DisclaimerI believe editorials concerning another country's election, my own included, are fair journalism, so long as they are reasoned, informed and respectful*.
Well "If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal" is a clever slogan and anarchists, like their libertarian brethren, do have a weakness for the glib.
But readers, ask yourself, what if Al Gore had won the 2000 American election (assuming he actually lost it)?
The Bush-Cheney regime crippled America like no other; where they saw surplus, they brought deficit, where they saw peace, they brought war, where they saw balance, they created inequity.
It didn't have to be that way.
Of course, we can't know for certain how a different election result would've changed history but yet we all know that a President Gore would never have invaded Iraq. A few hundred voters could have saved 100,000 Iraqi civilians, 5,000 Coalition solders and nearly a trillion American tax dollars.
How about a decade-long Afghanistan War, a repressive Patriot Act, an unfunded extension of Medicare, a far-right faction on the Supreme Court, debt-building tax cuts and the disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina? Again, we can't know know for certain what would be different but based on his record I'll be damned if Gore would have proceeded with the kinds of reckless disregard for country that Bush-Cheney did. And you can be assured that Romney-Ryan would be Bush-Cheney on steroids if elected.
Ask a Canadian suffering under an anti-democratic, dissent-stifling, deficit-spending regime about the importance of HOW you vote. 61% of us voted against against militarism, science-defunding and jail-building but because we're a four-party system the bad guys won.
Right-wing reactionary parties love the kind of 'glass-is-hall-full' pessimism, expressed in slogans like "If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal." They love seeing us dividing up over our pet issues and forming new parties. Hell, they helped get Ralph Nader on the ballot in many states because that aided their cause. The enemy of my enemy is my friend goes the old strategy. What's so sad, is how often the strategy works.
After all, if voting changes nothing, why do the richest spend so much money trying to buy elections?
So, if you'll indulge me (and I`m sure a few of you won`t), I'll ask you to at least consider the mistakes of your Canadian brethren. Your vote matters. Who you vote for matters too. A vote that empowers the people and hold back the plutocrats is never wasted. Then, with victory in hand, go to work against government surveillance, the unbalanced tax code, corporate deregulation, the drug war, defense spending et al from the bottom up.
After all, If we don't get it together, they'll tear us apart.
*If you're actually against outside interests being involved in American politics, please re-consider your support of Brits like Nial Fergusson, Canadians like David Frum and Australians like Rupert Murdoch who've dedicated their lives to electing Republicans.