Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I’m not voting today and here’s why:

1.  Everyone says I have to. 

Log into facebook at all today and it’s going to be filled with pictures smug people (taken by themselves) proudly displaying their “I voted!” sticker.  This is the part that has always confused me.  Why do you feel the need to brag that you voted?  So everyone knows that you “did your civic duty” and are a productive member of society?  Because you like the design and think it’s aesthetically pleasing?  Or so you can hold it over people that didn’t vote?  I think that’s probably a main factor here.

Everyone that doesn’t vote is shunned and viewed as a lazy, incompetent, apathetic asshole that probably gets food stamps, doesn’t know where Alaska is, and hates the troops.  This is retarded bullshit.  I’ve often heard people say, “It doesn’t matter who you vote for, just vote!”  Why?  Because I can?  “Yes!  People died for your right to vote!  It’s a privilege and a duty!”  That’s right.  And people also died for my right to choose not to vote.  Voting is not the ultimate freedom that’s it’s made out to be.  The ability to vote is a pretty important freedom, but it’s not as important as, say, freedom of speech. 

But people act like you have to vote and that’s another reason why I say fuck you.  I haven’t told many people that I work with that I won’t be voting because I didn’t want to deal with the, “What?  Oh man what the hell you gotta you just gotta!!!?!?!” that would be sure to follow.  And I think that’s what it’s like everywhere (besides the south).  Voting has been built up to this massive idea like we’re personally deciding if Susan Grant in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania gets to have her abortion this month or not.  “But it basically does!  Romney wants to blow up Planned Parenthood and hang all abortion doctors!”  I know he does.  That’s really fucked up.  But his ideas are going to have to go through Congress or the House of Representatives or a giant game of roshambo or something (I don’t know how our government works [that’s okay though, I don’t think our government does either]).  This brings me to my next point:

2.  Your vote doesn’t matter

Sorry.  It’s true.  Electoral votes are the ones that count, not our votes.  Want an example?  Bush vs Gore circa 2000.  First of all, somehow the world didn’t end that year (don’t worry, it will end in December for reals this time).  Then we had a president that STOLE THE ELECTION!?!?!  Remember all of that?  Well, he didn’t steal the election.  He lost the popular vote but won the electoral votes.  And those are the ones that matter, not yours or mine.  It’s weird how they can tell us that we have a role in the election but not an actual say, right?  The Electoral College usually sides with the popular vote because they are lazy.  But sometimes they tell us to eat it and vote the other way.  That’s the way our system has been set up.  Why?  Because if it was truly up to us we would elect Kelly Clarkson to be president (as long as her new single is catchy, of course).  Basically, the general populace is regarded as stupid.  And that’s a fairly good assessment.  While working in Atlanta, I heard one of my coworkers say that he voted for Obama but didn’t know a single thing about his policies.  “I voted for him because he’s black.  I don’t know anything about him.”  If these weren’t his exact words, I’m only off by one or two.  This is why we need the Electoral College.  People often vote on petty, superficial things that don’t impact the way the candidate would run his (or her) presidency.  If I had voted, I would have cast my ballot for someone other than Romney because I think he’s a psychopath.

(Full disclosure:  I’m reading a book on psychopaths and it talks about the traits frequently associated with psychopathy.  So far I’ve diagnosed my boss, myself, Mitt Romney, most news anchors, and the guy at the corner store as fitting the clinical definition of “psychopath,” so I might have to dial it back a bit since I clearly have no idea what I’m talking about.)

3.  Our election cycle is too long and I grew tired of it long ago

Our elections last for about two years.  Two years for a four-year term.  That doesn’t make sense to me.  It’s far too much time to learn about the candidates.  When you have to fill that much time, you have to fill it with a lot of inconsequential bullshit.  Romney chained a dog to the roof of his car.  That’s fucked up.  But does it reflect the way he’d handle the growing tumult in the Middle East?  No.  Obama admitted to eating dog meat when he younger.  Does that reflect how he’s going to handle rising gas prices?  No.  With an election cycle as long as ours, we learn too much about our candidates and that leads us to vote with our emotions and not rational thought.  We learn things about them and we decide if we like them/dislike them and therefore believe that we know who they are and how they will lead.  But everything we ever see about these people is fake.  It’s all doctored to influence us in one way or the other.  They might as well be Muppets because it’s all fabricated.  So now you have people voting on which is their favorite Muppet instead of who has the best ideas. 

Combine the over-saturation of information with the constant barrage of attack ads, the personal phone calls, the debates, the media squabbling, and the general public discussions, and I’m just straight up sick of all this bullshit. 

I received a call last night from an Obama supporter that sounded like he was calling from India.  First of all, it might not be the smartest move to have a dude from a country known to be outsourced to for our phone sales/helpline jobs to be calling on behalf of a candidate while a major issue is keeping jobs within our borders.  I know he was calling from here, but I could easily see that being a talking point on Rush Limbaugh.  Secondly, I couldn’t understand a thing the guy said.  I was trying to half-joke with the guy, pretending I didn’t know there was a presidential election going on so I could see what he would say.  But I genuinely couldn’t understand him and I had to ask him to repeat himself too many times.  He eventually just said, “Thank you!” and hung up on me.

4.  It’s all rigged anyway

I’m not talking about the Illuminati or the Masons having long-ago decided the fate of our country or anything stupid like that.  I’m talking about the two-party system that our country has, for some reason, fallen into.  It wasn’t always like this.  Somehow, a plethora of parties was whittled down to two dickless, whining parties that act like brother and sister; constantly fighting.

The similarities between the candidates only seemed to emerge in the last month, but I attribute that to Romney backing down from everything he’s said in the past and trying to pretend like he believes what he doesn’t (or maybe it’s that he didn’t believe what he was saying before and was finally able to speak his mind under the guise of “trying to lure in undecideds with a more centrist lean”).  Everyone wants you to believe that the country would be two radically different climates under the presidencies of both candidates.  True, there will be differences.  But for the most part, 7-Eleven will still be open and bread will still go on sale once in a while.  It’s the old, “Same shit, different pile,” situation.

5.  I missed the deadline to register and I legally can’t.  Whoops.

Apparently, we have to vote or Puff Daddy will shoot us in the face (I wonder if he’s still threatening us to vote; I don’t have MTV anymore).  If I would have voted, I would have voted for Obama.  This is another reason I didn’t vote, because I live in California.  California will go blue, guaranteed, so my vote would have been inconsequential.  I voted in the last presidential election while I lived in Wisconsin, and I if I still lived there, I would have voted this time as well.  Our elections have been boiled down to the “swing states” and, apparently, all other states can go fuck themselves.  Everyone else is a little too predictable so the candidates focus on Ohio and Wisconsin to try to push their electoral votes over the rim.  Although your vote still doesn’t count in those states, it doesn’t count just a little bit less, so, I guess, you’ve got that going for you.

So to everybody I’m going to see on facebook today with your little oval sticker with the flag on it:  Good for you.  Would you like me to post a picture of the empty cereal bowl from my breakfast?  How about the soil of my potted plant?  No?  You think that stuff is boring and doesn’t interest you?  Good.  Now you know how I feel.


  1. 1) Sometimes people wear the sticker not to brag but merely because they find the process of voting invigorating. Voting makes me feel connected to my community, to the people in line with me, and while I'm not sure my single voice matters that much, I do believe that when we all come together and vote, we can make a difference, however small, and that's worth celebrating. I bet you pass more people today wearing a Nike logo than an I Voted sticker. Do you feel enraged by the pressure to wear Nike? Do you think those people are judging you for not wearing Nike?

    2) Fact Check: People claimed the 2000 election was "stolen" not because Bush lost the popular vote but because election fraud was so rampant and widely documented in Florida and Ohio that it was clear to outside observers that the election had in fact been rigged and stolen. Is the solution to this problem to throw our hands up and refuse to vote? Who will win if we do that? (Hint: not the good guys.)

    3. Yes, the cycle is too long and ridiculous and has gotten too divisive and expensive. So take a stand for campaign finance reform. If intelligent people bow out of the process, that leaves the field open for idiots, charlatans, and demagogues. If you voted, you would dilute the power of 1 idiot's vote. By not voting, you make his/hers more influential.

    4. If you think there's no difference between candidates, imagine a world where the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Gore rather than Bush in the 2000 recount and Gore won:
    -Probably more significant action against climate change.
    -Almost certainly no unfounded war in Iraq.
    -We might not have gone from a budget surplus to the largest national debt since WWII.
    -Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Rehnquist would have been replaced not by conservatives John Roberts and Samuel Alito but by moderates or liberals.
    -I.e., no Citizens United, no ruling against Affirmative Action, etc. etc.

    The next president will almost surely get to choose at least one Supreme Court justice, and the balance of power there is more important than in any other branch of government, because those fuckers serve for life and have the final say in everything. If you're happy with the prospect of Romney replacing 79-year-old, cancer-ridden Ruth Bader Ginsberg (God forbid) with another Clarence Thomas who will red stamp more decisions like Citizens United and overturn Roe v. Wade, the Fair Pay act, and more, then by all means, feel proud of about your decision not to do anything to stop him.

    5. Ah, there it is. If you truly felt you were 100% justified in not registering and voting, I doubt you would be expressing this much vitriol against it.

    Yes, the system is flawed. But it's the system we all collectively built, and when intelligent people who have the means to do the work it takes to guide our democracy choose instead to bow out (and then have the gall to bitch about how powerless we are to change anything!), it's no wonder the system is as shitty as it is.

    So yeah, thanks for that.