Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Right Not to Vote

I am a firm believer in democracy. I believe in a governing situation we should all have the right to participate in the selection process of new ideas, and leaders. I have managed groups of volunteers and employees in as a democratic way as possible, allowing them to choose and vote on final products, committee chairs etc. I fully support this process, what voting in a group situation means and how each vote makes a difference.

Yet I do not vote in any political election.

I am not ignorant nor uninformed.  I pay attention to national and local elections, noting the coverage on CNN, and the many internet outputs of information. I end up in sometimes heated politically driven debates, arguments and conversations on a regular basis. I enjoy hearing multiple opinions and sides to national and local issues. I have heartfelt beliefs about issues in our country including, but not limited to, the educational system, health care and the death penalty. And, of course, as a working adult I have opinions on taxes, minimum wage and unemployment. The problem is NOT that I cannot decide what my opinion is.

So, why don't I use my right to vote, to stand up for my beliefs, make my voice heard and join all my friends in urging us all to get out and vote?

Firstly, the right to vote allows us the right not to vote. And, it is my hope that we can learn to respect this as we  (hopefully) learn to respect the right to believe in God, or not to believe in God. It is my choice. I am not saying this is a steadfast rule, but for the time being, this is my choice.

I would be lying if I didn't admit that I dont register to vote to avoid jury duty. I don't want jury duty, I would be the most difficult person on the jury. No one wants to deal with me. Why? I can see too many possibilities, too many individual circumstances, I'm too objective. The rest of the jury would democratically (and unanimously) vote to cast me out. But this is not the only reason.

I simply don't like my choices.

I don't want to have to choose "the lesser evil".

I am disgusted by the political ads (all of them).

I am ashamed that we elect celebrities and/or turn our politicians into celebrities.

The system will not allow each person to keep all the promises they make. They are just empty promises. Good intentions yes, but empty promises nonetheless.

Human greed and selfish nature far outweighs the sense of the common good. Decisions are not always being made objectively, as they should.

And, we, as the American public, have allowed this to happen. 

Your vote, no matter who you voted for, accomplishes the same thing: it gives you the profound sense that you have a right to complain. You condemn all of us "non-voters" because we "did nothing" and therefore we have " no right to complain". What did you do? You chose sides, voted for someone who kind of sort of stands for what you believe, and will most likely be disappointed when it doesn't work out.

Things aren't ever going to change if we keep doing the same thing.

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