I refuse to vote, and there are a lot of different reasons behind that decision. What follows is a list of my reasons, though it’s likely that I forgot to include some. Sue me; it’s a lot to remember.
It’s a false dichotomy:
No problem has only two potential solutions. Imagine that you and two other people are trapped in a room with a bunch of lit dynamite. One of them goes, “Quick, eat all of the dynamite so that it doesn’t explode!” The other goes, “No way, it’d be faster to shove it up your ass! Hurry, hurry!” In what world would you listen to those two people?
The correct action would be to cut off the fuses, and the point is that both sides are capable of being wrong. Chaining one’s self to an inflexible ideology that can see only its own solutions is counter-productive and only serves to blind one to other potential solutions.
Choosing the lesser of the two evils means that things get progressively more evil, just at a faster/slower pace:
I often hear that you have to vote, if only to choose the “lesser of the two evils.”
If you were in a hellish nightmare world and had to choose between an evil demon overlord who slowly kills you by boiling you in acid and an evil demon overlord who eats your limbs and leaves you to bleed out in agony, choosing either one of those options would be an insane thing to do. The correct response is to go, “Hey, how did we end up in this nightmare world full of demons? Let’s try to find a way out so that we can go back home and avoid the whole ‘being murdered’ thing.” Instead, we have one side going, “The torture methods employed by Xxlandor the Merciless are far quicker and more effective, whereas Alatraxor the Bone-Devourer is slowly making hell hotter,” while the other side goes, “Lies! Alatraxor’s views on hell’s climate change and the underlying reasons for it are well-documented and we don’t appreciate them being misrepresented by the Merciless-leaning press. For the record, Xxlandor isn’t counting the time it takes to bleed out in that statistic. Typical spin from a non-Bone Devourer.”
In choosing sides, we support the legitimacy of the overall madness, and none of these political assholes deserve to be political candidates. They haven’t earned it by being upstanding human beings with the best interests of the people at heart. No, instead they’ve consistently proven how unworthy they are by playing “the game” of politics. You can go ahead and vote for the lesser of the two evils, whoever that may be, but know that evil is evil and things get a little worse with each election. We have a political climate where politicians can get away with being a little worse than the last guy, which allows for more and more corrupt individuals to come into power.
No matter who you vote for, you lose:
Even if your guy wins, he’ll fail to live up to all of the promises he makes. It’s happened to every prior president within memory; in the minds of politicians, promises exist only to be broken, serving only the purpose of getting elected. He’ll also do stupid things that will piss everyone off, and if you vote for the guy who wins, you’ll automatically be thrown into his camp and have everything he does ascribed to you. On the other hand, if you don’t vote for him, then you’ll be thrown into the equally-stupid opposing camp and have all of their dumbass rhetoric ascribed to you as though you said it. Not only that, but every instance of success the president manages—and there are always a few successes—will be thrown in your face as though your very existence since the election has revolved around the country failing. It’s as though voting for the “other guy” and having him lose the election somehow transforms you into an al-Qaeda operative in the minds of those you disagree with.
There’s no meaningful debate to be had when everyone’s opinions are assumed from the start, which should be obvious from the internet. “Those godless liberal socialist marxists are destroying the country,” or “Those small-minded republican toady failures are destroying the country,” is all that you’ll hear. There’s only one thing both parties share in common: The other guy is both corrupt and capable of doing irreparable damage to our country (because it can’t belong to all of us, not when those other guys are being such assholes). I refuse to become a political zealot or shill (or be assumed as one by default, forfeiting my individual view on issues) by voting.
I often hear the argument, “X politician seems like a nice person.” Guess what? Nice people don’t lie to your face in order to get what they want, in this case the presidency. This is behavior reserved for the most despicable of frat-brother-wannabes, people so pathetic that interaction with them is reserved for the most desperate of even the lowest dregs of society, and yet we’re forced to choose between two people who mirror the very same traits? The whole thing is delusional; if someone lies to your face about all the nice things they’re going to do for you, uses those lies to have sex with you, and then leaves, never to be heard from again, you’re going to call that person a douchebag. A lying asshole. However, if that person is wearing a suit and calls themselves a politician, that person inexplicably becomes “the lesser of the two evils,” not to mention a “nice guy.” I refuse to call an asshole anything short of an asshole, and anyone who lies to me is an asshole who can trip and fall into a volcano for all I care. This world doesn’t have enough volcanoes, I swear.
The lack of a viable third party:
If a legitimate third party existed rather than having to choose between the two, our rhetoric would at least be more polite. If you’re in a room and two people start punching each other in the face, the guy standing on the sidelines going, “Tsk, tsk,” is going to look pretty good by way of comparison. If there was a viable third party that wasn’t controlled by the same interests as our current political parties, they’d probably win several elections just by virtue of not being Republicans or Democrats. The best we have are “grassroots” movements that are secretly funded by the same people funding the main parties, and no, this isn’t a Pepsi/Coke basically-the-same-thing-in-a-pinch situation. Our current “alternative” parties are the equivalent of ordering a Coke and having the waiter ask, “Is cat urine okay?” No. If old Discovery channel shows are anything to go by, that’s not nearly refreshing enough to sate my thirst.
Money is free speech, apparently. That’s fine, but if I go into a movie theater filled with political candidates and yodel at the top of my lungs just because I’m an awesome yodeler (I’m not, but this is hypothetical so I totally am), they’ll kick me out of that theater in a heartbeat. Speech is free, but not without consequences when you cross the line, and the consequence of pouring a ridiculous amount of money into an election should be that you have no ability to dictate who it goes to. Elections should be run like American Football; because of revenue sharing, talent rises to the top and only rarely does the same team win the Superbowl twice in a row. Rather than one team monopolizing all of the good players, every team has to manage similar amounts of money, so the teams that make good decisions end up going far. If politicians could receive unlimited campaign contributions under the condition that all of the money is distributed equally among the candidates, then those candidates would be forced to show that they actually have skill managing money (which is kind of an important skill to have), and no one would have a leg up. Political views and money management would be the determining factors in the election rather than constant attack ads shaving points off the other guy’s poll numbers.
Seriously, I’m never going to vote for someone who puts scary music and grainy video on my television and expects me to be scared. Besides, they can tell me the sky’s falling, but candidates aren’t exactly picked off the street. If they were in government the whole time, then the sky falling is partially their fault, right? It’s a bit of a simplistic view, and some things can’t always be opposed, but they could have at least informed us before the election, and that’s really what it comes down to. The sky isn’t falling, and even if it were, the guy telling me it is failed to tell me about it before he was asking me to hire him to fix it. Would you hire a plumber who showed up at your door like, “Hey, I saw that your pipes were about to burst ten days ago. Now that they’ve exploded and caused a ton of damage to your home, want to hire me to fix them?” Someone like that would probably damage something else to milk as much money out of you as possible.
Besides, the production values of attack ads are pathetic. I mean, most of them look like they were created by a 14 year-old who just pirated Final Cut Pro. I’ve seen cat videos on Youtube with higher production values.
Do yourself a favor: Don’t vote.