Sunday, June 03, 2007

Electioneering, Chapter One

At Lean Left there has been something of a dust-up, largely but not exclusively between Tgirsch and me, over the issue of 3rd party candidacies versus voting for "the lesser of the evils." It started, innocently enough (or so I thought) with comment #18 at this post, where someone asked "So why exactly are people who don’t vote disqualified from having a legitimate opinion on the government?" I answered by making a distinction between those who just don't bother to vote and those who have given up in despair on the idea that voting can accomplish anything positive for their lives.

That provoked a strong rebuke from Tgirsch, who insisted anyone "paying attention" for "five whole minutes" would certainly be motivated to vote - but that voting for "a Nader or a Perot" is "pissing away" that vote. I called bullshit on the latter, declaring "It is never 'pissing away' your vote to vote for what you actually believe in." And off we went.

The discussion continued under this post but a couple of days ago I opted out for a time because it was shifting from heated to nasty. I just posted my summation, which will be my last word on the topic; I expect there will be replies.

The exchange has prompted me, however, to dig out some old stuff to more fully express my notions about political action in general and electoral politics in particular. The following three posts are from speeches and/or papers I did in the 1980s. Before or after looking at those, you might want to check out this post from April 2005 in which I laid out my "Area Under the Curve" philosophy of political activism. I'll only add that the talk on "The Individual in Political Action" mentioned there also included a section on electoral action both as a campaign worker and a candidate.

Bear in mind that the three posts following were covering overlapping topics and were addressed to different audiences at different times, so some repetition was inevitable. I tried to edit out as much of that as I could, but there is still some. Sorry.

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