Friday, October 26, 2012

My only election post

A friend of mine posted on Facebook recently:

"If Romney wins the election, I am moving out of the country."

My reaction to that was:
  1. that's an over-reaction
  2. how incredibly selfish
I was in the minority opinion, judging by the amount of support she got in the comments. But let me explain what I mean by selfish.

Think of the government as doubles tennis. If you leave when you lose a game, you are not just exhibiting poor sportsmanship, you are ceding the title to the other side and leaving your partner in the lurch. It's a selfish reaction, because you are not doing your part to keep the game going.

Leaving the country is not an effective response. It's a pouty and privileged one, since most people can't leave the country when their side loses. "But you can vote from overseas." I hear you say. Yes, you can, but you can't change the dialogue, you can't talk with or influence other voters. If you were voting for the school board in California, would you take seriously the opinion of someone who is living in Germany?

I was impressed by the Tea Party. (Please note I did not say agree.) The Republicans were soundly beaten in 2008. These people got mad, they got organized, and they took Congress in 2010. That's an effective response. 

Democracy is not about everyone agreeing, it's about everyone being engaged and fighting for what they believe in. It's messy, loud, and uncivil, but it gives everyone a say. Leaving is giving up your turn at the microphone.

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