dreamingdrinking when I wrote this,
Forgive me if it goes astray
But when I woke up this morning
I could have sworn it was
-apologies to Prince and his song
“THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION EVER!” (said nearly every election)
Various get out the vote campaigns are in action. My wife and kids have been bombarded with mail explaining that this is the most important election ever. The NFL has an obnoxious (in my opinion) get out the vote commercial. MTV has their quadrennial “Rock the Vote” campaign. The Internet is besot with people claiming that you should vote in “the most important election ever”. Even my favorite radio station exhorts me to get out and vote.
My thinking on voting has evolved over time:
Eight stages of voting
(shamelessly stolen from bitjuggler )
1. You believe in the story you’ve been fed about the system; you enthusiastically research the candidates’ positions; you discuss and debate those positions with friends and relatives; then you vote for whom you decide is the best candidate to fill the position.
2. You see that government is “not working” and blame the people currently holding positions in it. You look over the electoral options available and vote for the non- incumbents you determine are best suited to fill the position. A follow-on iteration to this is that you search for the non-incumbent candidates who have never held office.
3. You say to yourself, “if only a wise and benevolent individual of high moral fiber and character could be convinced to run for office”; and you eventually recognize “the one we’ve all been waiting for”;(cough, Ron Paul) and you contribute to, and campaign for this individual as though he or she were the physical manifestation of all that could be considered “the way”.
4. You come to the conclusion that the two party system is only half as bad as a one party system like communism – and you strike a blow for liberty by casting a ballot for a third party.
5. You return to the two party fold – realizing that the only way change can be invoked will be by working within that existing system. In this stage you’ve actually convinced yourself that there is only one party that stands a chance of being converted to good.
6. You’re not happy with any of the available candidates; but go to the polls to cast a ballot for the lesser of the two evils that are likely to win.
7. You submit an empty ballot – hoping that others will join you and that, somehow, someone will notice.
8. You stay home on election day and do something worthwhile with your time.
Reasons not to vote:
1) Your vote doesn’t matter
Mathematically, your vote is meaningless and becomes more so when more people vote. No presidential election has ever been decided by a single vote. Very, very few congressional elections have been decided by a single vote. If an electoral race is close, the winner is most likely going to be decided by the courts, not your measly little vote.
2) Giant Douche or Turd Sandwich
The choices are horrible! This is the best and brightest you have to offer? A game show host/real estate investor or a career politician (hasn’t held an honest job in 47 years)? Both are disagreeable. Neither are qualified to make decisions about your life. Hell, they can’t even run their own lives. I’ll be damned if they run mine.
3) The game is rigged!
- Suppression of third party candidates
- Dead people voting.
- People voting twice.
- Televised Debate access (3rd parties regularly dismissed)
- Polls (3rd parties regularly dismissed)
- Who counts the votes?
- Ballots miraculously found in a ditch or the back of a van
- Easy hack-ability of voting machines
- Outright fraud
4) Democracy itself is flawed
It has been said that “Democracy” is three wolves and a sheep deciding what to have for dinner. Democracy is antithetical to your personal freedom. You should view it suspiciously. Voting is implicitly a coercive act. By voting, you are saying that your way is better than anyone else’s way. Your vote is an attempt to impose your will over others through the use of the state.
5) Voting cedes your personal autonomy
There are aspects of your life that government just should not be involved in. What you ingest, inject, smoke, drink or eat is none of the government’s damned business. The money you earn should be none of the government’s business.
Voting is actively diving into the cesspool of politics then clinging to the most popular floating turd. Don’t be surprised when some of the stink clings to you.
“Truth does not depend upon a majority vote. Two plus two equals four regardless of how many people vote that it equals five.” -Carl Watner*
6) Voting only encourages them
If a fella wins by 51%, he says he has a mandate to tell the other 49% how they should live their lives. Nothing is further from the truth. If anything he or she should realize what a tenuous situation he is really in. Sadly, humility doesn’t sell well. Voting increases government legitimacy. Participating in the charade gives the charade legitimacy.
7) Politicians don’t give a damn about you
You are nothing but tax cattle to them. Give up 30%–40%! of your income so they can profit from their wars and insider trading. Do you ever wonder why several of the laws they write specifically exclude themselves?
Criticisms of not voting
“If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”
-from the song “Free Will” by the band
Not voting is indistinguishable from apathy
True. See point number 1 above. Your vote/non-vote is meaningless. It is also indistinguishable from all the noise created by those millions of other votes.
If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain.
Those who play the game must accept the outcome, those who refuse to play the game have every right to complain. I complain vigorously about lots of things I haven’t voted on (the weather, the state, the Chinese government, the roads on my way to work, blue laws, the price of land, other drivers, kids these days…)
Voting is a right and a duty
A right implies the right to ignore said right. Lots of people ignore their 2nd amendment rights.
And a “duty”, A DUTY? Well, f**k off, slaver. I’ll determine what duties I have.
Instead do something productive with your time. Like washing your luxurious goatee, or plucking your eyebrows, or cleaning the grit from under your fingernails. Or partying like it’s 1999.
“A man is no less a slave because he is allowed to choose a new master once in a term of years.”
This song seems appropriate.
*My 2nd favorite IT guy at work has “2+2+5” tattooed on his wrist. He’s a little…weird.