You Have a Choice

You have a choice.

You can be shot.

You can be drowned.

You can be burned alive.

Or you can walk away safely.

Hmm… how do we decide?

On the news, we hear all about the choice to be drowned or burned alive. It really, really seems like being burned alive would be a much worse death than being drowned. It’s not much of a contest between the two, really.

All over the internet, too. In the news. Everywhere. We see quite a lot of evidence that death by being burned alive would be much worse than death by drowning. Really, no contest.

Being drowned versus being burned alive. Repeatedly, we’re told these are our only two options, and we somehow seem to believe it.

But it’s not true. We could choose the widely ignored option, the one no one wants to tell you about. We could choose to walk away safely.

“But!” so many people scream, “A vote to walk away safely is a vote to be burned alive!

Oh. It is, is it?

“Being burned alive would be the worst! You have to vote for drowning!”

Do I? Do I really? How is that a win? Could anyone explain that to me?

“It’s the lesser of two evils. You have to vote for the second worst evil, always.

I can’t, uh… vote for the third or fourth worst evil? How about the least evil? I can’t do that? I’m not allowed? I don’t have permission to vote for anything but the second-worst evil?

Nope. Guess not. Satan’s left-hand man or nothing, I guess.

Is it not obvious that the two-party system is designed like a pair of sheepdogs forcing us in exactly the direction they want us to go? The presidential candidate was hand-selected for us. The vote is effectively just a minor formality so far as the two-party system is concerned.

Having two options is the closest thing to having none. And if those options are carefully selected, if one is obviously much better than the other, or simply appears so, then we do effectively have no choice.

But we don’t have only two options. We have more than two, in fact. We have, in fact, thirty different candidates running for president. Thirty!

Thirty. And you’re ignoring the existence of twenty-eight of them in order to vote for the second worst of them all. Why? How does this help you in any way?

Yes, being burned alive would be much worse than being drowned, but neither option is a win for you.

Turning and running; walking away slowly; saying, “Please don’t kill me,”; curling up in a ball and crying; turning around and skipping gleefully; punching the person who presents these options to you in the face… these are all ignored in favor of drowning. I don’t think that’s very bright.

I’m going to take this from another angle now.

We often hear it said that a vote for the Green Party candidate is a vote for the Republican candidate. We also hear that a vote for the Libertarian candidate is a vote for the Democrat. My brother is voting for Chris Keniston. So here’s my question: Who is he voting for?

Think about this. My brother is voting for Chris Keniston. Who is he voting for?

The answer is obvious. He is voting for Chris Keniston. I just told you that. It was given. It is not true that he will vote for the Republican candidate, or the Democratic candidate. It’s also not true that he will vote for the Green Party candidate or the Libertarian Party candidate. He is, in fact, voting for Chris Keniston.

But how? How is this possible? I can hear your confusion. This runs completely contrary to everything you’ve been told all of your life. You have been told, “You may vote for A or B and only A or B. If you cast a vote for C or D or E, F, G, H, I, J, or K, your vote will be changed over into a vote for either A or B, arbitrarily.”

Okay, sounds good, right? I mean, you haven’t bothered to question this. You haven’t bothered to ask yourself whether this makes sense, whether it’s even true, or whether you should just go along with it as though it’s a good way to for this whole mess to operate.

I’m voting for Jill Stein. I’m very sure of this.

Am I voting for Donald Trump? No.

Am I voting for Hillary Clinton?

No.

Am I voting for Chris Keniston?

No. No, I am not voting for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Gary Johnson, or Chris Kensiton. I am also not voting for Darrell Castle or Zoltan Istvan or any of the others.

I am voting for Jill Stein.

Why am I not actually voting for Donald Trump?

The simple answer: I am voting for Jill Stein.

Why do people say that a vote for Stein is a vote for Trump? This is the real question. They say this because they mistakenly believe they have only two options. They mistakenly believe that there are only two candidates running for president. They mistakenly believe that I believe that there are only two candidates running for president.

This is their reasoning: Imagine that everyone votes only for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, like good little boys and girls, and Hillary, for example, receives 54% of the vote. Donald Trump, then, receives 46% of the vote, right? Right?

Yes. That’s right.

Now, the same scenario, but with a third party added. The third party receives 10% of the vote. A third party vote is a vote for Trump, right? Or is a third party vote a vote for Clinton? I hear it both ways, and consistently so. But I get it. It’s assumed that the Green Party steals votes exclusively from the Democrats and the Libertarian Party steals votes exclusively from the Republicans. This isn’t true, but let’s go with it anyway. Let’s say the third party is the Green Party. Hillary then receives 44% of the vote, Trump receives 46% of the vote and, of course, Stein gets her 10%.

This is the fear. I get it. I get it, I really do. I see this scenario playing out in your heads. I hear you talking about it. I understand. But your fears are not grounded in reason.

Why?

First, let’s go back to the game of numbers before we get to the heart of the matter. In this nightmare scenario we still include only three candidates. But this isn’t representative of reality at all because Gary Johnson is also a candidate. And we have no idea whether someone else like Keniston will surprise us – that’s the very nature of being surprised, right? Further, Gary Johnson consistently polls higher than Stein. She can’t be a spoiler for Hillary, even granting the mistaken assumption that she can only steal from Hillary, if Johnson is an even greater spoiler for Trump, as the polls — which I expect are totally wrong — do happen to show.

Now, consider: before this election really got rolling, I was planning to vote for Jill Stein, assuming she ran again, or the Green Party candidate, whoever it was. Jill Stein had my vote before I knew she was even running again.

Then Bernie came along.

And threatened to steal my vote away from the Green Party.

Do you see that? Do you see what happened?

If Bernie had won the Democratic primary election he would have stolen a vote away from a Green Party candidate in the general election.

But he’s gone so I’m back to Plan A. My vote remains securely with Jill Stein.

Judging by my vote alone, in what sense is Stein a spoiler for Hillary?

Think about that.

My vote belonged to Stein. Hillary failed to steal it away.

Hillary failed to be a “spoiler” for Stein, as Bernie Sanders would have been. So, would Jill Stein be a spoiler for Hillary in this instance? No. She would not.

Why?

Because Hillary, under no circumstances, ever owned my vote.

Hillary Rodham Clinton never owned my vote!

I don’t belong to her. My vote doesn’t belong to her. She isn’t entitled to it. If it weren’t for Stein I might not be voting at all. Or maybe I’d be following my brother just for kicks and vote Keniston. Or maybe I’d vote for Clifton Roberts, assuming I could in my state. If I voted at all, lacking both Sanders and Stein, I would vote third party. Something remarkable would have to happen for the Democrats to steal my vote away.

Voting for Clinton is probably a bigger mistake than voting for Trump.

If you disagree with this, you are shortsighted. Try, please, to think more than a year or two into the future. Try to think about this entire process, the entire system, into the future.

Things suck. And they’re getting worse. We are speeding toward oblivion as it is. Trump would be a heavier foot on the accelerator. Hillary would simply stay the course. The difference between these two scenarios is a change in speed, and the change would be the alarm. If Trump is elected, there will more likely be retaliation, and a call to arms against our charge into oblivion. If Hillary is elected, especially given the victory over Trump, there will instead be a false sense of security. We would avoid the disaster that is Trump. We can relax. Relief.

Wrong.

Staying the course is dangerous. Staying the course is not an option. We are still headed toward certain destruction and as we all know the powers that are plowing forward toward this end have Hillary in her pocket. This is widely known. We all know that politicians are bought out. But since we see this as normal, we don’t seem to care.

We must break free of this trap. We must break free of the two party system, which is used to shepherd us into complacency as the whole planet swirls down the drain. Whether they do it intentionally or not, the two parties act as a single entity. Try not to see them as acting against each other, but as acting together as two oars on a canoe. They push and pull against each other and hold an unsteady equilibrium at worst. This is possible with three parties, but isn’t as easy. The difference between three and two is enormous.

Think about the game rock, paper, scissors. Rock is good against scissors, scissors is good against paper, paper is good against rock. Try to imagine a game like this in which there are only two options. Imagine if it were a game called rock and paper, in which rock is good against paper and paper is good against rock.

Do you see?

But we don’t even need to go this far.

I assert that every vote for Clinton is a vote stolen from Stein. I can just as well assert that every vote for Trump or Johnson is also a vote stolen from Stein.

I can pretend, as so many do, that this is a two-candidate race, and say that a vote for any candidate but Jill Stein is a vote for Trump.

This is the simple fact of the whole voting process: If enough people vote for Jill Stein, she will win, not someone else. Candidates win because we vote for them, not the other way around.

We’re going to lose.

We are going to lose either in the short term if Trump is elected or the long term if Clinton is elected.

The longer this goes on, the harder it becomes to change. We are catalyzed now to change. Now is the time. Now is our greatest opportunity.

More of the same – complacency – is the most dangerous option available to us.

There is nothing rational about giving up.

Whether your candidate can win or not is not the question. You have no control over anyone’s behavior but your own. The only question worth anything is, “Did you vote for the right candidate yourself?”

Is Hillary the correct candidate?

Is she going to create a Green New Deal? I remember when Obama promised something of the sort. I believe he actually likened his plan to an Apollo program for saving the environment. For saving the planet.

But that didn’t happen.

Is Hillary going to be the one to do what is absolutely necessary to create radical change as quickly and effectively as possible?

No. She is a fan of small incremental change. That’s like her thing. And small incremental change is like code for no change whatsoever, which means going down the drain.

The planet is going down the drain. I know old people often don’t really care. They’ll be dead by the time it happens, they mostly incorrectly imagine, and their grandchildren are apparently too distant to trigger maternal instincts anymore. But I have a niece who in two days will be five years old. I know that the world she inherits will not be as nice as the one I inherited from my parents, which was more messed up, probably, than I have even discovered yet. The planet is going down the drain and we simply do not have the option of waiting for this mythical small incremental change to occur.

Does Hillary even have the freedom to do what is necessary, safely tucked away as she is in the pockets of those who purchased her?

No. If Hillary wins, we will have elected a puppet who has been bought and paid for. As we are accustomed.

This decision is exactly like any other decision, like every other behavior in your life.

In my personal view, what defines a decision is not what it creates, as we do not have control over consequences. What we do have control over, so far as we have control over anything, is the act of decision itself, and thus what defines a choice is the spirit by which it is made, the impulse that created it, the fuel that drives it.

A choice made by habit is lazy.

A choice made from fear is cowardly.

A choice made without considering the options is ignorant.

If we have any power in this election, it is largely through our vote. We must cast our vote for the best candidate according our personal understanding and judgement or else forfeit what little power we have altogether.

The biggest way people give up power is by not knowing we have it to start with.

— Alice Walker

I am telling you now: You do have power.

Maybe it’s small,  but the power you have is greater than zero.

And the difference between something and nothing is infinite.

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Author: cazimi3

Amateur philosopher, long-time monster trainer, and aspiring mad scientist turned starving artist.

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