There was a time when I did not used to vote. I felt that it was giving others undue authority over me if I participated in the system they established. I’m sure that many feel that way now, and if you happen to be of this mindset, I would ask you to reconsider the possibilities.
Having looked at the various isms that we are offered, I can say that I am mostly drawn toward anarchism. Some confuse the ideology with the anarchy that the Sex Pistols sang about or some hysterical, chaotic, madcap reality of utter craziness. Yet the roots of anarchism are more about the idea of self rule, giving people the power to make their own decisions and respecting their space to do so.
Over the course of the last 10,000 years or so, as we have developed the civilization we know, we have not had anarchism. We have constructed a number of hierarchies that have been ruled by kings, pharaohs, sultans, presidents, etc. But the American experiment was the first time in human history that we pushed the needle closer toward the idealism of true anarchy by embracing the notion of democracy.
Obviously, anarchy and democracy are not the same thing. Some would also argue that a republic and a democracy are not the same thing. However, if you are of the belief that the human species is, in fact, evolving toward something better, both a republic and democracy could be construed steps along the way.
While the American system is far from perfect… far, far from perfect, currently, it happens to be the only system in play. There was a time when I looked at the two-party debacle and saw no sign of hope for change at all. I thought that the system was rigged against us, and it may very well still be.
But I now at least can envision a possibility of what ranked choice voting could do. And although there are those out there who say it won’t happen in our lifetime, they are also most likely the same people who said we’d never be able to have legal marijuana or same-sex marriages. You never really know what’s possible until you strive for it.
I have considered the “third choice” possibility in our presidential race this year, but, as much as I resent that we have a system where the establishment only offers us two choices, I have come to accept the reality that it is the system we currently have and there really are only two choices. None of the “Third Parties” or write-in votes stand a chance, and they never have. However, considering the two choices we are given, I have to go with the one that will be most likely to help user in ranked choice voting.
My point is that if we can stand back and look at the system that we have across a long enough timeline, and we see how our human technologies have changed over the last 10,000 years, and how we want them to innovate with whatever future we still have to work with, as basic, simple, and paltry as our current system it, it very well could be a step along the way. While our “democracy” may not be a true democracy, and many are still as fearful of that notion as they are of anarchism, it we believe that we are here to participate in the betterment of our species, we may want to give some more pragmatic thought to how we can do that.
I fully understand those who don’t want to participate in a corrupt system and would rather not vote so that they aren’t contributing to the problem or don’t want to give the government authority over them by playing their game. I’ve been there, and many times a day I go back. However, those in power are going to do what they’re going to do with or without your input, and we happen to be in a time where the common person has more opportunity than ever before to weigh in on the government making the rules for them.
It can certainly be better, and one day, I hope that it is. But if we don’t use what we’ve got, as ineffective as this little tool can sometimes seem, how are we going to turn it into something better? For those who want true democracy, and those who can envision the evolution toward anarchism, if you’re not going to participate in what is, are you really ready to start asking “what if”?