To Vote or Not to Vote

That is the question.

There are some candidates in this election that I feel I could get behind ideologically. But this year more than ever before, I am struggling to find candidates I can support. In the past, it seemed alright to vote “the lesser of two evils.” Not this year.

The stakes are higher this election. The tension is greater. The need to elect public servants who will be a thorn in the paw of our overbearing government has been nagging me like the tick-tocking of a clock in the dead of night.

But who will do the dirty work? Who will be who they say they are and stand for what they say they stand for? It’s hard to tell.

My personal peeve this election season has been the money spent on attack ads. Maybe I’m naive. Maybe politics really is “a dirty business.” Maybe television and radio commercials (and billboards and fliers in the mail every day for the last four weeks) are absolutely necessary in order to one-up an opponent. But it has left me dissatisfied with almost all of the names I will be seeing on the ballot today.

Can we really accept this? In the age of instant (and free) internet publicity, with the wildfires that are (or can be) twitter and facebook and blogging, can we honestly justify spending millions (or billions) of dollars on advertisements?

In this economy, I would have gladly thrown my support fully behind a candidate who utilized the great curse of the internet. I would have gladly cheered for those who not only preached what I thought we needed to hear, but also ran campaigns that reflected those ideas. I would have gladly–and wholeheartedly–cast my vote today for anyone whose values trumped their need to disparage an opponent.

That’s what I thought this election was about: breaking the political mold that we’ve cast in America; running on principles and ideas rather than “look at how filthy my opponent is.” And there may be one or two names on my ballot that fit this bill. But by and large, I am just as dissatisfied with this election as I was the last…

And the one before that…

And…

Yet, in honor of my freedom–and those who have spilled their lives and blood to secure and protect that freedom–I will decidedly cast my vote today. It is my duty…my responsibility…and my great honor as an American.

What about you? Are you off to the polls today?