Don’t Vote

--Contributed by Geoff Wilson


I believe George Carlin encapsulated this approach the best. He said “I have solved this political dilemma in a very direct way: I don’t vote. On Election Day, I stay home. I firmly believe that if you vote, you have no right to complain. Now, some people like to twist that around. They say, ‘If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain,’ but where’s the logic in that? If you vote, and you elect dishonest, incompetent politicians, and they get into office and screw everything up, you are responsible for what they have done. You voted them in. You caused the problem. You have no right to complain. I, on the other hand, who did not vote — who did not even leave the house on Election Day — am in no way responsible for that these politicians have done and have every right to complain about the mess that you created.”

I think what this line of thought represents is a recognition that the political process always comes down to mob actions in which one group gangs up on another group, and in which the strongest group wins. Politics thus does not represent us at our best, but instead enshrines our worst monkey tendencies and attempts to whitewash them into something honorable. Democracy is thus an acceptable form of government only when all parties have agreed to abide by the result a priori, and understand that the results will fall within a defined range all of which are acceptable to them. Since no one alive today had anything to do with the creation of the rules that we are following and which define the range within which the results can fall, this brings into question the validity of the decision making process itself, which is what Carlin referenced.

Once you realize, as the two recent conventions so thoroughly demonstrated, that the political system in this country is at best theater meant to soften the discontent and encourage the willing suspension of disbelief amongst the subjects, you also realize that there is no way to reform the political system from inside the political system. And it is at this point that you also recognize that voting equals complicity.

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