As benedictory aphorisms go, "every vote counts" is right up there with your mother telling you that everyone is special and your coach reminding you that it doesn't matter if you win or lose, it's how you play the game. Obviously some poeople are more special than others, and no one remembers the sportsmanlike conduct of Dallas in Superbowl X. The conceit of representative democracy, particularly when linked to state capitalism, is that procedural participation makes citizens into shareholders. There is a certain truth to this. But just as getting a yearly proxy statement and invitation to the annual meeting does not confer upon each small investor even marginal influence on the direction of GE, or whichever, nor yet does the franchise offer citizens much more than a semiannual opportunity to pretend that they matter, should they so desire. And, hell, that is part of the bargain. The small investor becomes a shareholder in order to gain benefit even though he holds no particular authority, has no say, exerts no influence, and bears no special responsibility. He's just along for the ride, but for the PR purposes of our so-called free markets, we are willing to entertain the ritual but un-literal truth that each shareholder is an "owner." Meanwhile, most shareholders haven't even got so direct a link as the independent investor, but simply gain by membership in some larger, institutional investment pool, some mutual fund or pension plan or what have you. Our democracy tracks similar lines via voters and affinity groups, and so long as the percieved value of our tiny shares is on the increase, we are content; when it decreases, we are not; but at no point do we have any say in the decisions made by those who actually own the joint.