At the Dark End of the Street

Quote of the Day: “Voting alone is a dead-end. But I vote.”

I vote. In 2008, I worked on a couple GOTV campaigns, including under the auspices of OFA. I met an awesome voter cat in Indiana!  I also write my representatives, which I think is the single most frustrating thing constituents can do. There is nothing like a response from a Congressperson to make you feel not only is no-one listening to you, but that also no-one with any power cares a toss for you, your opinions, your needs or your demands of your government. I don’t have any reason to believe that writing your elected representative has any effect, not even when a critical mass of yays or nays writes in. I’d love to feel differently, but my experience gives me no reason to.

So, I think that voting alone, in itself, without other action on the voter’s part, is a dead end. Writing your representatives is not sufficient additional action to keep you from dead-ending. Of course, I don’t quite know what “sufficient additional action” is, even if it’s something I find myself thinking about often lately.

Does protesting constitute sufficient additional action? I don’t know that protests have any more influence on governance than letters do.

Does volunteering? I know volunteering has a tangible immediate effect on the person being helped, but I don’t know that it changes the world. Although it doesn’t have to change the world in order for it to be the right thing to do, does it have to change the world to be more than a dead-end?

If we’re trying to avoid dead-ends, can we do anything without enough money to buy influence?

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