I have had discussions with two people recently who have criticized me for not voting, so I think I should clarify why I don’t.
Ever since I was a small child, I have been an avid student of history, economics and politics. I have constantly put my beliefs to the test and have changed them when I found they couldn’t withstand the hot fires of reason. Some of these beliefs have been harder to discard then others. Willingness to think and listen to logic even when it hurts are the hallmarks of a well functioning human being. I don’t allow what everyone else thinks to influence my beliefs; at the time I dropped religion, I didn’t know a single person who wasn’t religious. In that same independence of mind vein, I have come to the conclusion that voting is not only useless, but it could be immoral as well. I realize that this is a highly unpopular stance to take, but hear me out, I have my reasons.
Let’s take a look at our current two-party political system. The way the electoral college and election rules are set up, it is virtually impossible for any alternative parties gain momentum and rise to power. My two options left are the Republicans and the Democrats. Both parties are horrifically corrupt and both engage in gerrymandering, pandering to special interests, and cheat in the actual elections (any time an election is audited, thousands of extra voters are found and that’s just the most obvious way to fix an election).
The Republicans and Democrats are virtually mirror images of each other and they are run by the same group of people. The parties only pick a couple of minor “issues” each year to focus on… usually small policies that don’t affect the ruling power’s economic and political interests, such as abortion, how to pull out of Iraq, etc. The truly important issues are never really brought before the public: taxation, overall government services, and future major diplomacy plans (everyone knows we are pulling out of Iraq, the only issue being argued now is when). Bush was supposedly a conservative, yet he raised taxes at a rate far greater than that of Clinton. Clinton was supposedly a liberal, but he did not hesitate to use force… I could go on for hours listing examples like this, but the essence is that both parties follow the same policies on the most important issues. It makes sense that they do so, because the key people that run both political parties come from the same elite group. They attend the same universities, are members of the same country clubs and laugh at the common people while they relax in the steam rooms. The only difference between America and Russia is that the Russian people are not deluded into thinking that they have true political power.
Another reason not to vote is simple mathematicsl. Even assuming that the system isn’t completely corrupted (which it most definitely is), there are 300 million people in America. Statistically speaking, 1/300,000,000 is a big, fat Zero. You don’t matter at all. You have better odds of winning the Lottery, than you do of having your vote make the least bit of difference. Playing the Lottery is widely acknowledged by economists and other intellectuals as an incredibly stupid thing to do; why do we insist that voting is any different? Even if it did matter, my vote would just be canceled by one of the countless rednecks, welfare queens, Puyallupians and other distasteful people I wouldn’t even associate myself with, much less allow to control my destiny. And don’t feed me a bunch of bullshit about “duty”; my only duty is to the people I love, not to the unwashed masses. By wasting a day or two researching the issues and candidates, then voting, I am throwing away time I should be spending with people who are important to me or earning money to support myself and those I love. Thus voting violates my basic moral principles.
When you vote, you are implying that you support the structure of elections and that you believe you can make a difference, even in the face of a mountain of evidence that your vote doesn’t matter. I will not give my implied support for my own slavery. I don’t have a choice but to accept the current political system because I have no power currently, but I am not going to participate in it. One day, I hope to be a part of that elite group that controls the major policies in this country. The King of America does not demean himself by pretending along with the rest of the country that the Emperor has clothes. I leave that to you, MTV watchers. You can rock the vote, but I think I’ll try to reach the halls of power where I can make some real changes.