I do not care what your political persuasion is. But I’ll just say this.
If you do not vote tomorrow, you are not entitled to complain. You are not entitled to bitch. You are not entitled to raise a stink about anything that goes down during the next few years. If you cannot get your lazy ass off the sofa and get down to a polling place, then anything even remotely political coming out of your maw means nothing. Because in throwing your vote away, in choosing not to participate, you have capitulated one of the great rights bestowed upon you by our Founding Fathers.
Perhaps you’re hesitant because you can’t be troubled to actually look at all that helpful information that came in the mail. I mean, hell, hundreds of pages of legalese ain’t exactly riveting reading. Or maybe it’s because you can’t be troubled to concern yourself with the crazed situation unfolding around us, or because you’re annoyed by all the automated phone calls, or because you are perhaps guided by fear or laziness or the sense that your voice does not matter or that this election will be stolen. Well, your voice does matter! And don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.
But if you decide not to use that voice, even if it means wincing when pulling the lever for a flaacid Democrat or voting in a shady Republican incumbent you’re not particularly crazy about (full confession: I’m going to be doing a lot of wincing tomorrow morning myself), if you cannot be troubled to make a hard and careful decision about the future of this nation, then how, I ask, can you live with yourself? You’re capable of deciding among any number of uneasy dichotomies: Coke or Pepsi? Lennon or McCartney? Beatles or Stones? Mozart or Beethoven? Mac or PC? Star Trek or Star Wars? All of these are troublesome and sometimes quite nauseous choices to make, representing a veritable yin-yang of pros and cons no matter which way you decide. But you have no problems accepting the responsibility of being culturally decisive in this field.
Do you mean to tell me that, when you see an unsavory duo like the Republicans and Democrats, you cannot make a similar choice? That you cannot make a decision? Even a reluctant one?
Sure, the electoral college system sucks. And you’re not alone in despising it or thinking that it’s useless. No less a figure than Thomas Jefferson wrote:
….I have no hesitation in saying that I have ever considered the constitutional mode of election ultimately by the legislature voting by states as the most dangerous blot in our constn*, and one which some unlucky chance will some day hit, and give us a pope & anti-pope.
Jefferson’s words to George Hay were amazingly prophetic. For what do we have but the pope and anti-pope? Red states and blue states? A political system that suggests you are for something or against something, when any Joe with even a dollop of common sense knows that life ain’t that black and white.
But this is nevertheless our system. And, flawed as it is, if you do not make your voice known tomorrow, you have nobody to blame but yourself.
It is profoundly important that you vote tomorrow. Vote not because some smug suit or scruffy hippie tells you that you should vote a particular way, but because now, more than ever, this republic needs your input.
* — Short for “Constitution.”
© 2006, Edward Champion. All rights reserved.