Wednesday, September 28, 2016

My Political Thought since July 4th

As a working musician, I've had a very busy schedule this summer and, as such, blogging has taken a real back seat. But several of my friends and acquaintances have asked me to clarify and add to my political opinions recently. On social media, I have become a rather vocal proponent for vocal voter abstention, while demanding reform of our system. A very good friend recently challenged me to consider our duty as voters. I feel this is a very important topic, and while time constraints preclude properly written posts, here are some quotes pulled from my Facebook posts and correspondence that might help clarify my evolving position.

From a Facebook Post published earlier this summer:

One of the most remarkable accomplishments of the American two-party system is that it has managed to convince both ordinary liberals and ordinary conservatives of mediocre intellect (or less) that they are in fact extraordinary, highly intelligent, intellectually superior to those who disagree with them, original, and individualistic, when in fact they are uniform, unimaginative, predictable, and allow themselves to be ushered down a predetermined path on borrowed ideas they assume are their own. Almost none of them step back and question the fundamental assumptions of the system itself, and almost none of them ever realize that along with a manipulation of their ideals, self-image, employment circumstances, and fears, they are being mostly used for raw power on both sides (which don't look much different from each other, and who do basically the same things when they acquire power).


From a July 4th Facebook Post:

At Mass yesterday, "America the Beautiful" was the recessional. We were at a parish where just about nobody sings anything, which is always awkward for a musical family, as we tend to sing everything...or at least the Dad of the family does (which probably embarrasses my kids). When in those silent parish situations, I try to sing anyway, but very softly (Mass isn't supposed to be a solo performance, and I have neither ax to grind nor point to make...just trying to lift my soul). Now I'm okay with "America the Beautiful", for what it's worth, as a's alright...not great, but hey...still, when we got to:

"O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
Whose stern impassion’d stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!"

...I couldn't do it. I'm just not going to sing that. The history isn't anywhere near that pretty, and to sing it would make me nauseous. So I stopped. Oddly enough, behind us, bellowing away with a full, excellent sounding voice, was a guy who hadn't sung a word the entire Mass. He and his family sang every verse of this tune, though, with zest--as did perhaps a majority, finally, of this chronically silent parish. On his way out, the zealous patriot glared at me.
I've never glared at anyone for not singing the Gloria or the Sanctus, which, to my mind are infinitely more important (and more to the point, speak directly to the reason we're there on Sunday). Seems to me, people ought to make sure they know what they're actually worshiping. The worship of America is a pretty bad idea.

From a July Facebook Post, in response to a question from a friend about the efficacy of voter abstention:

From my point of view, neither Clinton and Trump, nor Democrats and Republicans, can be considered opposites in any meaningful sense of the word. Both are dominated by materialistic outlooks, both are ultimately militaristic parties, and even if they protest they aren't materialists in philosophic sheen, they are in practice. (If we judge by their fruits, we're looking at the same poisonous tree). 

To answer your questions about abstaining, and whether it is selfish or has any efficacy... Hypothetically speaking, if the choice is between Hitler and Stalin, abstaining is the only moral option, in my opinion--a refusal to give the election legitimacy is the only card left the moral voter. And while I wouldn't say we're forced into a Hitler or Stalin choice, exactly, both choices this year are so immoral I might as well be in that situation. To vote for a third party candidate would only be to validate the system another way. So, for me, it's not selfish but the the only moral choice. (I realize this thinking isn't likely to be popular, but I've never worried about that). 

Now, as to whether abstaining 'accomplishes' anything. In a practical, outward political sense, maybe not. But as a psychologically and morally freeing factor in an individual sense, I've already felt its positive effects. Since my 'Declaration of Independence' on July 4th, I've felt more free to comment on the injustices I see, because I'm not bound to defend the immoralities of either party which by voting for we all invested in, to some degree or another. I'm no longer engaging in the false hopes extended by these intensely dishonest parties in this rigged, dishonest system. What if everyone else made this choice? Then we might get somewhere on a societal level and it WOULD have an impact. But even if I persuade exactly no one to join me in moral withholding of their vote, *I* am more free...and even one person thinking and acting more freely in this society is a net gain.

[To be continued....]

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