INVEST Your Vote

In a fit of electoral frustration from the fact that there are major candidates that I DON’T want to win, but not a major candidate that I actually WANT to win, my brain snapped and I went on a political rant about the concept of INVESTING YOUR VOTE instead of “wasting” it by voting for someone you don’t actually want to win.

The premise is simple: You get an accumulated return on investment if you vote for a party or person that you actually WANT to win. It probably won’t pay off today, but after a few elections and some marketing of the idea it could.

To summarize the rest of this post, here are my basic personal political beliefs:

(1) The Constitution is a great idea.  We should try living by it sometime. 

(2) The job of the government is to protect the people from outside forces, not to control them. 

(3) Taking care of the people is the job of the people, not of the government. 

(4) Any organization will attempt to increase it’s power until it reaches “absolute power” and will resist all attempts to restrain it.

(5) Individuals should be free to choose their own actions, be responsible and accountable for their own actions, and accept the repercussions of those actions.

Put those together and you can probably project my opinion on pretty much any topic.

[Clarification: When I speak of “government” in the general sense, I am speaking of it at the Federal level]

That being said, I just took The World’s Smallest Political Quiz, which tells you where you basically fall in the political question with just 10 questions.  I ended pretty firmly in the Libertarian camp, though I am not affiliated with the party.

Fortunately, they seem to have the basic ideas that I support.  Unfortunately, the very principles that make them attractive to me are the very qualities that prevent them from becoming a major political force.  Sort of like Wicca in the religious arena, the very “decentralized power” structure it is based up is antithical to it obtaining sufficient power to make the changes you want to make.

That being said, I’d like to offer some strategies that might help alternative parties, whatever they may be, to obtain at least enough power to weaken the major parties that they compete against.  Quite frankly I’m not worried about diluting the election for either party, as neither major party supports the 5 beliefs I described above (or lacks the conviction to support them) and I think that they are both screwed up, unsustainable in the medium-to-long-term and are doomed to failure (at least from the perspective of a citizen that wants to live in a free country) in their current forms.  That being said, here’s my suggestion to counter some of the usual full-of-crap rhetoric.

Full of crap rhetoric #1:

“Don’t Waste Your Vote” – This is stupidest thing you could possibly say to a voter, so of course the major political parties say it often enough that people start to believe it.  The only way you could possibly waste your vote is to: (1) Don’t Vote or (2) Vote for someone you don’t want to actually win.  Here’s my counter-proposal that I hereby release to the public domain in the hopes that some other political party or organization will pick it up and run with it:

INVEST YOUR VOTE! 

Let’s accept the fact that if you vote for a third party candidate (whatever the party may be) they are pretty certain not to win the election.  But don’t think of it as a wasted vote, think of it as an INVESTED VOTE.

What is an investment?  It is something small that you put away now and don’t use in the hopes that it will grow into something more useful and powerful in the future.  And that is exactly what INVEST YOUR VOTE means to do.  You take your vote and you invest it in a third-party candidate.  Do this repeatedly each election cycle, and watch how your interest compounds, just like money would.

Let’s look at what happens when you and others invest their votes:

1) A third party gets a larger portion of the vote (would be a small increase each time, but would be cumulative)

2) As more people see that they are getting a larger share of the vote each election, others will be more likely to vote for them as well (since they won’t be “throwing away their vote” if a candidate could actually win (but they should still read this to understand it’s not “throwing it away”)

3) As more votes are acquired by candidates, it makes it easier to get on the election rolls in more election districts, which further increases the opportunity for those parties to get even more votes, as they are now on more ballots.

4) The time, effort and money usually spent just trying to third-party candidates onto the ballots can now be spent actually campaigning for their party and increasing issue awareness, instead of just trying to collect enough signatures to get them listed on the ballots.

5) As third-party candidates become more viable and more present in ballot rolls across the country, more people will vote for them (repeat from step 1)

6) As they get on more rolls, the press will cover them in more detail, which will even further raise awareness of them and their issues

7) The additional press coverage will increase likelyhood of getting even more votes (return to step 1)

8) As these candidates are now being covered in the press, their positions will also be covered

9) As actual positions and policies are being discussed now, instead of just the usual “I’m better than them” two-party rhetoric, the main parties will also be forced to discuss actual issues, and we can get more of a sense of where they actually stand on things.

10) Third party candidates will be able to participate in mass-media public forums like debates, which will raise their visibility even more

11) The more visible they are, the more likely people are to see them as being worthy of casting their vote for them (repeat at step 1)

12) The more likely the party is of actually winning, the more high-quality and high-profile candidates they will have an option of selecting from to represent their party

13) The higher-quality and higher-profile the candidate is, the more press they will get, the more likely they are to get even more votes (return to step 1)

14) Throughout the process, as third-party candidates become progressively more likely to win, more people are likely to donate (invest) money in their campaigns

15) With more money in the campaigns, they will be able to campaign and market and compete even better (return to step 1)
14) Eventually, as enough people realize that their vote actually can make a difference, their votes WILL make a difference.

Side Effects:

Even if a third-party candidate never actually gets elected, it will still have positive side effects:

1) Candidates will be compelled to actually discuss relevant issues if they want to get votes

2) Candidates will have to worry about their actual positions and think them through as opposed to just saying “I’m not like HIM!”

3) Candidates will realize that they actually have a legitimate threat and that they need to be responsive to their constituency if they want to stay employed.

I hope that if you aren’t in love with either of the major candidates, you will consider INVESTING your vote for future return.

Some relevant bumper sticker wisdom to help drive the point home:

  “If you choose the lesser of two evils, you have still chosen EVIL.”

  “Satan for President, when you’re tired of voting for the LESSER of two evils.”

The point is, if you are tired of voting for someone you don’t actually WANT to win, then invest your vote in someone who might win in the future.

If you don’t invest, you are guaranteed to never see a return on what you have now.

And what you have now is your vote.

Please feel free to forward this to anyone you might think may be interested. Copy and paste it if you like, or forward them this link: http://www.aPath.org/investyourvote.html and they can view it here.


This was taken from a post I originally made in my personal blog. Here is a bunch of additional commentary based on comments received in the original post. Feel free to comment in in the blog or in the forums here.


These are my initial thoughts based on my 6 minutes of deep meditation while I was checking my other emails:

> Define outside forces.

By this, yes, I pretty much had ‘other countries’ or ‘other organizations based outside of the USA.’

> In which case are you saying that the government has no role in protecting people from each other?

What my rant was actually about, and I’ll probably try to clear it up, is regarding the FEDERAL government.

To answer your questions, I feel that the federal government should do as little as possible, just enough to keep the USA from being attacked, conquered or dissolved. Beyond that it should mediate (not dictate) issues between individual states, and other than that pretty much shut the hell up and leave the states alone to do what they want.

I believe that protecting people from each other is a state issue.

The benefit of having states in the first place as opposed to one big “State of the USA” (oxymoron, I know) is that it provides a “free market” of laws that citizens can choose to select from. Think taxes are too high in Maryland, move to Delaware. Think medicinal marijuana should be legal, go to California. People are different, and it is foolish to think that everybody will be best served by a single set of laws that apply to the entire nation. By giving states their own control over their own laws, you create the free market of laws for individuals to choose from. You want a nanny state, go live there. You want to be pretty much left alone, go live there.

Everybody gets a choice to find their own “best mix” of laws and legislation. By making almost every law a federal issue, you completely destroy the point of having states in the first place. It is the same reason that a one-world-government would not work well, because a single set of laws simply can’t govern all people effectively without suppressing individuals’ rights and expressions.


> If you grant that there should be protections from other people trying to harm you or your property, shouldn’t this extend to protections from businesses and corporations trying to do the same?

Yes it should, again on a state-by-state basis. Business, like natural life, is darwinian despite our attempts not to believe it. If a business abuses it’s local area, the local area will fight it, either locally or at higher level: county or state. When I was a kid I helped defeat a number of locally harmful laws that were proposed that my parents objected to. And it worked. Because it was at the scope we could easily affect.

“But wait”, you say, “if we pass one law at the federal level it fixes it for everybody!”. Great in theory, but generally false in practice.

Let’s take our evil multinational corporation, XYZ Corp. Money buys influence. Influence buys power. Power gets you what you want.

If you choose to fight it on the federal level (which I’ve already said we shouldn’t do in the first place, but I’ll go on for purposes of explaination) then XYZ Corp has a single battle to wage, a battle which it is far more capable of winning because it has a small number of decision makers who are generally easily influenced by money, which XYZ Corp has in droves. It also has professional lobbyists on it’s payroll, which know the system better than us individuals do.

Quite simply, the deck is stacked against We, The People.

Now let’s look at it from the other perspective: Local Authority.

If the local government has the authority to have the final say on things, this means that XYZ Corp is now faced with trying to persuade people who actually live in the areas that they want to evil-ify. Much less likely to happen.

Additionally, they have to fight EACH locality to get what they want, which dilutes their influence greatly, makes it fight on multiple fronts, and generally makes things harder for them.

I want to say at this point that I am NOT anti-business. In fact, I have run my own business for 10 years and it has been my primary livelihood. So I don’t say these things as a knee-jerk-business-hating-extremist. I live on both sides of the issues, and understand how things work pretty well.

Which then takes me to another point. The fact that there is such a “single-source authority” for the whole country (the Fed govt) it allows compaies to become huge monstrous beasts much more easily, as there is simply less to do. By having to deal with localities as a course of business, it makes it harder to do business over large markets spanning multiple jurisdictions.

While this may sound like a bad thing, it is actually a good thing in that it encourages the growth of small, locally owned and operated businesses that actually care about the community they are in. Revenue is more likely to stay within the community and the local economy will be stronger for it.

True, prices may be a bit higher, but if the money stays in the local economy (rather than going to Bank of XYZ Corp in some other state or country) it will make the general economy stronger, which will pretty much even-out the price differences.


> At what age does this start? At birth?

This, too, should be decided at the State level. Quite simply, not everybody agrees with any particular answer, so we create a free market where people can decide the environment that they choose to live in.

> Do parents own their children to a certain age

Let me make a very important point here:

YOU DO NOT OWN YOUR CHILDREN.

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DOES.

This is a point of law, not of opinion. This is the legal premise through which social service agencies can come into your house and take your children from you, even with no evidence beyond an anonymous tip if they so choose.

Furthermore, YOU DO NOT OWN YOU, either. The FEDERAL GOVERNMENT does. This is the legal premise that allows them to imprison you against your will.

YOU DO NOT OWN *ANYTHING*. THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DOES. This is the premise through which income tax, property tax and all other forms of government control are exerted.

Your family has had a farm for the last 100 years, you can’t make property taxes on it, the government takes it from you. Because you don’t actually own it.

You are simply a steward for the government, allowed the use of property until the government sees a reason to take it from you.

Got a nice house where you’ve lived since birth? Too bad it’s where the government wants to put a new street. They claim “imminent domain” and can reclaim their property from you against your will, usually with a token “payment” that is not suitable compensation for your loss.

You live at the whim of your government. If you have something that they want, they can take it, and it will be supported by law if they do it correctly.

This is not how it is supposed to be.

> with no basic rules to how they should treat them?

Do you want the government to raise your kids? What are the odds that a someone other than a parent will do a better job. True, there is absolutely no guarantee that a parent will do their job well, but they are more likely to do it well than someone who didn’t birth them. Just look at all the cases of elderly/prisoner/child/patient abuse that goes on everywhere someone is in authority and power over someone less powerful.

I have seen few (if any) positive things that government does better than individuals or small groups doing on a social level.


If anybody does anything wrong nowadays, they get put into a large generally uncaring legal system that processes crimes and assigns people periods of time to be put away from society.

This system has not been a resounding success, to say the least.

Justice at the local level, probably with state oversight seems to be the answer to me.

Operating at a community level, communities will protect themselves from predators, abusers, etc. far more effectively than they will be protected by an uncaring legal machine.

By putting power back into local communities, there will be more focus on the community itself, since that is where the power will be.

To illustrate this point, you probably know all kinds of things about the two main presidential candidates, but how much do you know about your local Town Commissioner, the Sheriff or your County Council or state’s representatives?

If the power was restored to the local community, you would start “thinking locally” again, because that was where the power is. And you have a much louder voice with a local politician than you do with a national one, which increases your personal power, which increases your attention to what you do with it.

With increased community focus, the “sense of community” will grow again, and people will actually start to care about what their neighbors think again.

And you can start to control your own lives again, instead of having the legality of how you live dictated from afar.

True, some communities will go ultra-conservative and you might not want to live there anymore. However, there will also be communities going moderately conservative, centrist, liberal, or ultra-liberal and just about every other combination that you will be able to relocate to if needed.

If you’re concerned that money to move is an issue, if you’re an ultra-conservative living in mega-liberal land, they’ll likely take up a collection and pay for you to get away.

Free market politics.


> Speaking of which I don’t see anything in your tenets that would lead to protecting children from abuse. Once you have a kid, you can do whatever you want to it, right?

If you put the power and authority to respond to a situation back in the hands of the people that actually care about it, it WILL be taken care of.

Like I said, I take a distinctly un-politically-correct view on what I see as Darwinian issues. If there is a problem with child abusers f’ing up our gene pool, I quite simply have no problem removing them from it.

Abuse is highly contagious, and whoever is abused stands a higher chance of becoming an abuser in the future.

If you can identify an abuser, remove them from society in whatever means is viewed by the locality as appropriate. It is their community, they have a right to protect it. To take it to the extreme, I have no problem with declaring child abuse a capital crime. It is one of the few crimes that has effects for generatations and ripples out across family lines and as such should be treated as one of the most severe offenses possible.

The abused should then be cared for lovingly and try to help them get over the abuse issues, helping them understand what happened and try to heal the wounds as much as possible so that they don’t perpetuate the cycle in their unresolved pain. (Yeah, this is a simplistic discussion, but I don’t have all day to write).

Abuse as a topic should be discussed openly to remove it’s taboo nature that keeps people from revealing it. It should be very plainly stated that “Abuser = Bad Person” and “Abused = Victim” and support should be provided accordingly. By providing an enviroment supportive of the abused instead of protecting the abuser it will make it harder for the abusers and predators to “hide in the shadows”.


> I don’t get this one at all. Yes, it’s true, but what are you suggesting is the consequence. That you shouldn’t even try to restrain it? That seems inherently dangerous.

This is simply a statement of fact, that people are often not consicously aware of.

By stating this, I mean to say that self-limiting controls should be built into power structures to keep itself from getting out of control.

We, in theory, have this in our political system now, but a variety of laws, mechanisms of control and checks and balances have been conviently ignored by those in power in order to increase their power further.

There needs to be more watchdogging of the checks and balances, and more ability to restrain organizations that overstep their bounds.

This is, again, best done at the local level where each citizen’s voice carries the most weight compared to all other political arenas.


> then you will end up with people making what look to others like bad choices

This is exactly the point that I am trying to make. We have government programs that supposedly are designed to help people “make the right choices”. The problem is exactly what you said: “people making what look to others like bad choices” but are the best choice for them in their situation.

Beaurocrats simply aren’t capable of making appropriate choices for people living in situations that they do not understand. Yet they persist in doing so.

> Programs that help people have better choices available to them will ultimately lead to a better society with lower crime.

Agreed. However, I don’t think that most govt programs are actually helping people. Welfare, for example, substitutes reliance on govt handouts for going out and working hard. If you’re on welfare, and get a job, the welfare stops. What incentive is there to work if you end up making less money working than staying home?

Aside from that, it is quite simply not the govt’s job to take care of you. It is the community’s. Churches and other citizen groups have taken care of the poor and needy far better than government ever has for years, and they did it because they actually cared, not because it was their job.

Ironically, by creating the public welfare system, it made the apparent need for people to fund their local churches and other groups seem redundant, and yet again a crappy misguided govt program managed to replace something that was working well with something that exchanged cash for votes.

If you do away with govt welfare, return the taxed money that funds the programs to the people, they will be able to fund their local outreach programs which will do a far more effective job at helping to get people out of bad situations, rather than simply sustaining them in it.


> if we agree that the government should protect people’s lives and property from one another

I don’t agree that it the Fed’s job to protect people from each other.

It is the Fed’s job to protect the nation from other nations and external threats, and possibly one state from another.

It is the role of the local community first, then the state to provide the individual level of security between people (and companies).

> then allowing the government to do things the would proactively provide that protection is good, since prevention is always better than cure.

This makes the (I believe faulty) assumption that the government can do anything better than involved, concerned groups of citizens acting locally.

Prevention is usually better than cure, but many times preventive action is far less efficient than prompty and well-focused cure. For example, I don’t wear gloves all the time to prevent me from getting a splinter, because the cure, though often unpleasant, is much more efficient than wearing protection contantly.

General preventive actions are often tremendously resource-intensive and can not be maintained with adequate vigilance. As a social example, having a police officer on every corner would be an effective preventive action, at least for a while. However, the “cure” of having someone respond to a crime and properly punish the wrongdoer so that others learn that the cost outweighs the benefit of the crime would be a more effective long term solution, which would be a preventative for the future with zero additional cost.


>> “If you choose the lesser of two evils, you have still chosen EVIL.”

> So, you’re restrained and you have someone standing in front of you who offers you a choice: “He will either poke out your eyes or he will stomp hard on your foot. If you don’t choose, he will, but one of them is going to happen.

Let me put this in a metaphysical perspective.

If I ask you to choose if you’d like me to poke out your eyes, or stomp on your foot, I am asking you to give consent for one action or the other.

You still may have no actual control over what I do in a situation, but if you select one option, you have CONSENTED to having it done to you. There is no positive reason for you to consent to be harmed in either way.

There are people who won’t harm another without consent, but once that consent is given, however oddly or while under duress it may be, they feel free to act. This is also seen in rapes where the attacker will ask if the victim enjoys it, because it creates an implied consent that eases their conscience.

To give consent to be abused, however inappropriately it may be, gives away some of your power.

I say: Don’t give it away.

> Do you still sit there insisting that you don’t want either of those and you’d rather have ice cream, even if you believe that eventually you will get your ice cream?

Yes, you do.

If you keep asking for ice cream, you refuse to consent for the other to harm you, and you may, in fact, actually get your ice cream and not get harmed.

In your own words, “I’ve found if you ask for what you want, you are far more likely to get it”.

The corollary is “If you don’t ask for what you don’t want, you are far less likely to get it” too.


> What you really need to do is make an intelligent choice now and work on escaping. Escaping, in this context, means changing the electoral system to make it easier for non-major party candidates to win.

On this point, I completely agree with you.

If you don’t like how the game is played, try to change the rules.

Your idea of a “checkbox style ballot” where you check off the one or more candidates that you would support is a great idea, so you are actually voting FOR people instead of AGAINST them. Tally up everybody’s check marks, the most votes wins. Great idea.

Unfortunately, the “dark side” is also working to change the rules with black-box electronic voting systems with little oversight, few fail-safes and little or no auditability or accountability. See http://www.truevotemd.org/ for more information on what’s happening here in Maryland.

So, once again, it is a matter of “the big boys” trying to change the rules from the top (where almost all rules come from nowadays) at the Fed level, while us citizens try to fight from the bottom up (localities, where the real power SHOULD be).

> you can eventually have what you want without sacrificing the present for the future.

Investment IS sacrificing the present for a better future.

Look for an opportunity for rapid change, but plan on changing things over time. They got bad over time, and unless they get so terrible that people finally revolt in one form or another, it will take a long time to make them slowly get good again.


Okay, this concludes this second phase of my political rantings.

I wanted to point out that I don’t really give a damn about politics, except when they restrict how we as humans may express ourselves, and thereby inhibit our spiritual growth.

Since this whole thread seems radically out of place on this blog, I wanted to explain why I felt it was important enough to write, and the spiritual context that I write it from.

The basic social units are: Self, Family, Community, Culture, State, Nation, Planet.

The expression of free will should start at the Self level and percolate up. The current political trend seems to be the reverse of that, with the Nation specifying what forms of expression are acceptable and imposing those artificial rules on the social units below it. This causes friction and pressure as it is against the natural order of things (as I see it).

While accommodations are usually made by the smaller social units to integrate into the larger ones, such accomodation should be a matter of compromise, not surrender.

And the current political scene seems to require increasing levels of surrender each year in order to be “a good American”. I feel this is wrong, and have written this piece to try to present an alternative viewpoint that both makes sense and is attainable though combined effort.

– Brian

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