You Say You Won’t Vote In November???

You’ve all heard it many times before.  I’ve posted it here on Filosofa’s Word a number of times in various contexts.  But today, I am asking you to read it and think about it from the perspective of those who, given the political chaos and unrest at present, still shrug their shoulders, say that “these things always work out, so I’m not gonna worry about it”, or those who don’t like either candidate in an election so they either just don’t vote, or throw away their vote on some third party or write-in candidate.

First they came for the Communists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me

And there was no one left

To speak out for me

– Martin Niemöller, January 6, 1946

Think of it in today’s terms …

First they came for the Blacks

And I did not speak out

Because I was not Black

Then they came for LGBTQ people

And I did not speak out

Because I was not an LGBTQ person

Then they came for teachers

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a teacher

Then they came for voters

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a voter

And then they came for me

And there was no one left

To speak out for me

Sadly, I have many friends, former friends, and even former family members who are among those who shrug their shoulders, tell me to “chill, Jill”, and go on with the business of posting pictures of their meals, going on vacations, and whatever else floats their boat.  They claim they only seek ‘happiness’.  They cannot see what is before them, cannot see that we are on the cusp of any number of events that can and likely will change the very face of this nation.  In our lifetime we have survived Watergate, Vietnam, 9/11, and now the pandemic, they tell me.  Yes, but this is different.  I can feel it in the air, feel it in my bones … this time, some of us, perhaps most of us, won’t get off so easily.  Even those who side with the right-wing state of evil and corruption will not find that bed of roses at the end of the day.

Maybe there’s still time to change the way this nation is headed, but we need people to wake up, need them to THINK!  Those who don their blinders and stuff cotton in their ears, then walk around singing, “La la la ♫ la la ♫ … I can’t hear you” are the problem.  Those who say they won’t vote, or who will throw their vote away … they are the problem.  Those who don’t even bother to read a newspaper, because they are too busy shopping online for a new collar for the dog, are the problem.  And those who believe what they are told by the likes of Fox ‘News’ and other right-wing media … they are responsible for what comes next.

No, I don’t expect brownshirts to come knocking on our doors in the middle of the night, but listen … hear that?  Those who seem to have tired of democracy, of a government “of, by, and for the people,” are already taking over schools, threatening teachers who actually teach our children.  They are already taking away our voting rights.  And they are already trying to convince the Supreme Court to diminish women’s rights by reversing Roe v Wade and LGBTQ rights by reversing Obergefell v Hodges.  What’s next?  Take away integrated schools, return to the doctrine of “separate but equal” which was never even close to ‘equal’?

This year, it is more important than ever that we not only vote, but help ensure that our friends and neighbors are able to register and to either obtain a mail-in ballot or else get to the right poll at the right time on election day.  It is, perhaps, the single most important thing we can do this year.  If you have the resources and the ability, I would encourage you to follow TokyoSand at Political Charge, for she always has good ideas about ways to help get voters to the polls.

30 thoughts on “You Say You Won’t Vote In November???

  1. One heck of a good rallying cry Jill and kudos for adapting Niemöller to today’s situation.
    If folk don’t vote (as opposed to can’t vote) then they lose the right to complain. If it does ‘work out alright’ it was because other folk got out and did something about it.
    Not Voting (as opposed to not being able to vote) in the USA is a very poor choice, to say the least.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well … as it happened, I had a bit of help coming up with that one 😉 But the more I thought about it, the more I saw the connection and the idea just cried out to be written.

      You hit the nail on the head with your last sentence. We are spoiled, we see voting as a right and not a privilege. And it SHOULD be a right, but not one that is every taken for granted. And if we want to maintain that right, then I think we also need to view it as a responsibility rather than an option. Seeing today how many states are restricting voting rights puts knots in my stomach. I check mine and the girls’ registration status every month, fearful that we could just be removed at random from the voter rolls as so many others have been. If we don’t use the right, we may very well lose it for the duration of our lifetime.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jill, when you have a group that changes laws to prevent opponents from voting, one is truly making them smile when they say they won’t vote. Donald Trump won in 2016 primarily because he convinced a lot of folks to stay home or vote for Jill Stein. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • Exactly, Keith. And it’s pretty much been established that the greater voter turnout is, the more likely that Democrats will win, so the Republican Party and it’s large donors have a vested interest in suppressing the vote to as large a degree as possible. Personally, I would love to see every state opt for all-postal voting which would level the playing field quite a bit.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jill Stein was my last Independent vote. You can probably guess why. 😔 Then for the first time in my (then) 37+ voting-privileged years, as an Independent I did what I thought I would NEVER have to do in this country: I was FORCED to vote strictly one party-line in order to best help REMOVE the incumbent President and as many of his GOP minions as possible. Deep down, on principles only, I felt horrible doing what way too many American voters do: Party line only, no matter their candidate. 🤢 And I HAD to do it.

      Now this upcoming November I am probably going to have to do it again. Geezzz, will this B.S. ever stop? 😟 But I cannot, in any good conscience, share in putting the WORST candidate or incumbent into an office who has no government experience whatsoever, or is the epitome of indecent uncivilized behavior with no heart, or is corrupt in his/her past business endeavors, etc, etc, et al, let alone does NOT actually serve & protect Americans—e.g. from COVID-19 as quickly as possible in Dec. 2019–Feb. 2020—as vowed & swore to do, and does not do it! Then to top off THAT long shameful list, he spends the last remaining weeks in office… ON THE EFFIN golf course, then has the audacity to not show up at Biden’s inauguration! That people, is NOT an American deserving of the White House!

      Oh! And need I mention what happened January 6th, 2021? 😡

      We need to greatly modify or overhaul our U.S. Constitution, FAST! Otherwise, what started in 2010 with Citizens United vs. FEC, and the tons of money and bought-off government officials, will only get worse as more and more millions/billions run our federal & state governments. Period!

      Liked by 2 people

      • George Orwell wrote in his 1942 essay “Pacifism and the War”, “If you hamper the war effort of one side you automatically help that of the other. Nor is there any real way of remaining outside such a war as the present one. In practice, ‘he that is not with me is against me’. The idea that you can somehow remain aloof from and superior to the struggle, while living on food which British sailors have to risk their lives to bring you, is a bourgeois illusion bred of money and security.” Sadly, what we are dealing with today is something akin to a war, a war for the integrity and values of an entire nation.

        My take is this … while I offhandedly swear that I will never again vote for another Republican, the reality is that IF there was a race where the Republican actually did appear to be better qualified and have better values, I would vote for him/her in a heartbeat. I actually told my daughter the other night that I would probably vote for Mike DeWine for governor again, for though he is a Republican, he has shown himself to be a decent human being. Life shouldn’t boil down to political parties, but that’s where we are today. One night recently I awakened from a nightmare that it was decreed every person had to wear an armband identifying their party affiliation and those caught without one would be arrested. Remind you of another time in another country where certain people were forced to wear a gold star on their clothing? Political parties do serve a purpose, to bring together people of like-minded viewpoints, but today, the Republican Party’s only value is tied to wealth, not the best interest of the nation or its people.

        Sigh. The reality is that at the federal level, Republicans could not win without cheating. Hence, you have heavily gerrymandered districts and even worse, you have states passing restrictive voting laws, the restrictions hurting those who are most likely to vote Democrat. Congress could and should override them by passing the two voting rights laws they refused to pass last year, and the Supreme Court could override these laws, but neither is likely to happen, for partisan politics has overridden the conscience of far too many, even Supreme Court Justices.

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  3. I am saddened by the fact that you feel voting for a third party is a wasted vote. I have voted in every election in Aotearoa since 1972, and only once in all that time have I voted for either of the two major parties. From 1938 until 1996 (when MMP was introduced), the legislature consisted of only 2 parties until the late 1970s when one other party managed to gain a single representative even though it gained 25% of votes nationwide. Then in the late 1980s it lost that single seat even though its support nationwide was 30%. That was the impetus needed to start the movement towards a more proportional system of representation, which was finally achieved when it was put to a referendum in 1993.

    The point I’m trying to make is that without so many people “wasting” their vote there would never would have been the social pressure for electoral reform. Let’s face it, the two major parties didn’t really want any competition and were happy with the status quo. They’d water down policies to try to gain the widest possible support and minority interests were left by the wayside. We would never have had legislation decriminalising prostitution, permitting same sex marriages, allowing gender self ID, legislation honouring the rights guaranteed to Māori under the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi, or the banning of conversion therapy by way of just a few examples. These all required the voice of minorities in the legislature to ensure that the interests of minorities were actually taken into consideration. The saying “nothing about us without us” applies as much in the passing of legislation as it does in other aspects of life.

    The problem with a 2-party system (which inevitably happens with FPP voting) is that most people vote for the party they dislike the least or to ensure the party they dislike the most doesn’t win. Voting for a party that actually represents your values and policies you endorse take second place. With proportional representation I’m free to choose the party that best represents my values knowing they’ll have seats in the legislature in proportion to the percentage of votes gained nationally and knowing that as a condition of supporting a major party at least some of their policies will become government policy.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh no, Barry! I think voting for a third party would be a viable option IF a third party was able to play on a level field. Problem is, the FEC rules strictly limit where a 3rd party candidate can even be on the ballot, so as it is at present, no third-party candidate has a snowball’s chance of winning, which is why I say that to vote for one is to throw your vote away. One large part of the reason that third parties have such a hard time is also money. Since the fossil fuel industries, gun industry, and others basically pay millions of dollars to support one party or the other, and since the Supreme Court ruled on Citizens United that it was okay for corporations to give without disclosing which candidates they bought and paid for, the two major parties always have far more funds to spend than any third-party candidate would have. Name recognition is essential to win an election, and it’s very difficult to be heard over the constant din of the major parties. But if the rules were such that a third-party candidate could possibly win, if their name could be on the ballot in every state or district, I would certainly welcome at least two additional parties into the fray! I’d love to have more options, more dialogue, and force the two major parties to work for it!

      But, I do see your point that if we don’t support and show our support for third parties, we’ll never get the system changed. The problem I foresee is that the ones most willing to vote for a third-party candidate, even knowing he/she doesn’t stand a chance, are the liberals, the Democrats who would like to change the status quo. So, that dilutes the Democratic vote, while the Republicans are perfectly content with the status quo and thus would walk into office without even having to fight for it. Somehow, we need to get some laws changed first, it seems to me. But how? I wish I had the answer. We are so viciously divided at the moment that literally NOTHING can get a consensus.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Perhaps I phrased what saddens me incorrectly. I was referring to the fact that the “system” in the US does not lend itself to having to having viable alternative parties rather than you thinking that there should be only a binary choice.

        But big money talks and in the US there certainly is BIG money in politics. Perhaps that is where change should occur first. For example, in the 2020 NZ general elections, candidates could spend up to a maximum of $27,500 on advertising while political parties could spend up to $1,169,000 plus $27,500 for each electorate (voting district) they contested. Third party/special interest group advertising is also strictly limited. When it comes to party advertising, the big boys don’t always max out their advertising limits and some smaller parties do at times end up spending more than either of the two largest parties.

        Election advertising is deemed to be an advertisement in any medium that may reasonably be regarded as encouraging or persuading voters to:
        * vote, or not to vote, for an electorate candidate (whether or not the name of the candidate is stated)
        * vote, or not to vote, for a party (whether or not the name of the party is stated)
        * vote, or not to vote, for a type of candidate or party described by reference to views or positions that are, or are not, held or taken (whether or not the name of the candidate or party are stated).

        It does make for a more even playing field where the importance of conveying a candidate’s or party’s policies, by necessity, is more important the bagging the opposition. Obviously the spending limits would need to be considerably larger in the US. Here each electorate has a population of 65,000 people (+/- 5%), so assuming around 40,000 are of voting age, a candidate could spend up to $0.70 per voter. I wonder how candidates in the US would feel about spending no more than a dollar for each potential vote?

        Liked by 2 people

        • Ah … no worries … I wasn’t at all offended, but didn’t want you to think me close-minded to other options. I understand now where you were coming from, though, and I fully agree.

          Yes, the first thing that needs to change if we ever hope to cut down on corruption in our political system is money in politics. Currently, it’s a matter of “the one with the most money, wins”. I’ve long thought that putting caps on how much money could be spent by any candidate, how much television air time and other ads could be used, would level the playing field. As it is, for a candidate to stand a chance, he has to sell his future votes to one industry or another.

          I would also like to see a non-partisan commission established to fact-check every statement a candidate makes and publish the lies in something akin to a “Truth or Fiction” column available free to all every day! The lies are believed by those who aren’t well-educated or well-read, and we end up with something like Donald Trump who was voted in by those who didn’t know or didn’t care what they were voting for.

          Sigh. So much is wrong with our system, and the big, wealthy corporations wield enough power to keep Congress from agreeing to even the slightest change in rules. About the only thing we can do is make sure the truth, the facts, are out there for all to see, to educate voters.

          Liked by 1 person

          • A spending cap and an end to gerrymandering would help no end. We learnt many many decades ago that human nature being what it is, will lead politicians in power to draw electorate (voting district) boundaries in their own favour. Hence an independent Representation Commission determines the number of electorates and their boundaries following each 5-yearly census.

            Of the 7 member commision only 2 represent politicians – one representing all the parties in government and one representing all parties in opposition. The rest are a sitting or retired judge as chair, the Surveyor-General, the Government Statistician, the Chief Electoral Officer, and the chair of the Local Government Commission.

            Once they have completed a draft review, it is then open to public submissions before being finalised.

            On a final note, our politicians do not appoint senior civil servants. This is to ensure politics is kept as much as possible out of government. This role is undertaken by the Public Service Commission. Using an independent body, not only ensures no corruption/cronyism, by it’s open nature it can be seen to be free of corruption/cronyism. Something tells me the likes of Trump and perhaps the entire GOP wouldn’t like such a system 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

            • Your system is not perfect … none is, for they are all designed and implemented by humans … but it is a damn sight better than ours! I would love to see money taken completely out of the picture. Let the federal government fund ad time … a block of ad time … and each candidate gets the same number of minutes. First candidate caught in a lie in a public venue loses his airtime, loses his right to run for office. Sigh. But alas, I am not being realistic, am I? I have often proposed a ‘net worth cap’ of under $1 million for any candidate, and have also thought it would be a great idea for EVERY single candidate for office to spend one full month living in a homeless shelter with no access to their own resources, just so they could see how the ones on the opposite end of the spectrum live. And then, I was labelled a Socialist — not an entirely inappropriate label for me, I suppose. I have seen the results of uber-capitalism and it’s not pretty.

              Liked by 1 person

              • I agree our system is not perfect, and never will be for the very reason you stated.

                One thing I didn’t mention is election radio and television advertising. All parties receive funding for free air time on RNZ (a non-commercial state-funded radio network) and TVNZ (a commercial TV network partially funded by the state). This funding is for party airtime and not for candidates. Funding is based on the number of seats each party holds in the legislature, how many seats they are contesting, adjusted by party support as indicated in opinion polls in the months leading up to the commencement of the official campaign period. For the 2023 election onwards the funding will cover all forms of electronic communications, and I understand there will be some adjustments to how the funds are allocated to the parties.

                Most election spending by candidates and the parties goes into hiring halls and other venues, travel, accomodation. meals, billboards, and all the considerable costs associated running this form of campaign, with less being spent on other forms of promotion such as on privately owned radio and television and the internet.

                I’ve never felt comfortable with the way the radio/TV funding has been allocated, but unless the funding went to candidates instead of parties (which would cost considerably more given that there usually less than 20 parties contesting the election but perhaps 800 to 1000 individual candidates) I can’t think how the funds could be distributed more fairly.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Sounds like some in-depth calculations to determine who gets how much, but at least it is an attempt to level the playing field, to provide equitable media time to all parties. I especially like the spending caps in your country, where each candidate can only spend less than the equivalent of $1 per voter … that certainly differs from our system where the sky is the limit. At one time, there were at least some limitations on who could donate how much, but those rules have largely been thrown out the window by the Supreme Court and now it isn’t about platforms, isn’t about policy or integrity or qualifications … it’s just about money. Sigh.

                  Liked by 1 person

  4. If the people you’re talking to are watching Fox news, they’re going to vote & they’re going to vote for people you don’t want in office. They’re just saying they’re not going to vote because they happen to like you & they don’t want to upset you by saying they’re going to vote for GQP jerkoffs.

    I know this because I know dozens of people like this, many of them in my own family. They deny that they’re even “political” at all, but they are, they are on the wrong side.

    I always vote. But I don’t talk about it. I don’t talk about a whole lot of stuff anymore.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ha ha … I doubt any watchers of Fox ‘News’ read my blog! No, I’m talking to relatively sane people who don’t quite know how to make a difference, who shrug their shoulders and think that their vote doesn’t matter, so why bother.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Jill, I always vote. Hell, I even voted Republican back in the day when Republican meant something. Yeah, I know, that was a long time ago. “We love Ike” was the mantra. Of course, I couldn’t vote because I was only 6 years old, but I knew even then what I stood for. I watched the memorial celebration for Madeline Albright today and got convicted about just sitting on the sidelines. Don’t know what I am capable of doing, but I just reactivated Hulu Live TV so that I can watch truthful newscasts and keep up with the political scene…..and also, to be honest, to vegetate in front of a baseball game some nights and afternoons. You, Jill, are my inspiration to stay involved in some way. Even if it’s just to read your blog and know what’s happening, I must not close my eyes to the unfolding tragedy. I get really agitated when I read the headlines on my newsfeeds every morning; so why not go whole hog, get crazy and view the details. Our local politics are a sad indicator of the Niemöller quote. It’s happening in Florida now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You and I have some things in common, then! 1956 … I was five years old. My parents listened to the election coverage on the radio and I sat on the floor, listening intently, keeping track of the tally with my marble collection! Like you, I have voted for Republicans in the past. But today’s Republican Party has lost any semblance of decency, or humanitarianism, and has turned into the party of bigotry and hatred. I cannot imagine voting for a Republican at this point. Although I will admit that the governor of my state, Mike DeWine, isn’t bad as Republicans go.

      You’re a good guy, Larry, and I smiled when reading that I am your inspiration to stay involved! Just reading that … it makes everything I put into this blog worth every minute of it! Sometimes I wonder whether I do any good, or if I’m just kidding myself, but you made me feel … worthy. Thank you, my friend! My fear is that if we become complacent, if we let ennui take over and cause us to think “what’s the point?”, we could end up in a lot worse situation than we are today. We could end up in 4-5 years with an autocrat at the helm and nobody to stop him in Congress. He would burn the Constitution in a heartbeat and shred our democracy. And no, that’s not being alarmist, that’s being a realist. All we have to do is look at how many people were involved in the planning/plotting of the attempted coup on January 6th, 2021, to realize that these people are serious about stealing our voices, ending democracy. Sigh. Okay, stepping down from my soapbox now!

      And yes, my friend, living in Florida, you are seeing first-hand what can happen when the majority is silent and the minority takes over. Hang in, Larry! We’ll make a difference … maybe not a huge one, but a lot of drops of water can fill a bucket, yes?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Absolutely. On a humorous note, have you heard that in Florida, Goofy is trying to kill Mickey? This will be interesting. DeSantis has met his match. Disney will not only discredit our governor, Disney will bankrupt him and his party. The idiot simply does not fathom the lost jobs and lost revenue that will result from a Florida without Disney.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Heh heh … yeah, so I heard! My money is on Mickey! I did read that it is the taxpayers of Florida who this revenge fiasco of DeSantis’ will hurt … hopefully he backtracks while there is still time. One of Florida’s main industries is tourism and if they lose Disney … I suspect there would be a mass exodus of residents, leaving Florida to literally sink or swim. So much stupidity in the world today, my friend.

          Liked by 1 person

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    • I never doubted that you do … and most of my readers. Those who chose otherwise are fools for thinking they are making some ‘statement’ with their silence. Even when it boils down to the ‘lesser of two evils’ … we still must use our voice. Like you, I always vote, always have since I was eligible.

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