Opinion

Election gives the illusion we have options | Commentary

As the 2012 election nears, I find myself more and more depressed by the lack of actual choice that is being offered to the voters. The issues that matter most to me are never even discussed. Where is climate change? Poverty and homelessness? The endless wars that we can’t pay for? Taxing the rich?

Both major parties have sunk gradually into a state of slavish adoration of the multinational corporations and the 1 percent, lured there by the endless fund of donations that pay for their campaigns. The media is fed lavishly on those donations, selling millions of dollars worth of attack ads that make no sense at all and are largely based on lies, distortions and misdirection.

I really envy those European countries with seven or eight parties and a lot of debate about ideas and directions. But we are a country with 60 different kinds of snack crackers, but only two political parties.

What’s a voter to do? I, for one, am a Green Party advocate and vote for our third party candidate when I can. It’s a little bit of a relief.

I know it’s futile — shut out of the fundraising tsunamis, third parties are competitors in name only. Our Green Party candidates can never participate in any of the debates and are routinely arrested for even trying to sit in the audience. They are released later, but the point is made. The American public is only allowed to hear about certain corporate-approved issues.

I know that many of us are afraid of somehow tipping the election in the wrong direction by abandoning the majors and going for a minor choice. In Washington state, that is at most a miniscule concern, at least for the presidential race.

The latest New York Times estimate places the probability of an Obama victory in Washington at 99.7 percent. Neither party is campaigning here — the Romney people have written it off, and the Obama people are taking it for granted. They only come here to fundraise.

So your vote for either Obama or Romney is a wasted vote. Romney won’t win in Washington state and Obama won’t lose, no matter what you do. So have some fun. Maybe your protest vote will help the two majors to wake up a little. Probably not, but it’s worth a try. Maybe a Libertarian, Socialist or Justice Party candidate is more to your liking. Pick a maverick that fits your views and pull the lever. It feels good.

 

— Islander Steve Graham is a retired University of Washington computer manager.

 

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