None of the Above: A Defense of Not Voting

7 11 2006

While reading through this article, I came across this:

 In the realm of practical wisdom, the most obvious and even desirable candidate missing from every ballot is “NOTA” – None Of The Above.

 It reminded me of an argument I once made.  I went to a very politically energized school – and after the first election of George W. Bush, there was a lot of anger on campus against those who voted for Ralph Nader.  The idea being that if all of the people who voted for Nader (a candidate who obviously didn’t stand a chance at winning) had voted for Gore – we would not have Bush in the White House right now.

That statment is factually correct.  If Nader supportors had compromised a little, they would be a lot happier right now than they are.  So who did I vote for you ask?

Nobody.  I did not vote.  And I still believe that this position is defensible (although I am today a registered voter).  Let’s go to the elementary school cafateria analogy:

Suppose the school cafateria served chicken fried steak on wednesdays.  And suppose that the chicken fried steak was always so hard that it often doubled as a hockey puck and or weapon.  Chances are, you went through four years of eating rock hard chicken fried steak on wednesdays because when wednesday came around, you would go through the caffeteria line and take what was served you.

The idea being here that the system will never change if people keep supporting it.  Bush, Gore, Kerry; they’re all practically the same person – why should we quibble about which one of them is President?  Chances are that none of them are %100 percent what you’re looking for.  I liked Kerry, he seemed better than Bush . . . but . . . his own daughter is a lesbian and he was still unwilling to just come out and say, “I support gay marriage”.

As far as those annoying people who say that voting is your civic responsability go . . . evidently they’re not understanding the concept of freedom of expression.  I think the fact that the voter turn out level in this country is so low compared to others is not just a sign that Americans are extremely lazy.

And so I think that the unwritten option of ‘none of the above’ is just as valid as voting for a candidate.  If the majority of people don’t vote – why should we declare one of the candidates a winner?

There are those people who say that if you didn’t vote you’re not allowed to complain about the current administration.  This idea ignores the obvious fact that the administration is horrible, regardless of who did or didn’t vote. 

In my opinion those who chose not to vote last election have every right to complain about the administration.  After all, they weren’t the ones who voted for Bush and put him in office.  I fail to see why people who put Bush in office are allowed to complain but those that had nothing to do with it are not. 

There is, in some parts of the world, an idea that you should vote for the person you want to occupy the position.  In this country however, it is always the choice of the lesser of two evils.

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One response

7 11 2006
9t84well

nota is another option. i like write in. mickey mouse, borat, carlos mencia are just some of my favorites.
mickey was beat out by ronald raygun. talk about perpetuating the system. that is the essence of conservatism. that is why raygun is the quintessential conservative.
bush vs. gore was a nonelection. thank kathleen harris, the secretary of state in jebbies state and the supreme court. nader may have diluted the gore vote, but ultimately, there was no election because there was no recount and every vote did not count.
it is good to vote. may be like spitting into the wind, or tugging on superman’s cape, but doing nothing is just plain weak.
i salute your honesty, and hope you take control of your future and vote.
have a cold beer afterwards. it will clean the palate and take the bad taste away.

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