Choosing the greater good

There are better choices than the lesser of two evils

The author is a physician’s assistant specializing in reproductive health care. She lives in Chico.

I heard Native American activist, songwriter and poet John Trudell speak recently in Grass Valley. He said that he chose not to participate in voting because voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil.

It occurred to me that voters are being manipulated like 2-year-olds. As a young mother I was told, to avoid conflict, never to ask a 2-year-old any question that can be answered with the word “no.”

In other words, never ask, “Do you want to put your socks on?” Ask instead, “Do you want to put on your blue socks or your green socks?” The child will be pleased to have the power to decide, not thinking to ask, “Do I want to put on socks at all?”

I lived at one time in a rural county and was fascinated by two service stations that were built right next to each other in one very small town. The price for gas at one of them was consistently 10 cents less per gallon than the price next door.

After years of wondering, I finally had to pull in and ask the attendant of the lower-price station how the other guy stayed in business.

He gave me the biggest grin. He said, “What makes you think there is another guy?”

He explained that, had I pulled into the other station, he would simply have gone through the back door and come out the front door of the other place. He pointed out that it was the perfect plan. Everyone was happy—those who thought they got better gas for more money and those who wanted a bargain. And the best part of the plan was that no one would ever come to this small town and think, “What this town needs is another gas station.” This man had set it up with a clear purpose. He would never have any real competition.

Both political parties are bought and paid for by the same few. We are offered two choices, both of which are good choices only for those who paid for them. How do we change the world so we don’t have to vote for the lesser evil, but for the greater good? I admire the Occupy demonstrators for their efforts, and their courage, to try to find a way.