Voting's Not a Game–or It Shouldn't Be

I have to tell you, I am pretty disgusted with some of my fellow Tennesseans this morning.
No, NOT because Rick Santorum won our primary.  Let’s be honest–the pickings are slim in the Republican field.  You’ve got to vote for somebody, right?
It’s not the Republicans I’m disgusted with today–it’s some of the Democrats whose comments I read on Facebook last night.
Tennessee has open primaries.  That means if you are a Republican you can choose to vote in the Democratic primary and vice versa.  President Obama having no challenger, many Democrats chose to vote in yesterday’s Republican primary.
Full disclosure:  I did not vote yesterday because I did not take care of getting my address changed in time.  I believe I am registered as a Democrat.  Had I voted yesterday, I would indeed have crossed over, and would likely have voted for Mr. Gingrich because 1) He is smart; 2) He is against abortion; 3) He doesn’t want to ship all the illegal immigrants back to Mexico; 4) Mitt Romney doesn’t stand for anything but Mitt Romney; and 5) Rick Santorum doesn’t know what “preferential option for the poor” means.
I may have mentioned before that we are politics junkies in this house.  John majored in International Politics at Georgetown.  He really gets into this stuff, and we talk about it all the time, even with the kids from the time that they were all small.  And we’ve always thought the open primary was a neat opportunity to get to have a say in picking the very best nominee from the other side.  Last election, for example, we were excited to cast primary votes for Hillary Clinton.
What an open primary apparently is for a lot of other people, though, is a big joke.  These people make a mockery out of the democratic process.  Voting is a right, a responsibility, a sacred trust.  People have fought and died for this right.  It’s a right many people in the world still don’t have.
I wonder what Susan B. Anthony and company would have to say about Democratic women who voted for Rick Santorum, whom they characterize as a lunatic and worse, with the goal of ending up with a weak nominee whom President Obama can beat in the General Election?   All these people were chortling over their supposed cleverness on Facebook last night.
Yes, I am sure there are Republicans who would have done the same.  So what?  Does that make it any less morally reprehensible?
There’s no room for levity in the voting booth, people.  This partisan bullshit is getting out of control.  If you can’t bring yourself to cast a serious vote in the other side’s primary, stay on your own side and remember what you are doing–or supposed to be doing–when you pull that lever.  Then you can look at that waving flag with a little pride.

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  1. Shafali says:

    Perhaps the Democrats voted for who they thought would be the weakest opponent for Obama.

    • lesliesholly says:

      No doubt they did–they said as much. But I think that’s wrong. And suppose their “weak” candidate really did end up the nominee, and for whatever reason, President Obama lost? You never know in politics (although I’m pretty sure Obama is a shoe in this time around). Then they would be responsible for putting someone they despise in the White House.

  2. Kristi Birchfield says:

    I think you’re right about voting for who they thought would be the weakest, Leslie. I am a registered Dem and did NOT vote yesterday, as I couldn’t bring myself to support any of the Republican candidates. I am not opposed to crossing over, usually vote for who I feel I can get behind the best (I, too, was excited to vote for Hillary in the last primary election), but I won’t vote for the lesser of three evils (for lack of a better term) just to vote. I did not see any of the FB posts you are talking about, but it doesn’t surprise me. People sometimes just don’t think it through.
    If the logic is that he would be the weakest candidate against Obama (and these people are Obama supporters), then why isn’t the further logic that if he were to actually WIN against him we would be stuck with the weakest Republican candidate for 4 years? If the logic is that it is just funny to vote for someone who seems to be the weakest candidate and sort of upset the apple cart, well, that’s just absurd.

    • lesliesholly says:

      I am FB friends with some pretty liberal folks, and the comments I read were made by THEIR FB friends. Their logic–if you can call it that–is that Romney has the greatest chance of defeating President Obama, so they prefer Santorum, who they think cannot possibly beat him. I’m with you, though–you never ever know what can happen. President Obama could do something–I can’t imagine what, but something–that could cause him to falter and then they’d be stuck with a guy they hate and despise for President. I might feel a LITTLE sympathy for their tactics if their attitudes were not so flippant, too. The idea of someone standing in a voting booth laughing over their own supposed cleverness after what so many have gone through and still go through to get that right which they are making a mockery of makes me ill, frankly.

  3. Mary Cooke says:

    I am registered Democrat too. I did not vote either. I thought it was for the republicans to vote for their possible candidate. I agree..it’s not a game.

  4. Brian Tauscher says:

    Very well put, Leslie, and you are exactly right. “Gaming” an election makes a mockery of the process and undercuts the guiding principle that a free people can decide for themselves who should govern them.

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