Home > Principle 05 > Why I Choose Not to Vote

“…they say if you don’t vote, you get the government you deserve, and if you do, you never get the results you expected.”

― E.A. Bucchianeri

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I refuse to vote in federal elections because I consider it a right under the Constitution. Any right that can be exercised by an individual obviously implies the right not to exercise that right. The notion that it is a civic duty to vote is not a deplorable concept in and of itself. But when a government becomes destructive of the ends for which it was established, as I believe it has, is it not more honest to refuse to participate in this charade? Isn’t withholding my consent a statement that I am not responsible for the conduct of that government? So as one small act of resistance to the powers that be, I don’t vote.

Naturally, my “principled” non-vote is lumped in with the disinterested, uninformed, and those who just couldn’t get out of bed that day. So it may be meaningless in the grand scheme. But it is important to me, because it is an action based on my conscience that originates from me, and not from what someone else is telling me to do. It is a small action that may come to mean more once others start to attach significance to it. Because when some one refuses to vote on an election day, and shows up with a sticker on his lapel that says I didn’t vote and I am glad I didn’t, then others will take notice. Discussion will follow.

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Arlo Guthrie, Son of Woodie Guthrie, in Movie “Alice’s Restaurant” Joins the Army

It’s like in the song Alice’s Restaurant where Arlo Guthrie suggests, as an act of rebellion against being drafted into the military, that people sing the first verse of the song. The first verse says, “You can get anything you want at Alice’s restaurant…” Guthrie tells draft inductees to sing the first verse when they enter the army shrink’s office. If one does it, they will think the persons crazy and won’t accept them into the army. If two sing it, in harmony, they’ll think they’re gay and won’t take them. If three people sing it, they will think it’s an organization, and if fifty a day sing it, then they’ll think it’s a movement. So one can dream.

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Group W Army Rejects: Mother Rapers, Father Stabbers, and Father Rapers

Practically, voting in most federal elections is pointless. I can take a tax evading, wife beating, moron who has 5 DUI convictions, and beat any Democrat challenger because the party tribalism is that strong. If you are a Republican in the state of Oklahoma, the only way you can lose is to kick a dog which I believe is actually probably a better indicator of character. Amongst the primaries, the candidates are all generally so close to party orthodoxy that it comes down to looks, business credentials, money, military service, name recognition, religiosity, etc. One hardly ever sees big disagreements on issues. This trend applies to most states, as evidenced by the fact that in most presidential elections, only a few states really matter.

Voting is a basic component of any Republican form of government which is useful and to be honored. The majority isn’t always correct, smart, or honorable but they are always the ones with the power. This isn’t meant as a diatribe against majority rule, rather it is simply a recognition that if the voters don’t start thinking outside the box, and start rewarding candidates that work the edges, you are never going to solve any “real” problems. Wouldn’t it occasionally be refreshing to see an honest candidate or officeholder who told the people of a hard truth the consequences be damned. In the fullness of time, these kinds of leaders, our gray champions, will be recognized and rewarded with statues of marble.

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But in the meantime, as Henry David Thoreau noted, “Why does government always crucify Christ and excommunicate Copernicus and Luther and pronounce Washington and Franklin rebels?” For the same reason that voters elect the opposite of these revolutionaries, they fear change. So once again it comes down to how we think. My refusal to vote is my small contribution of resisting a corrupt system and showing that I don’t fear it. The truth shall set you free because you don’t have to rationalize the dissonance of what the system says it is verses what your eyes show it to be. Who are you going to believe honey, me or your lyin’ eyes! If the emperor doesn’t have any clothes on, you have two choices. You can gush over his stylishness or laugh at his nakedness. Change the way you think about things, and the things you think about will change. The decision, as always, is yours. Thou Mayest !

P.S. One caveat: I reserve the right to invoke Code of Conduct #9 and change my mind, “A foolish Consistency is the Hobgoblin of a Little Mind”

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