A couple of weeks ago, I made the case for why I believe American MRAs should at least be registered to vote, and probably should vote, even if they leave much of the ballot blank.
Leaving parts of the ballot blank is completely allowable and, in my view, totally ethical. You can also write in candidates–even if you know they won’t win, you’ll be sending a message, however small. I, for example, am leaning quite heavily toward writing in Bugs Bunny for President. Your choice is your own, and I have no interest whatsoever in swaying your vote there (although really, isn’t Bugs a lot smarter than your average politician? I’m just sayin’.)
However, the following video demonstrates, in amusing fashion, one of the reasons I urge you to vote, which I hope serves to drive the message home:
Just so you know, that was put together by (most of) the cast of “The West Wing.” Now, whether you liked that show or not is unimportant. I don’t care whether you loved it or hated it or were indifferent. The commercial is funny and it drives the message home: in much of America, you get to vote for judges–and, while they don’t say so, in some states you vote for Prosecutors/District Attorneys too. You also get to vote for state and county legislators who have oversight over judges and prosecutors, and the ability to impeach incompetent or corrupt public officials.
In some places, those are partisan elections, and in some, like my own state of Michigan, they are non-partisan. If you’re in one of those states where they’re non-partisan, odds are high you’ve been voting a long time and don’t even know you’ve been leaving the non-partisan section blank. What you may also not have noticed is that in some states, judges are elected in a partisan fashion. But even if you’re in a state where they’re partisans, it matters: if you’re a Republican but you know there’s a misandrist Republican running for judge or prosecutor, don’t just punch the Republican line; make sure not to give that judge or prosecutor your vote. If you’re a Democrat and you know there’s a misandrist Democrat running for District Attorney, don’t vote for them. And so on.
Mostly, what I’m urging you to do is look for candidates lower on the ballot, and do some research on them. There’s no crime in leaving sections blank if you don’t know anything about those candidates, or if you hate them all. Fine, leave it blank, or write yourself in. But finding the ones who matter to you, even if they’re only on your side on one or two issues that matter to men and boys, is a good idea. Especially because so few people pay attention there, your voice can have a disproportionate impact, no matter how small. Plus you may be able to sway a few other voters once you’ve done your homework.
Homework? Where do you do that? I know no better starting place than this: BALLOTPEDIA (click here, look for your state, and proceed to research).
Lucky me, a local father’s rights activist has let me know the local circuit court candidate I need to look for, and furthermore, by complete coincidence, the above video also told me who I need to support for Michigan Supreme Court (yes, I live in Michigan). They’re talking up this one woman as an example in part as an ad for her, because she’s the sister of a cast member. But I’m no sap, right? I thought, “yeah, OK, I’ll look, but you may have just told me why I should not vote for her.” I’m not that easy to fool.
But surprise surprise, this research led me to conclude that I definitely need to vote for her and even go so far as to say that, if you live in Michigan I think you want to vote for her too. Know why? Just look at this right here (click, click, please).
This woman created the Michigan chapter of The Innocence Project, which has so far taken on 19 cases, 2 women and 17 men. Most have been freed. In fact, she headed up the first group within the Innocence Project that goes after NON-DNA EVIDENCE cases. She’s gotten men out of jail not by looking for DNA evidence, which is easy (“that’s not his sperm after all” being a pretty easy way of doing things) but instead she specifically constructed her group to go after cases where DNA was not a factor. Instead her group concentrates on prosecutorial misconduct, witness tampering, recanting witnesses or accusers, and so on. She goes after the hard ones, in other words, and often wins.
Bang. She got my vote right there. 17 men who got hope back due to her. But as a bonus, I went through all her campaign literature looking for other red flags, and while the evidence there is not conclusive, there is a positive sign: she talks a lot about Domestic Violence and her opposition to it. But here’s the kicker: I looked, and looked, and looked, and I could find her only talking about two things: family violence, and its effect on children.
Not one single reference, anywhere, to “violence against women.” None. This is remarkable in a political climate where “violence against women” seems like an automatic vote-getter. Except: she doesn’t do it. She never says it. She says “family violence,” and she says “child abuse.” I don’t know, she may still have some misandrist impulses, but I know someone who’s voluntarily worked hard to get 17 innocent men popped out of jail, and who’s willing to just change the language on domestic violence to gender-neutral terms, is someone who needs my support–and yours too, if you live in Michigan.
By the way, this weekend letters went out from A Voice for Men and the National Coalition for Men to hundreds of candidates running for office in Delaware, Maine, and West Virginia, asking them to take a position on the cases of Tiffany Marie Smith, Mary Kellett, and Lori Jackson, respectively. This was only possible thanks to the efforts of more than a dozen volunteers, as well as myself, Paul Elam, and John the Other. If you use Ballotpedia and you live in those states, you can write those candidates yourself about those cases. And if you’re in a different state, you can write to candidates in your state before election day ask them where they stand on issues like domestic violence, father’s rights, false accusers, and so on. You’ve got time, and you can make your voice heard: politicians are generally most intensely interested in what you think when they’re worried they might get voted out of office–and my experience is that at the state level, a lot of politicians are not even used to being noticed or contacted. Change that, why don’t you?
If you’re an American, what are you waiting for? The election is this coming Tuesday. Go find out who’s running for office in your state, and Fuck Their Shit Up by asking them some questions and, y’know, voting. It’s what the First Amendment is there for ya know. (No, really. See that bit right at the end there about the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances? Yeah, it’s there for a reason).
November 6 is coming. Do that violent perverted misogynistic thing you do so well by doing one of that most subversive and terroristic of all things: investigate your local candidates, and vote.
Just do me a favor and think of Dave Futrelle and Surly Amy when you do.