To be clear, I don’t live in Alabama now. But I grew up there, in Mobile, and spent many years in Birmingham. For that reason, people assume I must take special interest in the Senate race there.
It’s a runoff for the Republican nomination to fill the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by Jeff Sessions, now Trump’s attorney general. The general election isn’t until December, but in Alabama in recent years the GOP primary is often the “real” race for offices voted on statewide.
The contestants are both conservatives, but anyone of any party or none (except someone who voted in the Democratic primary) may vote in Tuesday’s runoff.
A liberal acquaintance recently said to me, “If you still lived there, what would you do about that Senate race?” She shook her head sadly as she asked this.
And a family member back in what I jocularly refer to as the Old Country asked me yesterday what I thought abut the race, given two such “good” choices. (Most of my family in Alabama are quite conservative.)
Here’s what I think about the Alabama Senate race: I don’t care. And if I lived there, I would do nothing about it. The last thing I would do is vote.
Before writing this post, I had to go online to make sure I knew who’s running.
I was pretty sure Roy Moore was in there (I was right); he’s the former Alabama chief justice famous for trying to install a Ten Commandments monument in the supreme court building. Recent Alabama attorney general Luther Strange, I learned, is the other. Strange is actually the sitting Senator, having been appointed to the office pending this special election.
There was a time when I used to care, greatly, about elections. I even ran for office a few times myself, as a Libertarian.
Now I can’t believe I spent so much mental and physical energy on the whole political charade. And I wonder why so many other people tie themselves in knots fretting over which power-lusting sociopath or rent-seeking hack will get to rule over them.
That’s as inconceivable to me now as it would be to get het up over who comes out on top in a struggle to be a boss in the MS-13 organization.
U.S. Senators wield the power of writing laws. Laws are used as the excuse and the mechanism for pushing the rest of us around, forcing us to do this and refrain from doing that, pre-empting our own plans and choices. Laws also authorize taxation, which is simply legalized robbery. Laws are enforced ultimately at gunpoint.
An aside: Laws are not the same as the freely adopted rules you and I and others might agree to to ensure the smooth and harmonious running of our communities and businesses. A more peaceful world, where the initiation of force has been abandoned, might require more rules than we have now. I’m all for rules, but I’m against laws (and the people who proliferate and enforce them, for the most part).
Personally, I don’t think the office of U.S. Senator (President, “representative,” etc.) should exist, any more than I think the office of Mafia don should exist. This assumes Mafia bosses are like in the movies — shaking down businesses, ordering hits on rivals, and carrying out miscellaneous aggressions against the innocent. In other words, acting like politicians and their hired bullies.
The difference between a senator and a Mafia boss or MS-13 leader is that most people don’t think the latter two have some God-given or legally sanctified right to take our money, tell us how to behave, and disrupt our lives through their criminal activities. But if you’re talking about core operating principles, I don’t see much distinction.
Believing as I do that there should not be senators, why in the world would I vote for one, or care about the outcome of an election for one?
I stopped voting after the 2008 election (when I wrote my dog in for president). I kick myself for participating in the electoral nonsense as many years as I did.
I have zero interest in voting now, even when the differences between candidates are perceived to be wider than those separating Moore and Strange in the Alabama GOP runoff. Most of my friends, family and acquaintances don’t understand this. For instance (they say), surely anyone can see there was a huge difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
From my perspective as a voluntaryist or individualist anarchist, Trump and Clinton — despite some policy differences and the different ideological bases to which they played — were united in their core assumption: the legitimacy of using state power to override individual freedom and remold a society of 320 million people to their liking. They differed in who they wanted pulling the levers, “me, Hillary,” or “me, Donald.”
There was no candidate in 2016, including the Libertarian, saying the U.S. government (so called) should be dissolved and that the principle of using initiated force to order people’s lives should be renounced forever. Had there been, I still wouldn’t have voted. Elections are exercises to see who can form the bigger gang at the polls, and thus gain the “right” to beat up everyone else. To me, that’s morally troubling.
I refuse to take sides in the thinly disguised gang warfare of elections and voting, regardless of who the candidates are. Given this position, should anyone even wonder why I don’t give a rodent’s rear end about the Alabama Senate race?