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Kirby: Ignore hype and vote your conscience
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2008, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Tomorrow is Election Day. We get a chance to fix things in America by voting our consciences - or what passes for them. If you don't have one, I'll loan you mine. I prepared my 2008 voting conscience in the usual manner. For months I hung up on every telephone call encouraging me to vote, refused to put campaign signs in my yard or on my truck, and pressed "mute" every time a political ad appeared on TV. I did not visit a single candidate's Web site nor contribute even a dime toward a campaign, and I boycotted every rally, speech and fundraiser. There was one important change: I stopped telling anyone attempting to engage me in political dialogue that their mother had, at some point prior to their birth, dated a zoo animal. My wife says such allegations - however true they might be - have nothing to do with the process of democracy. Since she was right last time about running over campaign signs, I went along with her.

This does not mean that I'm uninformed about the issues. I have opinions about things like crime, abortion, the environment, the economy, foreign policy and whether dogs should be allowed to marry cats.

But I didn't formulate my opinions on these matters by listening to political candidates, particularly their campaign speeches, which are about as informative as gum.

I form my political opinion based on how I feel. Frankly, that's what a conscience is in the first place. Pure logic dictates that it's cheaper to simply let the poor starve, but it's the human conscience that makes us feel otherwise.

When I go into the booth tomorrow, I don't want my conscience cluttered with a bunch of noise from candidates I mostly don't know and probably wouldn't have anything in common with if I did.

By and large the candidates would prefer that you vote their conscience, especially if you don't have one of your own, or yours is a little weak from nonuse.

Case in point is the Utah voter information pamphlet sent out by the state. In it, Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Dell Schanze says, "If you are unsure then fill your heart with love, completely open your mind and pray to God earnestly."

Dell assumes that God will then prick our consciences to vote for him. It's a risky campaign strategy. What if God moves us to hang Schanze instead?

When you go into the booth tomorrow (assuming that your conscience doesn't tell you to stay home), get in touch with your inner voter. Do what you feel is right and not what someone else told you.

The nice thing about elections is that, afterward, the politicians will shut up for a while. If your conscience does, too, then you voted for the right person.

rkirby@sltrib.com

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