by Philip Hensley, Jr.
My name is Philip, and I used to be a voter. It was an addiction I struggled with for almost eight years, but this past weekend I went cold turkey and stopped voting. I’ve now been vote-free for almost three days, and while there’s still a week of early voting left and an opportunity to relapse, I think I can make it through next Tuesday and not vote. Sure, voting is the “cool” thing to do right now, and “everybody is doing it,” but this year, I’m not voting.
This weekend, I felt tempted to go into voting booth and pull the lever for Bob Barr, and perhaps vote for a Ron Paul endorsed candidate in my local district race (B.J. Lawson). And I really had the urge to vote against a proposed tax on prepared food in my county. In fact, I decided that I would go vote, but after November 4th I wouldn’t vote anymore. After all, it was just one time. I could handle voting just one more time right?
On Saturday, I drove to a local school to vote, but the line was really long, and it was about to rain outside. I’ll come back, I told myself. On the way home I decided to not go back. But after a couple of hours, the self-doubt started to creep in. Isn’t voting a duty, or a responsibility, or one of those other clichés that I hear all the time? Didn’t soldiers give their lives so I could have the opportunity to vote? Then I thought of all the peer-pressure and ridicule I might face after not voting. How could I tell anyone I hadn’t voted? “What, you didn’t vote!? How could you not vote? Your vote is the best way to make your voice heard,” I could already hear other people saying.
That afternoon, I drove back to the voting place. This time the line was much smaller, and I could have been in-and-out in less than ten minutes. I got out of the car, walked past all the parasites handing out campaign literature outside the polls, and got in line. The first thing I saw posted on the entrance door was a sign that said, I saw all the people in line with their voter guides and sample ballots filled out so they could remember who to vote for. It was evident than many of these people had spent weeks and weeks contemplating who to vote for. There was also a sign on the door that read, “VOTING IS THE CORNERSTONE OF DEMOCRACY.”
I walked away without voting, and it felt great. I realized a couple of things. First, voting isn’t a duty or a responsibility. And even if it was, your vote really doesn’t matter. The question isn’t why don’t more people vote; the real question is why so many people vote in the first place. If you were sick on election day and couldn’t make it to the polls and vote, would anything have changed? No. The same candidate that won would have won, and the same candidate that lost would have lost. Elections are won and lost by big groups of swing voters who usually have a vested financial or political interest in the outcome of the election. In fact, you probably have a better chance of being elected president yourself than being the one vote that decides the election. Why waste days, weeks, months or even years of my life deciding between Obama versus McCain? My vote isn’t going to change anything. And voting isn’t the best way to have your voice heard. The best way to influence the political process is to become wealthy and buy off a few congressmen to see things your way.
Every four years we hear the same crap from the two major party candidates. But the reality is if McCain wins, government is going to get bigger and more powerful. If Obama wins, government is going to get bigger and more powerful. “Conservative” radio hosts are going crazy over Obama’s “redistribution of wealth” comments, and showing concern for Obama’s supposed disrespect for the Constitution. So what if Obama wants to redistribute wealth. Republicans have been doing it for decades, just to different groups. Republicans aren’t really opposed to redistribution of wealth, they just want it redistributed to people that vote for Republicans. Look at all the wealth that has been redistributed to senior citizens, car manufacturers, and wall street banks over the past eight years, six of which happened under a Republican President that had a Republican-controlled Congress. Where were all the defenders of the Constitution hiding then?
My vote won’t change any of this. And why should I have to vote in order to prevent the government from taking over more of my life? Why is the burden on me? I refuse to give my consent to such a system and go through the charade of pretending that our government is legitimate. I’m proud to be a non-voter.
Got comments? Email me, dammit!
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