I don't entirely agree with Jodi on the issue of voting, but I'm close. I will vote, because at a minimum many local races do matter. There are much bigger differences there, but the others do also. There is a slightly lower chance of a new war being launched by Democrats, and things will go slightly better for the poor if they retain power. So in the absence of an organized and broad boycott of voting - which I would support in a minute, but without which not voting is a pointless gesture - I'll vote.
But voting takes about 10 minutes every two years, and it's importance in the scheme of real politics strikes me as roughly proportional to the percentage of my life it occupies. Indeed, the great and enduring lie that prevents real politics from occurring in modern industrialized society is the lie that voting is democracy, that voting is political participation. A huge part of the world's ecosystem is dying before our eyes, millions die of poverty each year, the last remnants of civil liberties are being destroyed, the US continues to prosecute two insanely illegal wars, continues to produce more weapons than the rest of the world combined, continues to hold a nuclear stockpile many times larger than needed to kill everyone on the planet, sells more weapons than the rest of the world combined. Our "liberal" Democratic president thinks that the US has the right to execute citizens on his declaration, with no judicial review.
And not a single candidate from either party will so much as say a single serious word about any of these things, pro or con. I would fall down on my knees and thank any deity you like, if someone would so much as name these things - come out and say "Yes, I believe we need more nukes than are necessary to kill everyone." But this will never happen, because the system we call "democracy" does not so much as allow serious issues to emerge to the level of conscious thought.
None of this will change without organizing, activism, and revolution. That revolution may be constructive and nonviolent, if enough people get off their asses and work for it: stop spending all their time telling us how wonderful Barbara Boxer is (a woman who defended the murder on the high seas of nonviolent activists by the chief US client state, and who defamed the UN and Amnesty International in the process), and start changing this corrupt system. Or it may be a violent conflagration that leads to facism: likely when the environment and economy collapse as it will without massive systemic change.
Voting is the opiate of the masses. But the people are in massive pain, so I'll give my little shot of morphine in a few days, and then get the hell back to trying to cure things. I wish more comfortable liberals, and disengaged academics would join me.