Have you ever told anyone before that you’re choosing NOT to vote in the presidential election? I imagine you have. And I can guess the response you’ve gotten, the almost involuntarily emetic regurgitation of that same cliqued expression, “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain!”. To me, that is just one of the dumbest things someone can say. Seriously, would you apply the same logic to a Cuban for electing Fidel Castro their president? You know, despite him being the only one on the ballot. Is it really that much more different to us in the US when you only have a whopping two people to choose from?
This presidential election period, I went in with some naÃ¯ve optimism. I really liked Ron Paul. I felt that he was an honest person, good hearted, and holstering some excellent ideas for change. However, it didn’t take too long for optimism to deflate back into a more stable state, that is, realism. Ron Paul’s beliefs of equality were a bit too unorthodox for main stream media, so they effectively lowered the volume on his campaign– silencing his chances of winning in the primaries. Now, I’ve reached a Zen of complete and unabated disillusionment with our democratic process. At the moment, it looks like McCain (of whom, I can’t actually find a single breathing supporter) has taken the Republican nomination. And on the Democrat side, it’s still a toss-up between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. I have nothing against the two democratic nominees (nor anything to say ‘for’ them); I’ve been focusing all of my energy on the republican candidates, which is the party, among a paucity of choices, I tend to align closest with. But I am not going to vote for McCain, so what am I left with for options?
If you have ever seen the movie “Waking Life”, you’ll recall a character in that movie that describes our democratic process rather well: “The powers that be wants us to be passive observers… And they haven’t given us any other options outside the occasional purely symbolic participatory act of voting. You want the puppet on the right or the puppet on the left?”.
The notion you’re fed to believe all your life, that voting is this pure form of self-expression, that you’re a small, yet vital cog in a democratic machine that requires your voice, is incredibly overstated. I’m not suggesting that voting is unimportant, or irrelevant. Because, to some small extent, it is, especially at the local level. But where it is most important, the big decisions, when deciding who will control the lever for this massive train that is the US, that decision, is not yours to make. If no candidate fits your liking, I say don’t vote. That is a decision you (thankfully still) have a right to make. So, adieu, go forth, and “let [your] own lack of a voice be heard” (Waking Life).