But such is not the case this year, and I can't believe that more people aren't excited and happy about it. Come on, people! This is democracy in action, as opposed to democracy inaction! For once South Dakotans votes are going to count! Next to the abolition of the electoral college (which is the next logical step) this is the best thing that could happen to South Dakota voters.
That said, I was still disillusioned with political parties, and I'm particularly disgusted by the stupid way the Democrats nominate their candidate, with the superdelegates and all that crap. Why does "complicated" automatically equal "better"? That's what's getting in the way of abolishing the electoral college, that and the that's-the-way-we've-always-done-it fallacy. So, I was torn: on the one hand, I'm quite happy not being allied with a political party, which may or may not represent my actual views, but on the other hand, it meant I couldn't vote in the primaries. It made me feel a bit disenfranchised, even though I do understand the logic behind it, and I acknowledge that it's fair even though I don't agree with it. The logic is that the parties are choosing their nominee for president, so only members of the party should vote; in other words, the party is choosing who's representing them, so only members of the party should vote, the way that only a state's residents can vote for its senators and only US citizens can vote for the president when it comes to the national election.
So at first I decided I was going to take a sort of passive-aggressive stand by remaining registered as an independent and not voting in the primary. This decision was also partially influenced by the fact that the primaries are on June 3rd, and I intend to be out of town on that date, and I sure as hell did not intend to stick around for the sole purpose of voting.
Then I was reminded that there's an option of voting early. Basically its absentee voting, but instead of sending away for the ballot you just go to the county auditor and fill it out on site, the rationale being that, while you may not be absent from the county on that date, you might have other, more pressing things to do (or at least that's how I understand it). So then I was torn again, but as the race between Obama and the female Clinton gets closer and closer, I was overwhelmed with the feeling that if I didn't take this opportunity to vote for Barack Obama now I might never get the chance, and I would regret it for the rest of my life, as I regret my failure to vote in the 2000 election. And I decided that that potential regret would outweigh the regret of registering with a political party.
So I went and registered and voted, and I'm feeling good about it, but I'm still feeling ideologically unsettled about being registered with a particular party again. On the one hand, there's no reason why I can't re-register as independent again, but it feels like civic irresponsibility to keep switching back and forth based on the circumstances. There's nothing fraudulent about it or anything, but there seems to be that sort of air of trying to get around the system. Arguably, I am trying to get around the system, but the way I see it, I'm just trying to circumvent the parts of the system that don't work, and try to vote for people who are going to try and fix it. But as of right now, I get more opportunities to try and fix the system by being part of one of the two major parties, so it kind of makes more sense to be registered. And it's not as though being a registered party member means you have to give them money or participate in party activities. They don't kick you out of the party for non-participation. So I guess if I'm a Democrat in name only and it only matters once every four years, and that only for the purpose of voting in the primary, I'm okay with that. The worst that can happy is that I get slightly more junk mail than I would have otherwise.