- You could also add to that list of tools things like prayer, healthy diets, and Broadway musicals. Because if we’re being honest, all of these things have some influence on struggles for social change. Nothing is completely useless, everything plays a part.
I understand that you are being sarcastic here, but there is pretty substantial evidence that the democratic process has quantifiable impact on the lives of the citizenry. For example, the death toll in Puerto Rico due to the inaction of the Trump administration has reached estimates upwards of 3000 lives. Considering the incompetence of the current administration, it is not an unreasonable speculation that if someone else were in office the response would have been more effective, and lives might not have been lost needlessly. I could go on with other examples, but I think just this one disputes the claim that the electoral system has essentially the same effect as magical thinking.
The way I think about it, politics is not a special domain related to elections and representatives - that’s the pacifier we’ve been given to replace true politics…
I agree, and I am not arguing that political action should solely be under the purview of elected officials. However, elected officials as well as state propositions do have direct effects on people’s lives so I find it hard to believe that it would be more effective to ignore this area totally. Another example - in my sate of California, there was a proposition on the ballot that would have divided the into three regions with the Silicon Valley (and their tax dollars) cut off from the rest of the state. I voted against this insane legislation, along with the majority of Californians, and it did not pass. In this instance, I don’t see how another action other than voting would have been more effective in preventing this. Of course this is not always the case, but taking other forms of action in tandem, I fail to see how reducing one’s power in the electoral sphere equates to an overall increase of political power.
But if you heard Samantha Bee suggesting that the way to turn our society around was prayer, what would be your reaction? That’s my reaction when I hear people promoting voting.
Again, this is clearly a false equivalency, as the results of the electoral process have demonstrable effects on the lived lives of the citizens, and prayers do not. This is especially true the more localized the election. Yet another example- on my California primary ballot, along with the propositions were the Superior and Appellate court judges for the county in which I live. These are the people who preside over major local criminal cases and have a direct effect on people’s personal freedoms and the ways the laws are executed - right outside my door. It takes some time, but it’s worth researching these people. Some are competent, but others are really scary. Why would I not make an effort to prevent a bad judge from being put into power rather than do nothing and try to get them thrown out of office once they start ruining peoples lives?
Finally. I get the sense that you may be an advocate of some flavor of anarchy, which is fine, but a different conversation altogether. I will leave you with the hope that you reconsider voting - if even in only local elections - in ADDITION to other actions.