They say there’s too much of a good thing, but I don’t think they knew how much fun it was to point and laugh at Mitt Romney.
This election season, the Romney/Ryan campaign has engaged in everything from subtle manipulation to all-out, balls-to-the-wall fuckery of a previously unseen caliber. I’ve enjoyed following the Romney/Ryan campaign as an act of political absurdist theater, or a long sketch comedy show about someone who wishes they got paid more to be a douchebag. I’ve enjoyed watching as the pair told outright lies, denied fact-checks from within their campaign, and wrestled with embarrassing photos.
I’ve laughed deeply at Mitt Romney’s “verge of tears” debate face (RIP) and Paul Ryan’s insistence that he is, in fact, somehow a real human being. (I still don’t believe.)
It’s almost time for America to decide on a President. It’s November of 2012. And I’ve been laughing so as not to cry since the whole thing started. Here at Autostraddle, me and the rest of the team have kept you abreast (sexy) of Romney/Ryan’s gaffes, antics, and bad person-ness for a while now. But as election day nears, I want to do a quick refresher of some of the most recent bullshit to come from America’s Most Attractive Crooks.
Lest We Forget: Five Recent Reminders of How Much Romney/Ryan Suck
5. Capitalist Jerks: According to The Nation, Romney made at least $15 million off of the Detroit bailout. But hey – he’s unemployed.
GREG PALAST: As part of a massive government bailout, U.S. taxpayers paid $12 billion to save auto parts maker Delphi Corporation. Out of that taxpayer money, three billionaires and their partners took in a profit of over $4 billion. One big winner, with a profit of over 4,000 percent, were the billionaires’ silent partners, Ann and Mitt Romney. The Romneys made at least $15 million, and as much as $115 million.
4. Spreading Misinformation, Bold-Faced Lies: Despite numerous fact-checks from various sources over a mounting period of time, Mitt Romney simply refuses to stop lying about Obamacare’s impact on seniors! How sweet. He also insists that Jeep is outsourcing to China, which is a huge LOL.
3. Everlasting Ignorance: Andrea Saul, Romney’s press secretary, worked for Exxon during Hurricane Katrina. Aside from selling her soul to an evil corporation, she also went out on a limb to claim that global warming and climate change were not threats and had nothing to do with a massive storm causing unprecedented destruction at emergency levels. I’m sure those assertions are appreciated by those who are now without access to basic necessities or medical care from Hurricane Sandy, which many experts say “fits the general pattern in North America, and indeed around the world, toward more extreme weather, a pattern that, increasingly, can be attributed to climate change.”
“Coming off one of the most devastating hurricane seasons in recent memory, many are quick to blame the strength and frequency of these storms on global warming. Leading climate scientists, however, say there is no link between increased storm activity and a massive change in global climate.“
2. Douchebaggery and Deception: Remember when Paul Ryan faked a photo op at a legally bound non-partisan soup kitchen, fucked up everyone’s day, and then caused backlash from their donors and within their internal administration? That was so polite! He looked like shit, and actively made life worse for those he was purportedly “helping,” but who cares!
Well, don’t call it a comeback, but Mittens definitely used Sandy as a tool to garner good publicity and more votes by campaigning in Ohio under the guise of a “relief rally” – which he staged! The Romney campaign spent about $5,000 buying “donations,” which they then passed out to supporters who could then bring them into the rally and “donate” back to the Romney campaign. And as a crowning touch, the items the Romney campaign bought (and are encouraging others to donate more of) are things the Red Cross doesn’t want or need, and in fact actively ask people not to donate! The Red Cross now has to use valuable resources to figure out how to deal with all the canned goods they didn’t ask for, and are in the meantime urging people to donate money or blood — you know, the things they can actually use. Mitt Romney will destroy America one Wal-Mart trip for bottled water at a time. Now that’s the image of an American Douchebag.
(As a refresher, Obama took time off to head to New Jersey and talk to suffering humans, and also urged his supporters to give money to relief aids instead of his campaign.)
1. Downright Cheating: The recent news that Mitt Romney owns stock in the company producing Ohio’s voting booths should be really shocking and disturbing, but it will probably come as no surprise to anyone alive during the 2000 election. This is a big yawn for the Republican party, in my opinion. They need to step up their game with new methods of deceit.
(The Romney/Ryan campaign has also been training poll watchers to mislead voters in Iowa, and potentially in other states. Who knew you could rig a glorified popularity contest!)
A new ThinkProgress investigation has found that in Iowa, Romney poll watchers are being trained to watch for voters who show up without a photo ID, even though no voter ID law exists in the state. […]
This [training] video is part of Romney’s massive nationwide poll-watcher effort on Election Day. The campaign is training 34,000 volunteers to fan out in swing states across the country and monitor for voter fraud. Romney personally touted Project ORCA in avideo released Wednesday evening, telling poll watchers that they’ll “be the key link in providing critical, real-time information to me.” Because of the program, Romney said, “our campaign will have an unprecedented advantage on Election Day.”
BONUS: By far one of the Worst Moments in Human History, I’d like to remind you that in 1983, Willard Romney was outed as being the worst Puppy Papa of all time when he ‘fessed up to attaching his dog’s cage to the roof of his car, leaving the animal in there, and then driving on the highway for multiple hours. CLASSY!
This game needs a third player. Vote Libertarian.
I am 10000000000% for a woman president, but I refuse to vote for a zombie. Ayn Rand is dead, if only her philosophies died with her.
I agree with you completely about libertarianism, but the Libertarian Party candidate is a dude, Gary Johnson. I think you’re confusing him with Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate this year.
Oh I just realized that was a set-up for your Ayn Rand joke. Silly me! Carry on everyone!
y’all don’t even know about multi-party-systems!
Well the main problem is that the U.S. doesn’t have one of those. The way our voting system works will always favor two parties.
If people want to “change the system,” they need to work on fundamentally changing how we vote (such as using something else besides “winner take all” and abandoning or at least reforming the Electoral College) rather than thinking if they can convince enough of their buddies to vote Libertarian/Green/whatever it’ll make a difference. It won’t. All it does is result in the spoiler effect.
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAH you’re shitting me, right?
The Libertarian Party may support marriage equality, but their economic policies still make life more difficult for the vast majority of queers (and people in general, really) in this country. First off, while I don’t know where Gary Johnson stands on this, libertarians generally don’t support anti-job-discrimination laws like ENDA. Secondly, well, everything else in their economic platform. Obama’s platform is much, much, MUCH more pro-LGBT than the libertarian one is.
If you must vote third-party (I don’t know why), at least vote for the Greens or the Socialists instead.
The best reason to vote third party is to show where your values truly lie. I hear a ton of “I’m voting for Romney because I don’t like Obama, but I don’t agree with anything that Romney does either, and vice versa…” but the better answer is to disagree smartly. Political analysts look at the results, but they can’t tell whether a vote for Romney is or isn’t motivated by agreement with his policies. They can tell that someone took the time to vote Green, Socialist or Lib, and that shows where American values lie, better than any alternative. Vote where you agree, and we’ll be on our way to a great system reform. (Don’t pick the lesser of two evils, pick the best of all candidates!)
And that’s all very good and nice if your only concern is what it says to the people counting the votes (who I’m sure don’t really take much time to think about how people vote the way they do, I’m sure, they just count them), and not about the effects of what happens if one or the other major-party candidate wins.
I’m not voting because of how I’m going to feel about my vote. I’m voting because I don’t want to have a Supreme Court that will take us back 50 years on women’s and LGBT rights, which is what we’re at risk of getting if Romney wins. And because Obama’s a pretty pro-woman, pro-LGBT president, even though I disagree with him on some other things.
Wow, I didn’t know about some of these. I’m not sure I wanted to, but I’m also glad I know it now. I really appreciate the effort to keep us informed. I just wish I could vote, but my birthday is the 22 :(
This makes me so so glad I’m Canadian, and the worst I have to deal with is Harper (who’s bad enough!).
I worry so much for you Americans. Please don’t let him actually win.
We’re trying…! If he wins, though, maybe I’m kinda sorta not moving back to the US in a year.
We try, but we can’t necessarily help some of the other people we share a country with.
Especially for those of us not in swing states (down with the Electoral College!)
I’m assuming that’s Paul Ryan’s wife in the background of the soup kitchen picture. Yes?
The look on her face is kind of: “Yeeeeeaaaah, maybe this isn’t such a good idea.”
I just can’t deal with how ridiculous those Paul Ryan gym photos are, every time I see them I can’t believe he actually thought that was a good idea
I honestly didn’t believe they were legitimate photos for the longest time. I swore they were photoshopped with his face on some dudebro’s body but NOPE HE’S THE DUDEBRO.
Yeah, I want those to be this year’s “Dukakis in the tank.”
those gym photos are my cover photo on facebook. no shame
After this post, I’m pretty sure every Autostraddler is terrified of the regressive, repressive zombie wasteland that would be Romney’s America.
HERE IS THE GOOD NEWS. You can actually do shit to prevent that from happening! Vote, obviously, jesus if you’re not voting we can’t be friends. But also, there is this nifty thing where you can call registered voters, have nice conversations with them, and make them go vote for Obama like rational people! WHOA HOT DAMN.
Check this shit out: call.barackobama.com
Imagine how great it’s going to be when you’re talking to some cute girl in a bar on November 7 and casually mention to her that you were one of the people behind Obama’s reelection… I don’t know about you guys, but democracy is such a turn-on. Mmhm.
I think I’m more terrified by the zealotry and proselytizing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proselytism) inherent in this response and other articles on AS about politics that seem to be littered with false dilemma’s (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma) and other such rhetoric.
I know that my view on politics and the concept of voting is vastly different than the majority of the populace, however I believe everyone is entitled to their opinion, whether they decide to vote or not. Personally, I’m a non-voter for numerous reasons, which I don’t care to elaborate on right this second, but you can find those reasons if you do a quick “google search: anti-voting.” It has been my experience that those who do not vote and voice such statements to voters, seem to get a backlash that reminds me of the Salem Witch trials, Galileo, the Dark Ages, Socrates and so forth. In modern times, people get that same backlash for various things, whether it’s homosexuality, atheism and so forth. Granted, I know that my examples and analogies are extreme, but there is a purpose for that and that is to highlight the parallel’s and irony of your response. You’re basically doing the same thing to people who do not believe the same as you do. It’s one thing to share an opinion, but it’s another to come off preaching to the choir, assume and generalize people of a differing opinion than yourself as “…people who are terrified of the regressive, repressive zombie wasteland that would be Romney’s America” because they choose not to vote or vote for a different candidate. Not voting does not equate to a submission of the current policies or systems at hand, just like not believing in a god doesn’t mean you have “no morals.” Premises and or arguments like these are fallacious.
I’m… really confused by this response, to be honest. On a post where people are worried about a certain person getting elected, I was encouraging them to do something about it. Encouraging people to go out and volunteer for a candidate is maybe not the same thing as murdering girls by accusing them of being witches, just saying.
And I think the arguments against voting are pretty much entirely bullshit.
What’s there to be confused about? It’s in English. You may find the arguments against voting bullshit, but I don’t. Just the same, I find the idea of voting bullshit, again everyone has their own opinion on the matter. I drew those extremes and parallel’s to make a point, so they were done on purpose to better illustrate the irony of it all, as I already stated.
You’re really going to call other people condescending when you say things like “What’s there to be confused about? It’s in English”?
As she said in her comment, she’s confused about why you’re giving such a disproportionate reaction.
Uh, okay. I’m not even sure what you’re arguing so vehemently and condescendingly for.
The idea of voting is something that people around the world have fought and died for. I live in California – does my vote for Obama really count? No. But I know that women spent years and years fighting so that I could have the right to cast that ballot. I’ve also seen first hand the difference that a very small number of ballots can make in local elections, which can be even more important than national ones. I have not hear a single solid argument against the principle of voting.
The bottom line is: unless you’re fine about having Romney as your president for the next 4 years, who will go the whole hog to work ONLY to advance the interests of the 1% of Americans who are super rich like himself, you’re putting your head in the sand by not voting for Obama.
Arguments against voting aren’t all entirely bullshit. I for one can’t stand Obama or Romney, and I don’t want to help either of them be elected. And since no third party has a chance of winning (because we’re America and have the dumbest political system ever), there’s really no point in me voting.
Well, what are some non-“bullshit” arguments against voting then? I think Emily’s point was that antiant’s post didn’t really provide any.
I went through a long process of deciding whether or not I would vote in the presidential election this year. This included conversations both with friends of mine who vote and friends of mine who don’t vote.
First is that voting (participation) implies an individual endorsing the legitimacy of a system, in this case the corporate, two-party-dominated representative democracy system. If you don’t agree with that system, legitimating it through participating in it can be an issue.
Secondly, the obsession with voting implies that it’s the ultimate form of civic engagement – and unfortunately, far too many people devote all of their energy to voting and encouraging other people to vote. If an individual chooses to vote, I would hope that it was the very least of their civic engagement, given the vast inequities in our society that are not being addressed by any elected officials, let alone those who are members of the two main parties.
See, I’ve definitely heard these arguments before. And what they come down to is this: the system isn’t perfect and you could do more, so there’s no point in doing the most fundamental thing. It’s like saying “I’d like a steak for dinner, but instead I have the option of meatloaf. So I’m just not going to eat at all.”
As for the first part – sorry, but you’re not legitimizing anything. The system’s in place. It’s flawed, sure, but we have to play by its rules for now. When you’re out there leading the charge to remove money from politics or overhaul the system to make it more equitable, I will be right there with you. Until that day comes, this is what we can do. This is the power we have. Why waste it?
And second: listen, I’m SO down for people being more civically involved. I have spent a lot of time and energy working for that. But it’s absurd to say that in the absence of greater civic involvement, people should just not vote. People should do a lot of things! But not everyone has time to go out and knock on doors or talk to representatives or be a community organizer. This is a thing we can do. This is the one chance everyone has to have their say. Call me an idealist, but I think that’s a fundamentally beautiful thing.
Regarding the legitimacy part, I partially agree, which is why I ultimately decided to vote. The system is in place and is legitimate in the sense of existing, and for me, casting a vote is an acknowledgment of its existence. Unfortunately, it also means I am (passively) complicit in certain crimes against humanity, which is not something I feel proud about or want to boast about. The people with whom I’ve had these conversations (and whose arguments I’ve read) are out there working for change – that’s the point I was making. They are just not working for change within the framework of a representative democracy. They’re not waiting for a future utopian day – they’re doing that work bit by bit, but it’s not immediately recognizable if you’re operating within a certain paradigm.
Secondly, in certain ways I agree that we might as well vote since (unless you end up waiting for seven hours in Florida, or unless you had to fight new voter ID and disenfranchisement laws) it’s a basic act that does not necessarily require much time or energy. What angers me is people who feel entitled to shame other people, who are doing important work, because they aren’t practicing civil engagement according to their rules. Everyone has different time constraints and obstacles, but I also think everyone has different priorities – and for many people, taking the time to actually try to create change from the ground up and work towards an equitable society isn’t one of those priorities.
A lot of my reasoning behind eventually voting was the position of privilege I am in, as a white upper middle-class cis female who has never been charged with or convicted of a crime. Because voting ISN’T the one chance everyone has to have their say; once upon a time it was the chance for property-owning white men, then it was the chance for all white men, then the chance for men “regardless of skin color” (although not really until 1965), then for men and women (although still not really people of color), then for anyone who has never been convicted of a felony (people who are imprisoned cannot vote, people on probation often cannot vote, and in states such as Florida, people convicted of a felony who have finished serving their time and probation still cannot vote for up to 5-7 years). That history is complicated; it means I come at voting from a position of privilege, but it also means I am engaging in a discriminatory system with a history of discrimination. I came to one answer and decided to vote, but I’m not going to shame or belittle others for coming to different conclusions. I don’t think it’s my place to judge people who have decided not to engage with a fundamentally flawed, inequitable system based on a history of discrimination that doesn’t necessarily represent their interests.
I really do appreciate you taking the time to engage and offer your point of view to the conversation – seriously not trying to sound condescending here, I mean it.
For me it just comes down to the first part – there are major problems with the system but that’s how it is. Of all the people I know who are really working to change the system, I don’t know a single person who would say that voting isn’t important. On the contrary, those are the people who have been the loudest in encouraging others to vote (I’m not saying that there aren’t social activists who don’t support voting, but my experience is that the vast majority of them do).
It is a flawed system. Fundamentally? I might disagree with you there. But I don’t think that disengaging from the system is the right response to a history of discriminatory practices – because the unfortunate truth is, almost every aspect of present-day culture has a discriminatory past. It’s important to be aware of that, but it’s also important to continue working forward. Like it or not, no one listens to marginalized groups until they demand to be listened to, and in our electoral system that means voting power. Why are young people’s issues being debated more now then ever before? Because we turned out in record numbers in 2008.
(At the end of the day, I think it’s also important to realize that most people who don’t vote, don’t do it because they are doing other social change work that will make a more profound difference. They do it because they’re lazy, apathetic, or disillusioned.)
There are a great deal of people who aren’t voting because they are lazy, apathetic, and disillusioned – but I know enough people who are none of those things and don’t vote to feel uncomfortable making broad sweeping generalizations (vote – responsible, don’t vote – irresponsible).
Many people I know who work for social justice and equity do vote and encourage others to do so – but they don’t take the sanctimonious attitude or create the false dichotomy, which is what I have a problem with.
We probably do disagree (as an anti-statist, I’m not keen on corporate representative democracy as a governing mechanism) when it comes to whether or not the system is fundamentally flawed. But I would disagree that voting power is what makes people stand up and take notice and forces inclusion of marginalized groups. The example of voting itself demonstrates that in most cases, broad-scale social change requires direct action and community organizing. Men of color have had the right to vote since 1870; their voting rights were not actually protected until the Civil Rights movement (a large-scale direct action social movement that forced legislative change).
Also, even if you don’t want to vote for either presidential candidate, there are other offices on the ballot. There are also ballot proposals. So that doesn’t really work as an argument against not voting.
And it’s not like the people here voting for Obama necessarily LOVE LOVE LOVE him. It’s just realizing that things would be really really scary if Romney was elected. That’s why you vote.
Yes, this is so true! Like I mentioned above, people sometimes forget that there are incredibly important local and state initiatives. We’re voting on the death penalty in this election – I would say that’s kind of a big deal. And local initiatives can be decided by just a handful of votes.
I don’t support everything Obama has done. But on the whole, he has been a good president. Romney’s social and economic policies are disastrous for most of the country, and I am damn sure I don’t want him as president.
For me, even voting in my local elections seems kinda pointless. Looking at the online ballot, there are 14 things on it: the presidential race (I live in a very Republican state), the US congressional race (the he’s running unopposed), 2 state constitution amendments (both of which are expected to pass by wide margins, apparently), and 10 county offices (8 of whom are running unopposed). Shrug, so, for me, what would be the point?
*argument for not voting
I hate typos.
Comparing people verbally condemning your decision not to vote to being hanged or crushed to death doesn’t actually make people think your non-voting is a thoughtful and informed decision. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Seriously, just because you were creative enough not to go the Godwin route doesn’t mean your false analogy to a historical tragedy isn’t still extremely offensive. Get some perspective.
And that’s just because I saw Salem Witch Trials and stopped. Really, who calls it “the Dark Ages” anymore? I think you should have paid more attention in history. Then maybe you’d also take your right to vote less for granted, too.
I think you lost my point, as that is clearly evident by your response. The fact that you add the kicker, “…then maybe you’d also take your right to vote less for granted, too” proves my point further. How do you know what I do and do not take for granted? You don’t, but you sure make an assumption about it due to my decision not to vote, which I find hilarious and ironic, all at once. Then you make an indirect, yet subtle ad hominem attack a la “I think you should have paid more attention in history.” If you disagreed with what I said, why not specifically address those particular points, perhaps ask for elaboration if you didn’t quite understand, instead of assuming and succumbing to catty belittling remarks? I find it very interesting how you chose to respond, as it says quite a lot.
Nothing I said was offensive or “ad hominem.” Ad hominem attacks are baseless. Assuming that someone who compares verbal criticism to people being killed or imprisoned for their beliefs (“Galileo” and “Socrates”), people being killed over paranoid nonsense (the Salem Witch Trials), and an entire 1000-year period of Western history in which a lot of both good and bad shit happened (what I assume you mean by “the Dark Ages”), doesn’t really understand any of those events? Not exactly baseless.
The fact of the matter is that you wouldn’t be so proudly not voting if you didn’t take your right to vote for granted. There are women who risked their lives in hunger strikes and being tortured in prison to earn you that right, and yet you so willingly ignore it because you can’t think of a more interesting and, more importantly, EFFECTIVE way to protest our lack of options.
And at the end of the day? As the previous person said, you’re getting all bent out of shape when all the original poster said was “if you’re worried about Mitt Romney, you should vote!” Not “if you don’t vote, you’re a terrible person!”
“Nothing I said was offensive or “ad hominem.” Ad hominem attacks are baseless.”
Saying, I should have paid more attention in history is an ad hominem attack, no matter how watered down you try to make it. That comment was unnecessary and it didn’t serve a purpose toward making your argument any stronger.
“Assuming that someone who compares verbal criticism to people being killed or imprisoned for their beliefs (“Galileo” and “Socrates”), people being killed over paranoid nonsense….”
Stop assuming because what you think I’m saying, is not what I’m saying at all. Let’s try this from the top again, one last time. I made extreme (read: exaggerated) parallel’s in order to prove a very specific point. What was my specific point? My point was that Emily was encouraging people to vote (there is nothing wrong with that, I do not take issue with that at all), but I do take issue when someone starts proselytizing in a way where they think voting is the only choice to change the current system or systems at hand. Voting is not the only choice, to believe that voting is the only choice is a false dilemma, as one can choose not to vote, there is also a term called “direct action.” Some people may believe that “direct action” is voting, others may believe that voting is not a “direct action,” but an inaction and that there are other means besides voting that create progression. Either way, which ever spectrum you fall on, there are other choices, whether or not you decide to vote. Emily then goes on with the logical fallacy of a slippery slope (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slippery_slope). Here is the definition of a slippery slope:
Slippery slope arguments falsely assume that one thing must lead to another. They begin by suggesting that if we do one thing then that will lead to another, and before we know it we’ll be doing something that we don’t want to do. They conclude that we therefore shouldn’t do the first thing. The problem with these arguments is that it is possible to do the first thing that they mention without going on to do the other things; restraint is possible. (Source: http://www.logicalfallacies.info/presumption/slippery-slope/).
Where did Emily use this logical fallacy called a slippery slope you might ask? Right here in her following statement, “After this post, I’m pretty sure every Autostraddler is terrified of the regressive, repressive zombie wasteland that would be Romney’s America.
HERE IS THE GOOD NEWS. You can actually do shit to prevent that from happening! Vote, obviously, jesus….”
It’s like Pascal’s Wager (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascal%27s_Wager). Here is Pascal’s Wager in a nutshell:
1. If you believe in God and God does exist, you will be rewarded with eternal life in heaven: thus an infinite gain.
2. If you do not believe in God and God does exist, you will be condemned to remain in hell forever: thus an infinite loss.
3. If you believe in God and God does not exist, you will not be rewarded: thus a finite loss.
4. If you do not believe in God and God does not exist, you will not be rewarded, but you have lived your own life: thus a finite gain.
Where does all this come into play with regards to Emily’s comment?
1. If you vote for Obama, we won’t have a “Romney America.”
2. Now that we have Obama, then we won’t have a repressive zombie wasteland, etc.
* People voting for Romney may believe the same thing about your candidate. An “Obama America” is a repressive zombie wasteland. So, what “definition” and or idea of “repressive zombie wasteland” is “true” in this sense?? A “repressive zombie wasteland” can still be true, regardless of who you vote for or not, depending on the perspective of the person. You see? False dilemma.
Here’s more false premises that come from this line of thinking:
a.) If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain.
b.) If you vote, you have every right to complain.
Do you see where I’m going with all of this? You see the parallel’s, connect the dots and big pictures I’m trying to illustrate and highlight here? I think my points are pretty clear. These arguments are logical fallacies, therefore they don’t hold up in a logically consistent manner, thus they are invalid arguments, that hold no merit. In other words, go back to the drawing board and create a stronger argument that is logically consistent with its premises.
“Ad hominem” is not just “waaahhh someone said something mean about me,” at least in terms of why it’s a logical fallacy. First of all, it’s attacking someone’s character, by definition; I’m attacking your knowledge of history, that’s not your character. Second of all, for it to be a logical fallacy (not all things listed as “logical fallacies” are logical fallacies in every sense), it has to be a) irrelevant and b) baseless. Neither of those are here. Honestly, you sound like someone who just learned what logical fallacies are and are really eager to use them out in debates that you’re desperately looking for ways in which they apply.
Everyone gets that it’s an exaggeration. That doesn’t make it ok. Your bodily harm and livelihood are not at risk because people are mad at you for not voting. They’re just disagreeing with you verbally. By your “logic,” every verbal disagreement is tantamount to “proselytization” and oppression! But that’s ridiculous, isn’t it? And also invoking that “slippery slope” you linked above. This is why people get mad when people on the Internet compare minor inconveniences to historical tragedies. Because there isn’t any comparison, and it also shows a certain degree of ignorance on the part of the experiences of the people who suffered those tragedies. As well as a really massive amount of societal privilege (hence why there are so many “X is like the Holocaust” submissions on the White Whine tumblr).
Your comparison between the two arguments you listed point-by-point is still bad, because people can find other forms of morality outside of just worrying about an eternal reward or lack thereof. Morality and religion are completely separate. Whether or not someone votes and the effects of their vote? Not separate issues. You’re coming up with weird hypotheticals but they’re just a smokescreen; it doesn’t mean your point makes sense.
And as I said below, the statistics on who is eligible to vote vs. who votes suggests that Democratic-leaning people not voting is, in fact, exactly the reason that Democrats don’t win more elections. I notice you didn’t really address that either.
And you’re still completely missing that Emily’s comment was obviously addressed toward people who really really really hate Romney and want Obama to win instead! You talk about her “proselytizing” and she was really preaching to the choir! That’s why she is so surprised by your reactions. You’re trying to make this about you when it never was.
i think it is problematic to “shame” people in a sense for not voting because other people fought for their right to vote. Many people have fought for many rights over the course of history – I recognize their contributions, and in certain cases appreciate them, but I am not bound to participate in a system with which I disagree because the mainstream (white) suffragettes’ movement threw people of color and poor people under the bus in their rush to get the right to vote for (upper) middle-class white women.
It is incredibly true that voting is meaningful in the sense that it is a right denied to numerous people – in this day and age, legally denied to people who are imprisoned, people who are on probation, and in certain states (such as my home state of Florida), to people who have been convicted of felonies (even if they have completed probation). That is why I decided to vote, even though I am anti-statist.
The suffragists’ movement is just one example, though. What about the civil rights activists who fought tooth and nail to eliminate racist poll taxes and “literacy” tests to allow people of color to vote? What about the people in other countries who still don’t have the right to vote and are laying their lives on the line for it – so they can get a system that’s probably even more flawed than ours is if they succeed?
I do think that acting like not voting is a “protest” (a pretty meaningless, ineffective one, in the long and short of things) you can make against the system, no matter how you phrase it, is taking your vote for granted to a certain degree. There are people around the world and throughout history who would love to have even our incredibly fucked-up system.
This still applies to my above comment – just because people fought tooth and nail for something doesn’t morally obligate me to participate in it if I find it ethically problematic. Drawing that comparison is like claiming that because people died to defend slavery in the Civil War, I am morally obligated to practice slavery. In my case, I decided that not voting for me would be an act of privilege rather than not, due to my position as an upper middle-class cis white female. I’m not going to judge someone else for coming to a different conclusion.
I am in no way arguing against the act of voting. What I am arguing against is a certain sanctimonious attitude and the creation of a false dichotomy (vote – responsible, don’t vote – irresponsible). I am also arguing against making broad generalizations regarding people who don’t vote. Some people who don’t vote view it as an act of protest, some people do (and the argument could also be made that an individual voting itself is a rather meaningless, ineffective way of creating change compared to other organizing efforts). Your last sentence makes the parallel even more explicit – these arguments sound like the “Love it or leave it” arguments – “Other people would love to have this so just be happy with it rather than trying change things or do things in a different way”.
“Not voting does not equate to a submission of the current policies or systems at hand, just like not believing in a god doesn’t mean you have ‘no morals.'”
No, the atheist argument is wrong because morals and religion have nothing to do with each other. Bad analogy.
The fact of the matter is that, demographics-wise, we know that if everybody who was eligible to vote, did, that Democrats would win every election. That’s part of why Obama won by such a landslide in 2008 – not just by convincing swing voters, but also convincing a lot of young people, poor people and POC who don’t normally vote to do it anyway. Part of the reason the Republicans won the House in 2010 is because a lot of those same people stayed home. Meanwhile, conservative demographics – white people, rich people, older people – vote in disproportionately HIGH numbers. So, sorry, but the statistics are against you; liberal voters staying home is EXACTLY the reason why Republicans are still competitive.
For every liberal-leaning yet disillusioned 20-something who doesn’t vote, there’s a conservative old white guy that will vote party-line for the Republican candidates.
Yep! And conservatives know it, too – that’s why they’re so dead-set on preventing the poor people, POC and students who DO want to vote from doing so, from voter ID laws to getting racist “True the Vote” “inspectors” at every swing state polling place. It’s liberals who continue to bury their head in the sand about how much of a difference their vote makes, and think “not voting” is a courageous rather than completely lazy and ineffective means of protest.
More on why we should all be voting and the problems with the “but they’re both bad!” sentiment: http://transgriot.blogspot.com/2012/05/rethinking-how-we-think-about-voting.html
I think the sentence “It’s liberals who continue to bury their head in the sand about how much of a difference their vote makes, and think ‘not voting’ is a courageous rather than completely lazy and ineffective means of protest” is what makes people feel uncomfortable and that people who espouse that view on this website are attempting to shame them.
Most of the people I know who choose not to vote would be quite offended to be characterized as “liberals” – they are anarchists and anti-statists. Their motivation for not voting isn’t to make a courageous statement. It’s refusing to engage with a system that is profoundly flawed (not in the Democrat candidate vs. Republican candidate sense but in the entire corporate two-party-dominated system of representative democracy) and instead focusing their energies and time on community organizing and direct action – rather than spending two hours voting and feeling smug about their “civic engagement” (note: I am not accusing you or anyone else on this website of this – I don’t know you or what you do in your life).
I agree with antiant that “Not voting does not equate to a submission of the current policies or systems at hand” – it just means that rather than working within the system and accepting whatever lesser evil it offers, one has decided to organize and work outside that system from the ground up.
First of all, the anarchists and anti-statists you mention are just one segment of the people who don’t vote. A much bigger segment are people who are liberal but who sit it out, or vote third-party, because they feel disenfranchised. That’s who I’m talking about. I’m aware that not everyone on the left considers themselves a “liberal.”
The fact of the matter, though, is that what I’m saying about not voting being a lazy and ineffective means of protest? Not incorrect. There’s a reason that nobody cares about people on the hard-left, like the anarchists and anti-statists you mention. They don’t vote! People care about those on the far right, though, because they vote in huge numbers. Voting is directly tied into how much of an impact your political actions have. You can protest all you want and “work outside the system,” but if you’re not going to go to the polls, politicians have no reason to listen to your protests, because you don’t have an impact on your job.
And I don’t know, I don’t have a huge amount of sympathy for people who think anarchism would actually be a plausible system for a large modern society like the U.S. to “respect” their decision not to vote. I think that ignores some pretty basic notions about how human societies work, and if anything I think that hard-leftists’ idea that not-voting is a good means of protesting the system is part of a larger pattern of them being too idealistic for their own good. (For the record, I identify as a democratic socialist and I think libertarian anarchists are just as idealistic, so don’t go down that route, but I don’t think that a lack of a government and people just choosing to cooperate with one another without intervention is ever going to work for a society the size of the U.S. I’ve heard most of the arguments to the contrary and find them unconvincing.)
And I agree that it’s a problem when people vote and think they “did their part” and don’t do anything else.
But yeah, I do think that people who exercise their voice in their government by voting are probably making a bigger impact regardless of what else they do, than people who protest but don’t vote. The decision not to vote is taking away all the teeth behind whatever political statement you’re trying to make by protesting. Politicians listen to protests when they think it will impact their re-election chances; when you don’t vote, you’re basically saying “You don’t have to listen to me!”
re: only one portion of the population that doesn’t vote
Yes, I realize that, and that many people who don’t vote aren’t doing it for reasons related to that. But it is because there are people who do not vote, and the reasons why they don’t are incredibly diverse, that I feel incredibly uncomfortable adopting a sanctimonious attitude or creating a false dichotomy of (vote-responsible, don’t vote-irresponsible). (I also realize I’m using a great deal of repetition, but I feel like the above statements are the most efficient shorthand I’ve found for referencing this discussion – apologies for the redundancy).
Thanks for elaborating on the second point as to who you were specifically referencing.
I’m not sure who you mean by the “people” who don’t care because (some) people on the far-left don’t vote (although most anarchists I know are actually voting in this election). I also see some forms of protest and voting as providing feedback for each other, but in general I’m not referring to protest. I’m referring to community organizing and alternative methods of self-governance. These groups, generally working on the smaller scale, are not particularly interested in whether or not politicians are going to hear them (answer: because no politicians will listen to them). There’s also a great deal of shaming (not by you specifically) of people who choose to vote third-party who are expressing their distaste with the system within the means of the system, who are using the system to try to make politicians hear their voice – but are still being chided because they’ve “thrown away their vote” by not operating within the two-party system. That, to me, is relatively reflective of the way the system is entrenched and its unwillingness to entertain any type of alternatives.
I am not an anarchist, so I can’t specifically answer your points regarding the feasibility of anarchist organization. As an anthropologist, however, I will note that societies based on the idea of democracy have existed for the blink of an eye in the history of human social and political organization (specifically meant to address that forms of anarchism ignore basic notions about how human societies work).
Again, reducing other forms of action to protesting is problematic. The example of voting in and of itself reveals the necessity of direct action and community organizing. The right to vote has been held by men of color since 1870; due to policies of disenfranchisement, it wasn’t until the Civil Rights movement organized and engaged in direct action that many of those disenfranchising policies and practices were stripped away. Protest is not necessarily effective if one doesn’t vote (although really, the politicians obviously can’t tell if you vote or not unless you tell them so everyone is a potential voter). Direct action and community organizing? Can be effective, because you’re not relying on the election of an official (who may or may not hold to their campaign promises and outlined platform) to enact social change for you; you’re working to do it yourself.
Also relevant (thanks to today’s Election Day thread for this):
“Not voting does not equate to a submission of the current policies or systems at hand, just like not believing in a god doesn’t mean you have ‘no morals.’”
No, the atheist argument is wrong because morals and religion have nothing to do with each other. Bad analogy.”
You really need to re-read that comment I made because your comment agrees with mine, lol. You are correct, morals and religion have nothing to do with each other, just like I stated in that analogy, which wasn’t bad at all, you just failed to comprehend it. I said, “does not equate,” which can also be said this way, “is not synonymous” “is not mutually exclusive” or as you said “has nothing to do with” each other. Really, I don’t think I could have said it any simpler or clearer than that.
The following words “does not equate” “is not synonymous” “is not mutually exclusive”
Yeah, I don’t think you understood my response either. But ok!
I definitely prefer salacious arguments over fallacious ones
I definitely prefer to eat delicious candy than eat bullshit