Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 6th Nov 2012 11:37 UTC
In the News "This election won't hinge on technology issues. Just look at prevailing discussions this year at the national level: major candidates have sparred over Iran's nuclear ambitions, the role of government, inane comments on the female body, and to nobody's surprise, the economy. Despite that fact, many decisions will be taken up by the next US president and those in Congress that will affect the world of tech, and by consequence, the real lives of citizens and human beings around the world - from alternative energy, to the use of killer drones, the regulation of wireless spectrum, and policies that aim to control content on the internet. Your chance to vote is just around the corner. Here's what's at stake in tech this election, and how the major candidates could influence our future." Happy voting, American readers. Whatever you pick, please take at least a few minutes to consider that the implications of your choice do not end at the US border.
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Voting
by darknexus on Tue 6th Nov 2012 12:08 UTC
darknexus
Member since:
2008-07-15

If you believe, even for a second, that your chance to vote means anything in our government, then I urge you to read up on how our election system works. The most power you have is at the local level. That's all the power you get. The President is not chosen by your vote, but by the votes of the electorals. Once the President is chosen, he or she gets to appoint whomever they want to various positions of power. You do not get to vote on the supreme court justices. You do not get to vote on the chairman of the FCC. You do not get to vote on our economic plan, nor do you get to vote on our foreign affairs policies, nor on our net neutrality policy (if we ever get one). I wish people would stop trying to promote this theater bullshit but, then again, that's exactly why we do it. They make you think you have enough power to pacify you and, while the people sit smugly in their homes going "hey, I voted," they're going to do whatever the blazes they want and you, my friends, have no choice. Enjoy it.

Reply Score: 8

RE: Voting
by leech on Tue 6th Nov 2012 12:33 in reply to "Voting"
leech Member since:
2006-01-10

I was going to add a +1 to this, but there is an inaccurate, but no 'extra accurate'! Seriously I tell people similar when I say I don't vote, and they come back with "well even if you don't vote FOR something, you should vote AGAINST something!" and I say, "it doesn't matter what you vote for.

As you said, it's the illusion of power. As Tyler Durden says, "An exit strategy at 30,000 feet. The illusion of safety."

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE: Voting
by earksiinni on Tue 6th Nov 2012 12:42 in reply to "Voting"
earksiinni Member since:
2009-03-27

Fellow citizens,

Instead of whining, get out and VOTE!

See you at the polls!

(P.S.: We can learn from the rest of the world and vote not for the candidate but for the party. OP is correct that the important positions in the bureaucracy are unelected, but guess who staffs them? Partisans. So, vote for the party that matches your policy preferences instead of the candidate who you think has the "right policy", which will change anyhow once he's no longer campaigning. Countries with parliamentary systems know this well, but we're still in love with Washington and his Farewell Address...it's a partisan world, so get engaged!)

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE: Voting
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 6th Nov 2012 12:43 in reply to "Voting"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

While this is most likely true from everything I've read and know about the US electoral system, the fact is still that at least it's *something*. I'm just as cynical about voting in The Netherlands, but I dutifully do it anyway, including all the proper research about what I believe is best for the country first, and best for me and the people close to me second.

My vote may not have meaning in the grand scheme of things, but at least I did all I could do as a regular citizen.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Voting
by Chrispynutt on Tue 6th Nov 2012 13:01 in reply to "RE: Voting"
Chrispynutt Member since:
2012-03-14

Yeah, at least you are holding up your end of the bargain.

That's how I feel about the UK now. I don't like any of them, but I can at least see what they have all been like when in power.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Voting
by Alfman on Tue 6th Nov 2012 16:57 in reply to "RE: Voting"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Thom Holwerda,

Yea, the trouble is while not all US voters care about all issues, those who *do* care will never even get a chance to vote on them. US voters get blamed for everything: coercive foreign policy, killer drones, impeding alternative energy, abusive & ridiculous patent litigation, bad DMCA copyright laws, corporate control over government, internet/device rights, etc. But voters, even ones who are educated, didn't vote for those things at all, they never had an opportunity to.

The democracy practised in the US is too hollow, in part because US politics are about wealth and influence more than representing the public.

http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2008/11/money-wins-white-house-and....

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE: Voting
by LighthouseJ on Tue 6th Nov 2012 14:42 in reply to "Voting"
LighthouseJ Member since:
2009-06-18

Comments like yours usually sound conspiratorial, but the real quarrel you have is with the 'representative democracy' that the United States has in place.

To go to the other extreme, do you want a direct democracy where the entire populous pours over all of the legislation written and makes all of the votes on various bills?

I think there should be a happy medium to engage the public on more issues on a more regular basis, on an either binding or non-binding tally of what the People decide.
Your other comment about our government representatives doing whatever they want stems from the lack of civic participation in what our government does. The check and balance of voting out the bums based on their vote is diminished these days, so I think engaging the public more often I think would force our representatives to become more responsible by votes that we don't make would be under a bigger microscope.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Voting
by darknexus on Tue 6th Nov 2012 16:04 in reply to "RE: Voting"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Comments like yours usually sound conspiratorial, but the real quarrel you have is with the 'representative democracy' that the United States has in place.

You're absolutely right, because the representative part is long gone. I also have an issue with career politicians, as this concept by its very existence negates good representation. What we have is a system where the politicians' goal is simply to stay in power and to climb higher. The higher they climb, the more money they make and the more they can influence the laws, the more money they make. Essentially, being a representative politician has turned into yet another career, rather than having any pretense of service to the people. This is not dissimilar to the situation in many of the large, organized religions and the clergy that now control them. We've turned our government into a career rather than an extension of the will of the people, and a lot of us here simply do not understand this or refuse to see it. That is my problem with the system. A career government breeds career politicians, and here's the result. It now no longer matters whom you vote for, for the simple reason that their interest is not to support the will of the people, but to get the people to support the will of the government and to bring as many people into said government as possible. This is why our country tries to be the world police. Do you think most of us want that? Trust me on this, we don't, but the career politicians do. More policing, more money. See the connection now?
The system needs to be balanced. At the moment, the power is all on one side, and as a result, the checks and balances that we have are ineffective. The only people who can interfere with the politicians are either the supreme court judges (appointed by said politicians) or other politicians. A direct democracy is out of the question. We are simply too large for that. What I think we should do is, each politician (or group of politicians) submits their plan for their term. What are they going to do, how are they going to do it, why do they wish it. The individuals names would *not* be put on said plan. What we need to do is take away the idea of voting for individuals. We need to be able, in broad terms at least, to vote for the issues or plan we want done. In other words, I'd really like to see a shift away from the individual politician and back to the issues themselves.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE: Voting
by Flatland_Spider on Tue 6th Nov 2012 16:32 in reply to "Voting"
Flatland_Spider Member since:
2006-09-01

The most power you have is at the local level.


This is true, and it's why decentralization of power is so important to making the US government work.

Once the President is chosen, he or she gets to appoint whomever they want to various positions of power.


Many of them have to be approved by Congress, and you can contact your representative and voice your concern.

You do not get to vote on our economic plan, nor do you get to vote on our foreign affairs policies, nor on our net neutrality policy (if we ever get one).


Economic plan and a net neutrality policy are functions of Congress, and you can contact your representative to voice your concerns.

The President does get a free hand in Foreign policy, but all treaties have to be ratified by Congress. You can contact your representative...

If I'm sounding like a broken record, it's because voting is only a small piece of the puzzle, that ultimately doesn't matter much in a national election due to scale.

People think they can vote, and they don't have to do anything until the next election. Unfortunately, people have to stay actively involved in all levels of government to get one that works for them, even if people who don't vote.

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." -- Edmund Burke

"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." -- Wendell Phillips

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE[2]: Voting
by Tuishimi on Tue 6th Nov 2012 20:49 in reply to "RE: Voting"
Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

Ah! Another libertarian? I really wish we could shake up the 2 party system in place. I vote for libertarians locally whenever I get the chance, but... they rarely, if ever, make it into office. It HAS to be a democrat or republican... anyone else are crazy fringe politicians... (or at least that seems to be the mindset).

Sometimes it all feels hopeless.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Voting
by demetrioussharpe on Thu 8th Nov 2012 14:16 in reply to "RE: Voting"
demetrioussharpe Member since:
2009-01-09

Many of them have to be approved by Congress, and you can contact your representative and voice your concern.


A process that's completely circumvented since presidents more routinely use executive agreements with foreign leaders. Executive agreements don't have to be approved by anyone. In fact, congress requests that the presidents at least give them copies so that they'll know that's going on; but that's just a request, the president doesn't actually HAVE to do so.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Voting
by kenji on Tue 6th Nov 2012 17:45 in reply to "Voting"
kenji Member since:
2009-04-08

The President is not chosen by your vote, but by the votes of the electorals.


And who appoints the electorates? *Voters do.* Stop spreading ignorance.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Voting
by demetrioussharpe on Thu 8th Nov 2012 14:21 in reply to "RE: Voting"
demetrioussharpe Member since:
2009-01-09

"The President is not chosen by your vote, but by the votes of the electorals.


And who appoints the electorates? *Voters do.* Stop spreading ignorance.
"

You should check your facts more carefully. In "winner take all" states, the winning party gets all of those electoral college votes. Well, guess what, there're states that historically vote one way or the other, based on the culture of that state. Unless you live in a swing state, your vote doesn't matter. There's not a snowball's chance in hell of a Republican carrying California or a Democrat carrying Texas. So, if you're a Democrat in Texas, then your vote means nothing. It's the same if you're a Republican in Cali.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Voting is Power... even if it's imperfect
by benali72 on Tue 6th Nov 2012 18:24 in reply to "Voting"
benali72 Member since:
2008-05-03

@darknexus, you seem not to understand how the electoral college works. Your vote chooses the electors for your state, who are bound to vote for the presidential candidate for whom you voted.

More importantly, your cynicism leads you to believe exactly what those in power would like you to believe -- that you shouldn't vote because your vote is worthless.

One vote isn't worth much, but in the aggregate, yes, they can change things.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Voting
by Luminair on Tue 6th Nov 2012 20:34 in reply to "Voting"
Luminair Member since:
2007-03-30

the power of the president is over-stated. over-hyped. but it is still a very important vote. a vote for and win by one side will cause laws to be made that are anti-abortion anti-women anti-gay anti-poor pro-rich. there are distinct real world differences between the two presidential candidates.

ps: imagine if the system wasn't broken and you could choose from more than 2 people. johnson and stein are good people with good ideas. there are more than 2 choices for president, but you can only choose from 2. how does that make any sense. broken

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Voting
by demetrioussharpe on Thu 8th Nov 2012 14:10 in reply to "Voting"
demetrioussharpe Member since:
2009-01-09

If you believe, even for a second, that your chance to vote means anything in our government, then I urge you to read up on how our election system works. The most power you have is at the local level. That's all the power you get. The President is not chosen by your vote, but by the votes of the electorals. Once the President is chosen, he or she gets to appoint whomever they want to various positions of power. You do not get to vote on the supreme court justices. You do not get to vote on the chairman of the FCC. You do not get to vote on our economic plan, nor do you get to vote on our foreign affairs policies, nor on our net neutrality policy (if we ever get one). I wish people would stop trying to promote this theater bullshit but, then again, that's exactly why we do it. They make you think you have enough power to pacify you and, while the people sit smugly in their homes going "hey, I voted," they're going to do whatever the blazes they want and you, my friends, have no choice. Enjoy it.


In addition, depending on your state & party affiliation, your vote doesn't even count. Democrat votes don't count in TX. Texas is overwhelmingly republican. It doesn't matter how many democrats vote in TX, because it's a winner take all system & the winner's going to be a republican every single time. It's the same way with California & democrats. A republican vote means nothing in CA. If you really want your presidential vote to count, you'd have to move to a swing state. But afterwards, whoever you put in office is going to do whatever they want to do. It's a shame that we've never elected a filthy rich & highly successful businessman like Ross Perot or maybe even Bill Gates. Say what you want about them, at least our country's balance wouldn't be in the red anymore.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Voting
by Alfman on Thu 8th Nov 2012 15:05 in reply to "RE: Voting"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

demetrioussharpe,

I agree, up until this comment:

"It's a shame that we've never elected a filthy rich & highly successful businessman like Ross Perot or maybe even Bill Gates. Say what you want about them, at least our country's balance wouldn't be in the red anymore."


Did we really forget about George W. Bush already? He was a multimillionaire who *did* run the government like a business. In fairness to him, he did create great wealth for himself & his business associates. But as president his responsibility was to the public, whom he left in the greatest recession since the great depression. By the time he left, everything was in the red.

An effective leader shouldn't have to be wealthy, he needs to be able to bring people together and promote prosperity for everyone, not just a select niche. It's a very tough job though, especially when political ranks are filled with those who'd rather selfishly promote their own interests even at the expense of the very public they're supposed to be serving.

Edit: I really do agree with all your other posts though...I just wouldn't be comfortable with literally handing over governmental oversight of corporations to those who are already running the corporations. It negates fundamental checks & balances.

Edited 2012-11-08 15:11 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3