Those who stay away from the election think that one vote will do no good: ‘Tis but one step more to think one vote will do no harm. —Ralph Waldo Emerson
Tuesday, 7 November 2006, is election day in America. If on that day you don't vote or you have not already voted--and you could have--then you are a parasitic loser who deserves exactly what the rest of us want to shove down your oxygen-thieving throat. Sound harsh? Don't like it? Tough! If you don't vote, you're not doing your civic duty and I'm not obligated to care what you think or what you like. You have waived your right to matter.
Decisions are made by those who show up. -- Aaron Sorkin
On the other hand, if you do vote, but don't get what you want, then I feel your pain, no matter what candidate or party you choose, even if I disagree with everything you care about. It's not fun to lose, especially if you genuinely care about the causes you support, but your vote matters more to me than who or what you vote for. If you get what you vote for, whatever goes wrong afterwards is partially your fault, but that's ok too because that's what being a grownup and a citizen is all about. Sometimes you do good, sometimes you don't, but at least you're participating in our democracy, not just letting other people take up your slack. You matter.
Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Freedom is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote. -- Benjamin Franklin
And if by chance you normally vote, but this time around you think not voting is the best choice--that it's even a choice at all--then you are very confused. Voting matters. Your vote matters. Voting is not a fashion choice, and it's not a protest banner, or a cool way to oppose something; and it's not like anyone else knows who votes or who doesn't, and it is not
like an abstention, where a non-vote is at least recognized as an opinion. When you don't vote, you are the sound that a falling tree makes in the forest. No one hears, no one knows, and no one cares...
Bad politicians are sent to Washington by good people who don't vote. -- William E. Simon
This is not about having no choice, it's about making the best choice, given what you've got to work with, even if you have to do a write-in, or vote for an independent. I actually voted for Nader in the 2000 election, not because I wanted him to be President as much as I didn't want either of the other two candidates. And you know what? A lot of other people felt the same, but didn't bother to vote, and look what happened. Funny how it wasn't that way in 2004!
A vote is like a rifle; its usefulness depends upon the character of the user. -- Theodore Roosevelt
No matter what lame excuse you can come up with to justify not voting, I don't want to hear it, it's all just white noise to my ears. The fact is, if you don't vote, and you could, then you are just too lazy to exercise your rights, and too ignorant to understand the value of voting, even if you don't get what you want. Voting counts, writing to your representatives counts, organizing people to complain or running a recall on a crummy representative counts. Sitting out election day is just mental masturbation. You think it feels good, but nothing actually happens.
The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men. -- Lyndon Johnson
Not voting is doing nothing, and lest you think otherwise, consider that your non-vote carries exactly as much weight and has just as much importance as the non-vote of a convicted felon, an illegal immigrant, a European socialist, or a homeless wino lying in a puddle of his own urine out back of the Jolly Roger store... Great company, eh?
To make democracy work, we must be a nation of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain. -- Louis L'Amour
Think about it. If you don't vote, what have you done? Nothing. Zip, nada, nicht! Made a point? What point? Get a clue! Get an original idea! Get involved. People have died so you could vote. The least you could do is take the time to thank them by doing so.
People often say that in a democracy decisions are made by a majority of the people. Of course, that is not true. Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and who vote--a very different thing. -- Walter H. Judd
Get out and VOTE!
[ All but two images on this page were created by and belong to me. The top image is Herat during the first Afghan election. The purple stained finger is from the first Iraqi election. I'd give credit for these two, but I do not know where I got them, and I could not find them cited on the web. If they are yours, let me know and I will credit or remove them. V/R ]
Minor edits were made to this essay on 2 Sep 07