn't write in Ronald McDonald or anything like that-- I picked real people.

Surprisingly, I did not win the primary and none of the folks I wrote-in did either, but for the first time in quite a while I left the voting station content that I had voted for people that I actually thought would do a good job if elected. Wasted votes? In a way, sure. But I have to tell you it felt great not to compromise while voting-- no picking the lesser of two evils for me. No voting straight party line tickets knowing that while I generally prefer one party over the other they each endorse things I find very distasteful and even immoral.

My sister once said that it would be nice if ballots came with a D) None of the above selection. In a way, they do-- it's all those blank lines with (write-in candidate) underneath it. Write somebody real on those lines, and you've just voted "none of the above."

And what if a LOT of people did that? What if 5% of the votes cast were for write-in candidates? In a presidential election, that would be around 6 million votes. Can you imagine the havoc that would cause? That would totally RAWK.

I think this is the answer to the dilemma I keep bumping into when I talk to people about the need for a viable third candidate. Inevitably we get to the question of who should we vote for. Nearly everyone is comfortable with NOT voting for the major party candidates because, quite frankly, they're a bunch of schmoes. But finding someone else that folks can agree on-- that's much, much harder. Maybe impossible.

So, fogettaboutit. Fill in whomever the heck you want. Just make it real people, and in the case of a presidential election, someone who actually qualifies (Ahhrrnold, for example, should not be written in for Prez, as he can't lawfully hold the position). Talk amongst your friends and associates and agree on a candidate you'll all vote for, or just go with the man or woman you wish had won in the primaries. Go with yourself, if you wish.

Personally, I shall be writing in Thomas Freidman and Tom Coburn in the fall of '08. Two Toms for the price of one!

Try it in your next election-- it really is very liberating.


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