“We know exactly where the WMD are located.”
“This election is the most important election of our lifetimes.”
Of all the lies we choose to believe, that last one is the most pathetic.
We hear it repeated ad nauseum during every single election cycle.
It’s a manipulative platitude, calculated to keep us confined within the ideological boundaries of a thoroughly corrupt two party system.
The only folks to whom this revelation might come as a surprise are those who believe our nation’s future hangs on the election of a single candidate rather than on following its Constitution.
Why do so many good-hearted people choose to believe this particular falsehood?
The false dilemma of Republican vs. Democrat, it turns out, is an easy sell to people who have yet to recognize that, on the question of liberty, the real battle has always been the State vs. the People.
Both of the two ruling parties have clearly shown by their actions that they are equally committed to growing governmental power, spending without limits, and expanding the state’s control over the people at the expense of individual liberty.
Yet there are still plenty of voters who foolishly buy into the notion that somehow, this time, those same parties’ candidates might conceivably alter the collectivist course they’ve been steering for generations.
Sadder still are the individuals who recognize, to some degree, just how hostile both parties have been about liberty, but who justify holding their noses to vote for someone who they hope will make the ongoing removal of freedom a bit more gentle.
They fail to recognize that they are merely validating a rigged system that, while giving the voters a sense of participation, carefully denies them any possibility of affecting actual change.
Ron Paul: The Non-candidate
A good example of this can be found in the way that Congressman Ron Paul is portrayed by both the mass media and the power brokers in his own Republican Party.
The recent Ames Straw Poll in Iowa was described by writer Don Rasmussen as the ultimate damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t situation for Paul:
If Paul polls fourth or fifth at Ames, it will feed the existing narrative that he is a second-tier candidate with a devoted but small legion of fans.
Ames will be, at best, a wash. If, on the other hand, Paul finishes first or second, it will feed the narrative that he’s a straw-poll paper tiger with a small but devoted legion of fans that swamped Ames from around the country.
The media will give itself permission to ignore the result and instead focus on the “serious” candidates.
As LRC contributor Justin T.P. Quinn explains:
The Ames Straw Poll is very important, but only if Ron Paul doesn’t win. It doesn’t matter whether or not Ron wins, or even how many percentage points he wins by.
The Iowa Straw Poll can help every other candidate, but it can only hurt Ron Paul.
The voters at Ames can have no bearing whatsoever on Ron Paul’s viability as a candidate. A vote for Ron Paul ipso facto makes it irrelevant.
You see, Ron Paul supporters don’t count, even though they are the paragon of what the ideal political activist would be. They are arguably the only true grassroots activists in existence right now.
They don’t wait for direction or leadership from Ron Paul himself. Rather, inspired by Paul’s ideals, they act on their own. Nothing else in history comes close to what they’ve accomplished.
Sure enough, Paul finished second in the Ames Straw Poll, less than 200 votes behind winner Michelle Bachmann.
The media, predictably, are choosing to ignore him. But check out some of the comments regarding his 2nd place finish in Iowa from self-described Republican voters on KSL.com:
- No he is not, he is coming in 3rd or worse in every poll, that is real. He is buying straw polls, and internet polls are getting trolled by his trolls.And in the end, he still gets 14% of the vote.
- He’s no longer a fringe candidate. But he’s definitely still a nutcase.
- If nothing else, support of his views are an indication that the American people are looking to the Right this election cycle.
Fellow brother in liberty Jason Smith posted this comment on his Facebook page after visiting with Republican staffers at his county fair:
Had several interesting conversations with the “tea party and Republican” groups at booths today at the Washington County fair.
I asked them if they are supporting the Republican front runner Ron Paul- not surprisingly I got looks of hate and anger when I mentioned Paul, but not one said they were supporting Ron.
They sure hate to have someone rock the status quo.
If this really is the “most important election of our lifetimes” wouldn’t it make sense that we’d be as studied and well-versed as possible in the actual principles that are at stake? Wouldn’t we be exerting ourselves to know which candidates stand on principle and which are merely giving lip service?
Not if we’ve chosen to believe the lie that voting for a principled candidate somehow equals throwing our votes away.
Pragmatists like to chide those of us who are recovering two party system voters, telling us that in the real world it comes down to choosing the lesser of two evils and standing on principle is to commit political suicide.
Some go so far as to justify their actions by claiming that even though they recognize that both major parties are in the process of driving our nation over a cliff, they’d rather vote for the party that is doing so at the posted speed limit.
Our essential freedoms are being bargained away in the name of security.
Government spending continues to grow at record levels and the separation of government powers is being ignored for the purpose of consolidating influence.
Those who refuse to vote their principles refuse to admit that the two major parties only differ in the speed with which they act to centralize their power.
So what are our options?
Voters who have come to recognize the futility of voting the “lesser of two evils” are faced with a dilemma.
They can stubbornly abstain from voting in defiance of the conventional wisdom that views the privilege of voting as the highest expression of democratic government.
They can vote for a third party candidate to show their displeasure with the statist two party system as Congressman Ron Paul suggested in 2008.
Or they may wish to consider a third option offered by attorney Sandra Hamilton that not only allows one to vote his or her conscience, but also forces the state to show its cards and reveals just how rigged the game really is.
The key to this third option is to either write-in candidates who actually reflect the values and principles of the voter or simply write in “none of the above.”
The catch here is that many states will not recognize a write in vote unless certain conditions are met.
Some states simply refuse to allow write-ins of any sort or disallow candidates who ran but lost in the primary election while only a handful of states actually count all write-in votes as legitimate.
The beauty of this approach is that those states who unceremoniously round-file their write-in votes are demonstrating exactly how undemocratic the voting process has become.
The state makes a great show of the election process by pretending that we actually have a choice when they know full well that the game has been carefully rigged in favor of the two party system.
It’s a system that refuses to acknowledge anyone’s dissatisfaction with the false choice they’ve been given.
By forcing the state to show its true colors as it throws votes in the trash, the voter is essentially demonstrating that, despite its lofty rhetoric about the importance of getting out the vote, the state is too threatened by his or her dissent from the state’s “choices” to allow the vote to stand.
This approach is far preferable to the apathy of simply staying home or holding one’s nose in that it encourages the voter to exercise the precious right to vote according to his or her principles, albeit in a way that exposes the hypocrisy of a system that increasingly seeks only to protect the franchise of those who are already a part of it.
It takes courage to refuse to run with the herd, but real change requires individual acts of boldness.
When we deliberately vote the “lesser of two evils” we lend legitimacy to a rigged system that needs willing participants if it is to give the appearance of democratic principles while actively stifling those votes that may challenge the status quo.
With enough voters forcing the state’s hand to reject their right to vote their consciences, the public may finally begin to recognize the emperor’s nakedness and the carefully maintained illusion of our “right to vote.”
There is much we can do outside of the voting booth.
Those who are truly interested in the well-being of our nation and their liberty will find that their efforts are far better spent by developing their influence within their own homes, neighborhoods, congregations, and communities as opposed to expecting solutions to come from some party-assimilated Borg member they helped send to D.C.
The current system is too insular to allow us to make meaningful change from the top down by working within it, but it is powerless to stop us from starting at the individual level and working our way up.
Just as it has taken us generations to drift away from our founding principles, it will likely take generations of serious effort at a level where the state’s corruption has not yet taken hold to bring our nation back on course.
It is extremely unlikely for this to happen at virtually any level of government, but that shouldn’t hinder our efforts to educate ourselves politically, economically, spiritually and philosophically and by so doing, inspiring our children, family members and friends to do the same.
Impatience sometimes compels us to try to reach everyone in one fell swoop, but the masses are already too distracted by the spin doctors and pundits.
In the same way that it’s difficult to fill a row of milk bottles with a fire hose, a more methodical, one on one approach is likely to produce far better results.
The key is to begin right now, where we are and to refuse to defer our personal responsibility to others—especially to politicians.
When each of us has honestly developed and refined our personal character, we will no longer choose to believe the lies by which others control us.
For some it will enable us to recognize and elect those candidates who embody the principles necessary for good governance.
For others it will enable us to be the candidates who embody those principles. If we wish to reap a better harvest, we must sow better seeds.
Bryan Hyde is a husband, father, disciple, teacher, guardian, reader, writer, truth seeker, stirrer of pots, radio talk show host, and PITA to those who seek dominion over others. He’s also a proud member of the Pro-Freedom Conspiracy.
He does professional voice work through his company One Clear Voice. He is also a frequent and popular contributor to St. George News.
Bryan and his wife Becky are raising their six children in Cedar City, Utah.
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