Alan:It occurred to me today that "the poor" don't vote and "the rich" do.
Although I like the rhetorical ring of Emma Goldman's quip, "If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal," shunning the ballot box is politically counterproductive, diminishing the vision of poor people with the calamitous notion that they are "right" -- even "noble" -- not to vote.
Meanwhile the "smart money" "gets out" "the wealthy vote."
The rich throng the polls in such large numbers that a clear minority of Americans prolongs and expands the tentacular reach of plutocracy.
It is true that voting may not accomplish much.
But like Churchill's observation that "Democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others," the vote is the best political option we've got.
If everyone earning zippo to $50,000.00 a year voted, the federal government of the United States would be as enlightened as the governments of Europe, enacting single payer healthcare, guaranteeing months of paid leave for new mothers, weeks of paid leave for new fathers, a minimum of four weeks paid vacation, free college education and a guaranteed national salary of $25,000.00 (adjusted for inflation) like the one Richard Nixon proposed and, ironically, Milton Freidman supported.
Do the math folks. If Richard Nixon got within spitting distance of a guaranteed national income, "the poor" can vote their way out of poverty simply by voting at the same rate wealthy people do.
"Guaranteed Minimum Income: The Most Conservative Way To Fight Poverty"
Part of the answer may be that the rich vote more than the poor. Seventy-eight percent of Americans making over $150,000 per year voted in the 2008 election, while less than half of those making under $30,000 per year voted.