Short one today.
Another election day has rolled around. Yes, I did my civic duty and voted.
And yet, on my news feed in another forum I have been seeing a number of posts on the topic of how useless voting is. One has this stock picture with text about how the person doesn’t vote because voting is choosing who will be master over ones neighbor and nobody has the legitimate authority to do that. Another has a picture of the scene from Charlie Brown where Lucy is holding the football and Charlie Brown is getting ready to kick it (or not, as this generally goes) with “Go ahead. It will be different this time. And, of course, there’s the late George Carlin’s comedy routine on not voting.
Then there’s the old standby of insanity being defined as doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. (Funny thing is, I’ve never seen an actual definition of insanity–which is a legal, not a medical, term–that said that.)
A lot of people, particularly among the conservative to libertarian folk, are very dismissive of the idea of voting.
I just have one question: How is not voting supposed to help? I mean, aside from giving the person taking that position a sense of smug self-righteousness?
Seriously, how is not voting supposed to help? Are the candidates who win (candidates who don’t are a non-issue since they have no power, not being in office) supposed to look at low voter turnout and say “well, we need to change to appeal to all those people who couldn’t bother to vote”? Do you actually think that’s even a remote possibility?
Or perhaps you think that staying away will let things collapse that much faster and we can have a civil war and…. Um. Whatever fantasies you might tell yourself, if you actually look at history, revolutions and civil wars have a very bad record when it comes to producing anything good. The American revolution was very nearly unique in that regard and relied on a widespread popular support for the ideals of freedom (however poorly implemented at the time) that, if we actually have here would mean that we wouldn’t actually need a civil war to implement pro-liberty policies. And if we don’t, what naive self-delusion makes you think a civil war followed by a Consititutional Convention–with delegates chosen by the same people who send representatives to Washington now–will produce any better results than voting does now. And that’s assuming that other powers don’t use the idea of such civil unrest in the US as an opportunity to put their own thumb on the scales to their advantage rather than ours.
The best I reason I can come up with, really, is folk are denigrating voting simply to make themselves feel good, not to accomplish anything in the larger world. If that’s what you want, then more power to you.
Just close the door and wash your hands afterward.