“Vote for ‘None of the Above’!”

Well, the election is nearly here…..to which all I can say is “Thank God!!!”.

As a resident of Illinois, I haven’t had to endure the shame of having someone like Sharon Angles or a Christine O’Donnell running in my state, but that does not mean this election cycle has been enjoyable in any way. Our own Senate race, to fill the seat once held by Barak Obama, is being campaigned for by Mark Kirk and Alexi Giannoulias. Giannoulias is a former banker, which should say a lot about how people feel about him. Kirk, on the other hand, is a Republican member of the US House who used to be a moderate to even (gasp!) liberal member of his party. Since beginning his run for the Senate, though, Kirk has changed his position on nearly everything he once said he stood for, often with nothing in the way of a reason for the shift given. Worse, he’s been repeatedly caught lying about his military record and other details about his past actions. So Illinoisans have been left with the choice of a liar or a potential thief to fill our vacant Senate seat.

The race for the governor’s spot is the only race that makes the Senate race look good. On the one hand we have Pat Quinn, former consumer advocate and then lieutenant governor under Rod Blagojevich, who was impeached and removed from office. Quinn’s leadership since taking over the top spot has less than impressive. Facing him from the Republican camp is state senator Bill Brady, a real estate developer who is a millionaire, a serving state senator, and surprisingly enough, a man who’s managed to avoid paying any taxes for over two years. Bill’s ‘grand plan’ is (no surprise) to cut taxes. How he plans to fix the Illinois state budget, which is currently somewhere in the neighborhood of $13 billion in the hole, is one of those things he seems to want the citizens of this state to take on faith.

There are a few other races where the selection is equally “good”, but I will not detail them all. What I would like to do is to propose something I once wrote about several years ago: that the people of this nation need something better than choosing the ‘lesser of two evils’, we need the option to be able to vote for “None of the Above”. If people aren’t happy with the people running for office, and feel they have no real choice they like, then the odds are that they’ll either not vote, or if they do, they’ll just make a mental coin toss to make their decision. The idea I had was a simple one: if the majority of voters choose to vote for “None of the Above”, then all the candidates on the ballot would be dropped and a special election held that they would not be allowed to compete in. The parties would have a limited time frame to come up with new candidates, a second round of voting would take place, and if the outcome were the same, all the candidates from the second round of voting would have their names put in a literal hat and the winner would be chosen by a mutually-agreed-to impartial individual by drawing a name from said hat. We might not get a good candidate, but the object lesson the the different parties could not be clearer: select someone we, the people of this nation, want to vote for, not the faithful-few who vote in your primaries want.

Sounds silly, doesn’t it? Does it sound less silly that voting for someone you don’t like because the alternative is even worse? Think about it.

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