First, a confession: I didn't vote. No one in my family voted. Both the Beautiful Editrix and I looked at the situation, gagged, shrugged, and carried on. I did bother to fill out the ballot, but when I couldn't find the drop box, I decided that it really wasn't worth it. BE is a staunch libertarian, so for her this behavior is somewhat understandable. But I remain, albeit reluctantly, a liberal republican the Founders would easily recognize. So why did I not vote?
My answer is reminiscent of an onion: layered, smelly, and makes me want to weep.
You see, I live in Oregon. Oregon has one big city, two medium cities, a few large towns, and lots of medium to small ones. Humans occupy less than 10% of the land, and we are a very peculiar lot. Portland is infested with hipsters and SJW's who scorn the hinterlands (which they believe start at the city limits), and the rest of Oregon thinks Portland is full of effeminate weirdos who give us a bad name. Unfortunately, Portland and its suburbs also make up something like half the population of the state (if not more), and the congressional districts are very carefully gerrymandered so that 3/5 all get a piece of it. The third is dominated by Eugene, a lesser clone of Berkley, CA, and the final is the staunchly Conservative (or at least Republican) eastern half of the state.
The upshot is that Portland, which oh-so-trendily flirts with socialism and other idiotic political fads fashionable among the young and/or terminally naive, completely drowns out everything in my part of the state. Add the mail in ballots that extend the margin of fraud to an unguessable width, and you're squarely on the road to one-party rule (which, for all intents and purposes, we have).
Now, Oregon is kept out of basket case territory by two factors: one, we only permit our legislature to meet every other year and only for a few months and two, we're all armed to the teeth, even the socialists, and VERY protective of that right. So protective, in fact, that the two very disparate sides of Oregon manage to tolerate and even get along with each other in a way I never saw when I lived further south. If it's true that good fences make great neighbors, knowing that the other side is at least as well armed as you are means that courtesy is paramount. Besides, when even hippies can rhapsodize over the marvel of engineering that is the 1911A1, then there is always common ground!
I wish I could say I chose not to vote in imitation of GEN Marshall, but that would be a lie: between knowing that I'm deliberately drowned out in state matters and open to being defrauded on federal ones, not voting was a sadly easy choice to make. BE has voted maybe twice since we moved here, in large part because she trusts the system even less than I do (I did say she was more militant than I, just in delightfully womanly way: when I'm on a barricade, she'll be the one who pre-stocked it with ammunition and spots targets for me. She's just that kind of woman).
Does this mean I've given up on the republic? No, not yet. I know it's on the slide to democracy and thence dictatorship, but that's just the inevitable political cycle that's been known since the time of Plato. I don't think we're necessarily doomed, but I do know wasted effort when I see it. If this state is ever to be won back to a republican form of government, it will be from the level of the towns on up. Personally, I think we'll end up with a system where Portland gets to yap all they like, Salem codifies it, and the rest of the state ignores it well before we get any kind of major reform. We're not terribly far from that even now, and it seems to suit us just fine. So long as no one honestly goes after our guns and the taxes don't outrun the services, we'll get along just fine. It's when Salem starts being run from DC rather than just influenced by Portland that all bets are off, and even then I'm not willing to bet on what that would look like.
This is Oregon: we're an odd bunch, but we love our homes and our idiosyncrasies, and woe betide anyone who doesn't that decides to meddle.
But, as always, those are just my observations.