What would a choice by the people look like in a political context? Would it mean that the people, each individually, gather together in rooms, in their own communities, hash out what they would like to vote for, and then send representatives to the next level who carry forward their message?

Or, alternatively, does it mean that the party bosses tell the local leaders what they should stand for, and then the local leaders spread the word further down the line, until every rank and file member in each of the established parties toes the line and mouthes the party platform?

Another way of asking this question is: top down or bottom up? We understand that eventually a mandate will be given as to what is to be done. But where will the mandate come from? The desires of individual citizens or the designs of party organizers?

I am very cynical about the political process, not because I haven’t tried to be an active participant, but because I have been to enough political conventions to know that it is mostly top down. The consensus is not arrived at by arguments at the precinct level. The party sends a man to the precinct convention to tell the locals what they are going to decide.

I have always been a believer in free enterprise, religious freedom, individual rights and limited government. There isn’t a party that fully represents my convictions, but if there were one, it would probably be the Libertarian Party. But as everyone knows, the Libertarian Party does not have enough members to elect any important candidates. For this reason, libertarian-minded people often try to exercise their rights as citizens by joining one of the two major parties who can elect candidates.

In my case, I usually join the Republican Party, because they are close to me in those values that affect the economy. And we all hope and pray that their social values agenda does not get passed or that it will somehow be overruled by the courts if it does pass.

The first time I went to a precinct convention, I had a list of things I wanted to pass as resolutions, but the man from the party already had his own list, and everyone had been instructed to listen only to him because he came from party headquarters. So as a result of my opposing the party dictates, I was not chosen to go to the district convention, and my exercise of my rights as a citizen before the general election ended there.

The next time I participated in a precinct convention, I made sure to find out who the guy from the party was and to form an alliance with him, agreeing to support his platform, in return for a place at the District Convention. I went to the District Convention, and since I was such a good little soldier, I eventually made it to the State Convention.

I was even allowed to be a delegate on the convention floor – – as long as I did exactly as told, so that we all voted as a block. I did not get to the national convention, because no one in our group did.

But as you can see, as far as exercising any control over party platform, I had absolutely no power. I could speak my mind and get eliminated, or not speak my mind and go on the the next level. But there was no room for self-expression or the meaningful exercise of a vote.

By the time we all get to the polls to cast our vote at the general election, all the important decisions have already been made, and we are asked to choose from one of two parties that we do not support – – or we could vote our conscience and get completely disenfranchised.

But really, weren’t we disenfranchised right from the very start?

Copyright 2013 Aya Katz – – Words and Picture

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About Aya Katz

Aya Katz is the administrator of Pubwages. When she is not busy administering, she sometimes also writes posts like a regular user.
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4 Responses to Disenfranchised

  1. Sweetbearies says:

    I commend your dedication to trying to get the word out about freedom and free enterprise. I used to be a big Democrat but began to realize this party was big club where you have to play by their rules to be enlightened. They always told us the Democrats cared more about other people, and I think I bought into that for awhile. However, I never really realized how their tax structure can hurt a lot of small businesses, and how a lot of people in the Democratic party like to put others down who are not on their team. Around 2015 started seeing this more, and it really began to turn me off. I think that thing that made me lose interest in the Democratic party recently was how Bernie Sanders was dismissed at the convention. Even though he was not my favorite candidate in the world, he did have some good ideas but was dismissed at the convention so many Clinton fans wanted Hillary. It seemed people were so obsessed with a woman being president no one noticed that it was just another chance for the Clintons to hold onto power. Bernie Sanders had a lot of popular support in California, and this was sort of swept under the carpet. I was kind of ill to hear some staunch Democrats poke fun of people who truly supported Bernie Sanders. Some guy called a woman a petulant child because she protested at the convention she felt Bernie had been snubbed. So free speech is out there, I guess. I am not sure I will ever be a big Republican party supporter, but I definitely will not be voting for Democratic presidents after this stunt. Many Bernie supporters here in California became Johnson supporters after that, and I noticed his rallies were getting a lot of enthusiasm. But covering this in the media would have deviated from the narrative of Hillary Clinton being president. Also, we do have a reasonable Republican state Congressman here in California, but he was smeared as being a Trump supporter, even though he came out and said he did not even vote for Trump. It was just the actions of the Democratic party that really turned me off. So I am a bit disenchanted with politics at the moment. I am kind of tired of a group of people who says they are nicer, when a lot of their actions do not really convey this. So right now I know many Hillary supporters still think she should be president, but I think this is a dead topic. I really do not know what will happen in the 2020 election, but I do not really see myself voting for either major party because right now it is so polarized. Maybe a Libertarian might never win the presidency, but at least a presidential candidate from this party will not act entitled, or like a dodo on Twitter.

    • Aya Katz says:

      Hi, Julia. Thanks for sharing the evolution of your thought process about politics. I wrote this article back in 2013, even though it still applies today. Since then I attended the Libertarian National Convention in Orlando as a delegate. And no, my candidate did not get the nomination, but I still supported the nominee, who never even made it to the debates. So it seems everything is lost, no matter what we do. And yet I continue to try in my small way to make a difference.

      I understand how you feel about how the DNC circumvented the will of the average Democrat by cheating Sanders out of his chance. The Democrats are now starting to see that what they did was wrong, but I doubt they will ever change their ways. By the same token, I thought the Republicans cheated Ron Paul of his opportunity back in 2012. I want to think the LP is different, but a lot of things there are top down, too.

      • Sweetbearies says:

        I honestly do not even feel like much of a Democrat anymore. I might be more left-leaning on social issues, but I liked how with Libertarians whether people be conservative or liberal on these things, they prefer to keep to individual choice. Democrats do like to raises taxes, and there is a spoil system of sorts that seems to benefit people who are affiliated with the party. So I am changing my mind about even voting for mostly Democrats at the state level, and will definitely vote for Libertarians in local elections as well.

        • Aya Katz says:

          I am glad to hear that, Julia. I do not vote for the party as much as for the candidates when I know who the candidates are and what they have done and promise to do. But when I don’t know, I vote Libertarian. They are the party of free choice.

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