The trouble with democracy is that everyone gets a vote, even if they are idiots. Of course, the right to vote is what our country is built on, and who should get to decide who the idiots are anyway, right?
Wrong. I’m here to tell you, I get to decide, at least in one particular case. And what I have decided is: me. I am the idiot. And this is why I do not vote.
To my friends and acquaintances who might be thinking, wow, I didn’t realize she was that stupid, or, my God, she doesn’t even deserve to live in our proud nation! I say, think again. Because though I’ve never given much thought to politics, I have given quite a bit of thought to my reasons for not voting. Reasons which I can assure you are very good and sound and if you are really honest with yourself, you might realize that one or more of them apply to you, too. You might even decide to respectfully remove yourself from the ballot box this November, and if you do, know that I am right here cheering you on.
I am pretty sure that I have never voted in a presidential election, and I’ve been eligible since May of 1989. I say “I am pretty sure” because the fact is I may have voted for Bill Clinton the first time he ran, because I was in college at the time and still believed in things like “your vote makes a difference.” Also because Bill Clinton seemed like a big party just waiting to happen, and let’s face it, he was, but this was a killer instinct on my part never seen before or since. And so these days, I don’t vote in the same way that I don’t do heroin: with a firm resolution and a happy heart.
As far as I can tell, there are three kinds of citizens in our country when it comes to voting:
The Educated Voters are at the top of the food chain, so to speak. They believe strongly in the notion that voting is a civic duty and they take it pretty damn seriously. They read, they follow, they learn. They find out everything they can about candidates at the local, state, and federal levels, and when Election Day comes they cast an informed vote. These are the superstars of democracy. Which sounds sarcastic but I promise is not.
The Uneducated Voter would probably not agree that he or she is uneducated. Uneducated voters sometimes hang their choice of candidate on a single issue, or even no issue at all. I know someone who voted for Barack Obama because he smoked. Nothing against our current president, but cigarette usage should not be a deciding factor in whether you get the job or not. Some vote for a particular party faithfully, regardless of issues. Others seek out information that bolsters their first instinct, and disregard everything else. In any case, these are the voters that can potentially do more harm than good. But vote they do! And their vote counts just as much as yours. Fabulous, am I right?
Finally, there is my group – the Uneducated Non-Voter. We are largely reviled for our apparent apathy and irresponsibility. We say, I don’t know enough to vote, and the response is, it’s your DUTY to know enough to vote! Educate yourself! It’s your job as an American citizen! And this is where I get very tired.
Because, no. It is not my duty to vote. It is my right, and it’s equally my right to NOT.
Here is the thing: even if I learned everything I could about the current election – or any election – I’d still be pretty sure that I didn’t know enough. Say I knew everything I could possibly find out about both our presidential candidates, and say that equaled roughly 80,000 things. I believe, in my overly complicated mind, that there would still be at least 100,000 things I didn’t know. To me that just seems very freaking pointless. Also, I have neither the available capacity nor the desire to have those 80,000 things in my head, now or ever. I think those 80,000 things would make me a very miserable person.
Speaking of which.
Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that elections do not necessarily bring out the best in us? I have seen more hateful words – more hate, period – thrown around in relation to this election than in any other circumstance that I can recall in my entire life. People hate Trump. People hate Hillary. People hate other people for hating the wrong candidate. Friends are no longer friends and acquaintances are now bitter enemies. You can blame the candidates themselves, for being bad enough to inspire this level of mayhem. But I don’t buy it. We are all in charge, EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US IS IN CHARGE, of not throwing hate around like hand grenades. But we’re doing it. In record numbers.
Thank you, and I mean this, to all of you who care enough to learn and analyze and choose the course that you believe is best. You are admirable and have my utmost respect.
Unless, of course, your learning and analyzing and choosing involves the spreading of hate, in which case, I retract my thank you.
Either way, much like I do with heroin – I respectfully decline to participate.