A Different Drum
“Don’t Vote. It Just Encourages the bastards.” — PJ O’Rourke
“It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.” — Winston Churchill
The election is on Tuesday, so it’s time to vote.
We all know all of the reasons not to vote. Vote anyway.
The system is corrupt. Both major parties are bought and paid for by various, only slightly different special interests. Vote anyway.
Your vote doesn’t mean much. The odds are miniscule that a single vote could actually make a difference in any race on the ballot. Vote anyway.
It’s a waste of time. It’s quite a hassle to vote. For some unknown reason, you have to register ahead of time, then go down to some location during the middle of the week to vote. Unlike other countries, we don’t hold elections on the weekend; we hold them during prime work time. In many areas, the lines are incredibly long. They are often longest in the areas where poor and minority people live.
Take the time; endure the hassle. Vote anyway.
The candidates are horrible. It’s always like choosing between the lesser of evils. Even the best candidate on the ballot doesn’t truly share your values. They compromise too much or too little and change their positions on issues with the winds.
Choose one. Vote anyway.
Some of your ideas are unpopular. Only minor parties are willing to stand up for them and the small parties rarely get any power or influence. Choosing between small parties and the two major ones is often a choice between your values and any hope of those values being implemented.
Make the choice. Vote.
Money has corrupted the system beyond recognition. It takes millions to accomplish anything and you don’t have millions to spend. Even if you did, you’d feel dirty spending it this way. The rich and powerful spend heavily to influence your vote and even your choice of candidates.
Ignore them as much as you can. Vote anyway.
Negative advertising has soured you on nearly all of the candidates. Even your favorites spend more of their time slaming their opponents than telling you what they would do for the community, state, or country. It’s hard to believe that any of them are worthy of an act of affirmation like voting. It makes you so cynical, if not depressed, you want to exit the system entirely.
Stay in. Hold your nose. Vote.
The initiatives on the ballot are complex and misleading. Some aren’t nearly what they appear to be. Even the ones you might want to support have elements you dislike. Some initiatives do good things, but are so multifaceted they have unintended consequences. Enshrining these things in law through the initiative process is likely to make them difficult to undo.
Vote for them, vote against them. Just vote.
For so many races and issues, it’s hard to figure out how to vote. Many political offices are for positions that should just be appointed bureaucrats, not elected officials. Candidate statements, if they exist at all, do little to help you determine the best candidate.
Flip a coin if you have to. Pick one. Vote.
There are forces in this country who don’t want you to vote. They throw up barriers, make it difficult and try to confuse you. They do this most to those with the least political power.
Push past the barriers. Vote anyway.
Some things you vote for won’t be implemented. They’ll be undermined by the legislature or overturned by the courts.
Vote for them anyway.
It’s hard to believe your vote is secure or will be counted. Votes are counted by machines created by private companies (only two companies count 80 percent of the ballots in the country; both are politically connected). Voting machines can be hacked. Elections officials throw out millions of ballots on technicalities.
Push for reform later. Vote Tuesday.
With our strange electoral college, your presidential vote only means much if you’re living in a handful of states (maybe seven to nine) where the election will be truly close. With modern polling, we already know the outcome in all of the others.
Contribute to that outcome. Vote.
The electoral college also means that the candidate receiving fewer votes may actually win. This has happened four times in our short national history. Because there are vested interests in that system, it is difficult to change.
Contribute to the meaningless national referendum. Vote.
Our system is corrupt and your vote is a useless waste of your time. But until someone comes up with a way to fix things without voting, it’s what we have. Keep trying to change our system from within and from without.
But for now: Vote.
Michael Carley is a resident of Porterville. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.