A rather pessimistic view, in my opinion.

Voting, from the initial creation of the United States of America, was designed to allow the people to affect the government. So, at least way back when, it definitely allowed the system to change.

Even today, voting does change the system. When one party gets the majority of congress, due to how people voted, they affect which laws get passed and which don't.

The problem is not that voting cannot change the system - it's that it seems either the majority of people are happy with the system (or happy enough to not vote for people who will change it), or are just so dumb and/or gullible to follow a party line or get suckered by trashy television advertisements. Or that they just don't care anymore, don't think they can change it, and don't even bother to try.

I do think if something isn't done soon, however, we will no longer be able to cause change without revolution.

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Not so much the pessimistic view as the paranoid view. If the secret government men that REALLY control it all exist (be they Illuminati, Freemasons, dirty commies, whatever), then voting really CAN'T change the system.

Then again, mass advertising has become so effective that the truly intelligent, educated voters (i.e., the small minority) can't change the system anyway. Maybe we all should start advocating revolution.
This quote has been attributed to Emma Goldman and Cousin Woodman (Either may have coined it; I lean toward Emma Goldman, as she does short, blunt observations well, while the Cuz seems to have longer quotable thoughts), but Jello Biafra has been known to use it in his spoken word performances.

In Emma Goldman’s instance, this quote refers to disillusionment in the voting mechanisms of Representative Democracy. Emma is an Anarchist, and these funny little people propose direct action over transferal of responsibility to statists; Direct action is one of anarchists strongest policies (and, in fact, defines them).

On top of that, most effective forms of direct action have been made illegal, leaving only the option of a farcical “leader election”. If voting was as effective as direct action, and gave people what they wanted (equal distribution of resources, public health care, friendly foreign policy, blanced trade, etc.), it would have become illegal long ago.

It also reflects (and this is going a little deeper into anarchist ideology) the opinion/fact that the elected leaders are more servants of the capitalistic power structure (the structure itself, if not the corporate special interests), than of the general public. A plethora of human rights and environmental issues (and I use the word "issues" in it’s most horrifying incarnation) stem directly from the giving of individual consent to corporate lackeys to make national policy decisions.

Unfortunately, it just isn't realistic to expect the average voter to spend the time to become more aware of the consequences of representative democracy ; The voter trades the value of common survival for the more tangible value of leisure and consumer goods. That's basic economics.

Voting can change which elected officials we put/keep in office. We don't like one, we vote him/her out and replace them with a candidate who we think can do a better job. Unfortunately, most politicians are exactly the stereotypical immoral, greedy, and/or corrupt people we imagine them to be. Yes, there are still a few good men (and women) in office who actually care about their constituents--people who actually care about more than just getting reelected--and we have that to be thankful for. But the sad truth is that these are the exception, rather than the rule. America has (d)evolved into a nation that is run entirely by the rich. These days, the average citizen can't possibly afford a political campaign. Only wealthy individuals can afford to run for office and win. Not only that, but these candidates, most of whom are already millionaires, recieve even more money from large corporations in the form of "campaign contributions"--a polite term for "bribes".

As a result, the people rich enough and manipulative enough to make it into a position of power forget the little people who got them there, and only remember the multi-billion dollar corporations who lined their pockets along the way. The government "of, by, and for the people" is now virtually owned and operated by big businesses. Money is power in America. Perhaps voting could change things, if only the freedom of choice came with options worth choosing.

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