(Dipping way into the archives for this one, originally posted July 7, 2008.)
Well, it’s been a quiet week in Freedomville, my hometown … I sense a disturbance in the Force, or something. It’s an uneasiness in a soul that has chosen not to participate in the charade we call a “presidential election.” Or the anxiety, if that’s the right word, is something other than that.
The discomfort must be something more than resigning myself to the fact that the two branches of the Party have presented the US of A with finalists in the presidential reality show who each proposes to be the dictator of our lives, improving only the efficiency of a safety net woven from chains that purports to protect us from cradle to grave while regulating, licensing or prohibiting nearly every known individual choice or course of action. Maybe it’s something as easy as realizing that everyone who was voted off the island was also anxious to be our dictator.
But this is nothing new. Perhaps it’s that this is my first “presidential election” since my disillusionment in this process became complete. I have reported to a polling place and voted for the Libertarian Party candidate for four of the last five of these exercises, which gave me some sense of empowerment. I never bought into the “if you vote for a third party, you’ve wasted your vote” nonsense. I have always said that if you vote for someone who doesn’t share your values or views in any meaningful sense of the words, THEN you’ve wasted your vote. It’s not about winning, it’s about representation, and if the numbers show your viewpoints aren’t representative, your views will be ignored. Or so I believed.
Now it seems clear that my views will be ignored anyway. And so I will join the majority that votes “None of the Above,” who is not on the ballot. I have seen unopposed candidates fret because they received only 94 percent of the vote, wondering how they could have disillusioned as many as 6 percent. So I know the fewer people vote, the more it will get the attention of our rulers. The fewer people vote, the more it will trouble good men and women.
The dilemma is it’s also true that the fewer people vote, the easier it is for a devious minority to maintain control, because all you need is 50.1 percent of a small minority to win the election. That’s a motivation for voting for the “lesser of two evils.” But the better choice between two evils is still evil. The only sane choice is neither, not one or the other.
I know and understand all of this, so why do I sense a disturbance in my heart? I wonder if it’s something as basic as finally understanding to the core that the extent to which I am free has nothing to do with politics, nothing to do with the chains so many freely choose. The extent to which I am free is up to me. The extent to which I have not been free was my responsibility. Freedom is not something granted by rulers; it’s an “unalienable right” that I have given away.
How do I get back my freedom? First I understand that I never lost it, I merely chose not to be free. How do I get back my freedom? I take it back, gently but firmly. One small step is to note that neither Barack Obama nor John McCain represents me in any way, shape or form. Freedom is not about having the right ruler. Oh, wait, yes it is. Freedom is understanding that I am the boss of me.