Politics is an unsavory business, which leaves many Americans with a nasty taste in their mouth and the feeling they're being fed crap--beautifully crafted crap, but crap none the less. And although we're priviledged enough to have more than 2 parties running for President here in the US, most people feel that there are only two choices--and they're wary of both. Some have decided to sit it out.
George Packer of the New Yorker went to Ohio recently to talk with members of small town America and get their opinion on this year's election. His article, The Hardest Vote, appears in this week's Politics issue. One gentleman had this to say:
“I think the Democratic Party has kind of walked away from me,” Cotter said. The issue that had alienated him from his party was its refusal to take a strong stand against illegal immigration. “It is not just Obama,” he went on. “The élite of the Democratic Party, the Kennedys, the Clintons, they’re pushing this thing.” Cotter had contacted everyone from Howard Dean, the Democratic Party chairman, to the Athens County Democratic Party about the cost of illegal immigration to the country, without satisfaction: “Hell, nobody cares.”
The comment was made in the living room of a friend and Obama supporter, who had brought in a staffer to answer questions and clear up misconceptions.
Gwinn, the organizer, responded earnestly, “The fact that there are two hundred staffers like me out here having this conversation with you means somebody cares. And I’ll have this conversation with you every day, if you want.” Cotter said that abstaining in November still felt like his most potent option. “How are we going to get them to pay attention to us, if we don’t send a message?” he asked.
A vote is never wasted, despite the predicatable cynacism of some members of either major party who accuse citizens of 'throwing a vote away' if they go third party. The waste comes in when Americans convince themselves that sitting it out will make a strong statement--newsflash America! The only point this proves is you are apathetic! You're giving up on the very backbone of democracy!