Sunday, November 4, 2012

Ballot Reasoning, 2012

What does it mean to vote? A vote is your voice in the democratic system of government. It may not be a very loud voice in the grand scheme of things, but you show your opinion of government by voting a certain way. Do you approve of Candidate A? Vote for Candidate A. Do you disapprove of Candidate B? Vote for anybody but Candidate B.

However, it is very disheartening this election cycle to see how many people are confused by the act of voting. This year, we have been assaulted by they news media telling us that there are no other candidates. According to them, only Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are running for the office of president.

They want you to think that your vote belongs to either the Democrat candidate or the Republican candidate. Whether it was Ron Paul's efforts to claim the Republican nominations, or the general candidacies of Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, Virgil Goode, Rocky Anderson, or a handful of other candidates, including former TV mom Roseanne Barr, the majority of news sites have done everything within their power to control the narrative that this race comes down to just two people.

"But a vote for a third party is a wasted vote," say millions of people. But that is the quintessential definition of begging the question.

Person A: "If you vote 3rd party you are wasting your vote."
Person B: "Why are you wasting your vote?"
Person A: "Because a 3rd party candidate will never win."
Person B: "Why will a 3rd party candidate never win?"
Person A: "Because if you vote for one you are wasting your vote."

Millions of voters are trapped every year in this circular logic that there are only two people to choose between, and they often summarize their choice by saying they are voting for the "lesser of two evils." I say, "Why vote for evil at all?" Even in the few elections where there are only two candidates on the ballot (or even one unopposed candidate) you have the choice to choose no one and say "Piss off!" to a screwed up system. I encourage everyone who is fed up with elections full of perennially bad candidates to stand up and make a choice:
You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice
You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill
I will choose a path that's clear
I will choose freewill

All right, on to the ballot picks! Here are the ballots that I have for district 43: 1 2 3

Gary Johnson/James Gray (Libertarian party)

This campaign did not get a lot of love from the media, although they admittedly did get a little more notice than the Justice Party, Constitution Party, or Objectivist Party. There are a few things that I don't like from this campaign, namely the idea of a Fair Tax, like a national sales tax. The biggest problem with a Fair Tax at the moment is that the 16th Amendment still allows Congress to take a direct income tax from the citizens. Unless the 16th Amendment is constitutionally repealed there would be too much taxation power available to the federal government.

Fortunately, I think the Fair Tax is more of a party platform, and not necessarily something that he would push for in office. It is great to have a candidate who has actual leadership experience to look to when evaluating them for president, and Johnson's two successful terms as governor of New Mexico were amazing from a small government standpoint. He vetoed over 700 bills and left office with a budget surplus, all while cutting taxes as well. Like I said, it's nice to have an actual record to look at, something 2008's Barack Obama didn't have and 2012's Obama wished he didn't.

The two major party candidates are basically clones of each other. Everything has been pretty awful under Obama: the war on drugs continues with no improvements; the economy is still struggling and shows little signs of getting much better; we still have a ton of troops in the middle east and our citizens are being killed by enemy forces and this administration. All of that being said, Romney may only improve the economy a little, and even that is up for major debate. None of the other areas are in Romney's favor, and on some his rhetoric is making him sound worse (foreign policy).

Bill Gaylor (no party affiliation)

I have been lambasted by advertisements in the central Florida area for both Connie Mack and Bill Nelson, the Republican and Democrat candidates, respectively. Bill Nelson wants to save Medicare and  Social Security for grandma and grandpa. Connie Mack wants to save Social Security and Medicare for grandpa and grandma. Neither wants to admit that both programs are unsustainable as is, and have been declared as nothing more than another tax by the Supreme Court. So that means there is nothing owed to people who have been paying into it their whole lives; the money just goes into the general coffers as soon as it is deducted from our paychecks. In addition to that, Social Security is actual a terrible rate of return even if you want to be of the mindset that you are getting back what you put in. It is a direct "Rob Peter to pay Paul" tax.

Gaylor looked like the candidate most in line with what I believe in, and I especially like the line about establishing a rule that a constitutional basis for a bill must be cited before it is considered. Chris Borgia kind of turned me off with his "Score Voting" idea, although I have said that a single negative vote (with the person the closest to zero votes winning) would bet better than a single positive vote.

No vote made for any candidate.

For the first three races, there are only a two candidates running in each race: a Republican and a Democrat. For the three races concerning actual representation for government, I think it is wrong that there are no other candidates on the ballot. Not necessarily wrong as in "not right", but wrong as in "more candidates from more parties should be gunning for these positions". So it is a vote to abstain from endorsing either of these candidates and the parties that they represent.

For the latter three categories, I think it is wrong (as in "not right") that these are even elected positions, and they certainly should not be positions held by partisan politics. So again I will choose not to endorse party affiliated candidates for posts that shouldn't even be subject to elections (and an argument could even be made that they should not be public offices in the case of property appraiser).

Write-in Aaron Brand

See the explanation for the last set of things, but I disagree with the notion of non-representation positions being subject to public election, as well as races being influenced by party affiliation. Therefore I am writing in my own name as I am confident that I could do a better job than any of those bozos. Plus, Lydia Gardner is running unopposed for Clerk of Courts which is baloney.

Vote "NO" to retain

Judges should not get comfortable with the idea of tenure or a permanent position.

Letty Marques

"YES" on 1, "NO" on everything else

Amendment 1 is basically just the state of Florida's swipe at Obamacare, but even so, I will take it. The amendment says that a person or company cannot be compelled by law to purchase, obtain, or offer medical coverage. This could actually end up being a step towards eliminating employer-based health insurance plans, which may in the end result in better policy options through increased competition in the insurance market.

The NO vote on all other amendments comes from the idea that most actions will likely raise taxes. An exemption for veterans on their property taxes or a homestead exemption for non-homesteaded houses will likely just raise the amount of taxes other people have to pay. I do like that Amendment 4 attempts to keep property assessments valued at the just value and not an inflated value, but there are still ways for them to increase taxes and they limit the amount that taxes can be decreased.

Ultimately, a vote is a personal act. One's political persuasions can be made public if they choose, as I am doing now. However one votes though, it is not wasted if it is made with conviction. Make sure you are voting for causes and people you believe in, and not just "for evil".

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