Yes, I voted. Schlepped down to the polling place on Tuesday, presented my papers, and poked the screen until the machine informed me that I had successfully cast my ballot.
I even took one of those cheesy little “I Voted” stickers. Just one. On my way into the polling place, a toddler came bouncing out with one sticker on each hand. Yes, it’s a machine Democratic precinct — why do you ask?
The anarchist arguments against voting (“it only encourages them;” “if it changed anything, they’d make it illegal;” “it falsely legitimizes the system”) all strike me as sound, although Murray Rothbard’s “voting as self-defense” argument holds some water, too.
The “voting as self-defense” bit was part of what got me this time (this one last time, just this one last time, I keep promising myself).
Here in Missouri, Proposition C — a measure to nullify ObamaCare’s “individual mandate” — was on the ballot.
I personally and individually nullified the “individual mandate” nearly a year ago, before the bill even passed, by swearing to drop my health insurance and go to jail rather than pay a fine when/if it goes into effect. Proposition C, to my mind, represented an opportunity recruit a majority (that’s all I hoped for, anyway — it actually clocked in at over 70%!) of voting Missourians to have my back on the issue.
Voting as self-defense, see?
But really I’m just kidding myself. I voted for a lot of reasons, all of which really boil down to one: I’ve got a monkey on my back.
Have you ever tried to quit smoking? It may go well or badly in general, but once you’ve had the nicotine habit it’s always there to at least some degree. I’ve talked to “ex-smokers” who still get the craving 10, 20, 30 years later.
If you also happen to be a drinker, you’re going to constantly catch yourself thinking “you know, a cigarette would go really well with this Fat Tire®. How the hell can I drink a beer without a smoke?”
I had my “beer” on Monday when I had to drop in at the local election authority’s office to sign some paperwork — one of my duties as chair of my county’s Libertarian Party committee, a job I leave behind me without regrets next week.
Bam … off the wagon! One little sip of electoral involvement, next thing you know I’m blazing up a political Marlboro®.
I told myself it was about Proposition C. That I had an obligation to support Libertarian candidates whom I had recruited in contested primaries. That the act of voting bore no moral significance. That it was just an exercise in social camaraderie.
But I took a long, long shower when I got home.
At the end of the day, I understand that voting not only changes nothing, but reinforces the putative legitimacy of an evil system which I’ve dedicated my life to dismantling.
The first step in recovery is admitting that you have a problem.
Hello. I’m Tom, and I’m a voter.