E-mail ... I get stacks and stacks of E-mail ....My e-mail box (info@jimhightower.com) was recently graced with a thoughtful inquiry from Chris in Illinois. Subject: What does voting solve? He's a young, concerned citizen who, like so many of us, is turned off by the negative and vacuous campaigns run by candidates of both major parties. He asked one of his grandparents what to do and was told: "Vote for the lesser of the two evils."But Chris isn't buying that, noting that even the lesser of the two evils, once in office, will resort to "pleasing his buddies on the hill and sucking up to big business for more contributions." So why vote at all, Chris asks?My response is that we must vote, if only to irritate the bastards. The lobbyists and politicians win when we default to them, so we should vote just to show them that we're here and paying attention to their finagling.But that doesn't mean being saps. Vote smart! Remember, the ballot really does give us choices. First, on most ballots you'll find two or three good people who really are worth voting for -- maybe not in the senatorial and congressional races, but on down among the state and local candidates. Dig them out and vote for them, but withhold your vote from the weasels at the top of the ticket. The result is your ballot is registered, as is the fact that the weasels didn't get your support. Second, there often are third party candidates that at least give you a protest opportunity, or there is the fun possibility of writing-in someone else -- maybe yourself! A third reason to vote are the initiatives on many ballots -- giving you a chance to by-pass the politicians all together.This is Jim Hightower saying ... Ultimately, though, our job as citizens is to be involved with the New Party, the Greens, the Labor Party, the Reform Party, the Alliance for Democracy and others working to build a new grassroots politics that ultimately will produce full slates of candidates worthy of our votes.

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