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Monday, November 1, 2010

Top Reasons Not to Vote

I'm tired of get out the vote campaigns that pretend that they care about things like 'involvment', 'patriotism', or 'civic duty.'  Let's face it, when people say, "don't forget to vote tomorrow," what they usually mean to say is, "don't forget to vote for the party I support tomorrow."   So, what seems like a selfless, nation-enhancing act, is really nothing than self-interested politics.

There are two time-honored and indisputable legitimate reasons NOT to vote:

1.  You are ignorant about issues and/or candidates

If you don't know what or for whom you are voting beyond their name and their party, then you need to ask yourself why you are voting in the first place.  Are you just voting for a party that you think serves your interests?   That isn't always a safe bet particularly in today's environment where there's a lot of variance on certain key issues even within each party (blue-dog vs. liberal, neocon moralist vs. tea party vs. Rockefellarian).  Even worse, if you don't know anything about the issues, or if all your information is from mainstream media (be in liberally biased MSNBC or conservatively biased Fox News ....) ....then you likely are doing the country a dis-service by voting.  Not just that, but you are doing yourself a disservice.

2.  You are disenchanted with the political climate or discourse

If you are of the opinion that by in large (particularly at the Federal level, though not necessarily at the State level always...) that politics and the political climate has become dirty, corrupt, loud, or unintelligent, and if third parties are almost surely losers, then why vote for the establishment?   You can elect someone whose views are more in line with yours, but if the politics of the day preclude their goals from being realistically attainable, then what is the point in voting?

So, if you know who and what you are voting for and you are ok with one or both of the two main political machines, then by all means vote.  If not, then don't.  It's ok.  It's not your civic duty to vote.  It's your civic duty to be true to yourself.  Why take the time, gas, effort to stand in line to have a statistical probability of effecting an election equal to winning the lottery for something you either don't know enough about, or don't feel will be effectual in moving our country forward.

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