Beverly Springer of Longmont, Colorado, wrote a letter to the editor of the Denver Post a week or so ago. In her letter she expressed her infallible and inerrant opinion, which nobody asked for by the way, that voting for a candidate who is neither a Republican nor a Democrat is a selfish act. But don't take my word for it. Here are her words: "We are in the midst of probably the ugliest presidential campaign on record. Neither of the top two candidates wears a halo. Understandably, people are turning away. Some people are taking satisfaction in planning to vote for a third-party candidate. They feel they are being good citizens by voting, but remain virtuous by not voting for either of the tarnished major candidates. In reality, they are being selfish. The candidate of one of the major parties is sure to win. The new administration will be composed of a flawed individual, but also of the policies promised in the election and of a psychological milieu generated during the campaign. The potential consequences for the next four years are enormous. Good citizens must recognize that they are not voting for a saint but for a government which most closely promises values that we can live with. A third-party vote truly is a vote for the major candidate whom you most oppose."
Bev, if I may call her that, makes a lot of assertions in her argument in support of her doctrine that all people who vote for someone other than a Democrat or a Republican are behaving selfishly. Let's consider each of her assertions in turn. But first, let me make clear precisely what Bev believes about you if you make the voluntary, moral and legal decision to vote for a third-party candidate. If you vote for a third-party candidate you:
- are aggrandizing yourself by taking satisfaction in your perception that what you are doing is a virtuous act when, in fact, it is not.
- are being selfish.
- are not being a good citizen of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika, whatever that means.
- are actually casting a vote for either Donnie or Hillary, depending upon which one of them you dislike the most. We have heard this argument before. I still don't understand how voting for someone is actually voting for someone else. Unfortunately Bev does not explain how this belief is true.
Bev believes that "neither candidate wears a halo." That is an interesting observation but tautological. For her observation to carry any weight she needs to show how at least one prior candidate wore a halo. As far as I am aware no prior candidate for the office of King of the SDA was cannonized as a saint by the Pope. It therefore follows that all candidates for the office of King were "flawed" men and her observation about Donnie and Hillary is irrelevant.
Bev displays her religious adoration for the Amerikan Empire and its sacrament of voting when she praises those who vote for third-party candidates for the fact that they are at least willing to engage in the sacrament of voting. She then goes on to express her disdain for those who refuse to vote for either a Democrat or a Republican. Her entire argument reminds me of the debates between the Lutherans and the Calvinists about what happens during the sacrament of communion. Both parties believed in the religious significance of communion but they could not come to terms about what actually was taking place while observing the sacrament.
Bev's slam dunk is in the middle of her letter where she declares all people who vote for a third-party candidate to be selfish. She then follows up that declaration with a series of assertions I believe are her best attempt to justify that view. Her primary argument is that "one of the major parties is sure to win." That is a most interesting assertion. How does she know that to be true? Furthermore, how can a candidate from a different party ever win an election if all the citizens of the land are required to vote for one of the two existing parties or risk being excommunicated for political selfishness? Where is it stated that each citizen must vote for a candidate in one of the two anointed political parties? In essence, Bev is making the argument that citizens who vote for third-party candidates are profaning the sacrament and should be punished for their sin. It is an interesting religious argument but her position should not be backed up with civil sanctions.
Bev loses me with her next argument. She writes that the winner in the race for King/Queen of the SDA will create an administration that will generate a "psychological milieu" which she believes will bring about the immediate destruction of the empire. As she writes, "the political consequences for the next four years are enormous." Why they are enormous she does not say. How they are enormous she does not describe. She also makes no attempt to define what a psychological milieu is. All that I can deduce from what Bev has written in this part of her letter is that she zealously holds to a religious view about voting and anyone who does not share her view is perceived as being dangerous to her religion and worthy of condemnation.
Bev goes on to inform those who would vote for a third-party candidate that they are bad citizens because they are not voting for a "government which most closely promises values that we can live with." I don't know who the "we" is that Bev is writing about but it most certainly does not include me. According to Bev, both the Democrat and Republican parties have a system of values that we can live with whereas the Libertarian party does not. Bev does not argue for this position, she merely assumes it.
If I had to pick a party that most closely approximates my take on the political universe it would be the Libertarians. Despite the many immoral positions in their political platform they are at least opposed to the principle of theft by majority vote (the main doctrine of the Democrats) and the expansion of the Amerikan Empire (the main doctrine of the Republicans). I guess that makes me selfish too.