Why I Don’t Vote

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I no longer vote.

This is not out of mere disgust, although there are infinite reasons to be disgusted.

It is not just because the candidates presented are never anyone I would actually want in a position of power.

It is not just because no matter which party wins the election, the same basic agenda rolls forward, the only noticeable difference being the marketing angle.

It is not throwing up my hands and disengaging out of hopelessness.

It is not surrendering and hiding my head in the sand.

It is not shutting down my own voice.

To the contrary, my refusal to play along and be a “good citizen” and get in line and do my “civic duty” expresses my voice quite clearly.

It expresses a choice that is not on the ballot.

That choice is “No.”

As in, “No. I do not consent to and refuse to lend legitimacy towards a system that does not represent me and is not acting in my best interest most of the time.”

I do not see this as a passive protest.

When it’s done consciously and with awareness and stated publicly, choosing not to vote is a form of active rebellion.

It is taking a stand against a system where no matter who wins, individual freedom is always the loser.

As a child I remember being told that in the former Soviet Union, voting was mandatory but there was only one approved candidate on the ballot and that candidate always won. So why go through the motions? Why make it mandatory when there was only one possible outcome?

It always puzzled me, and it was only much later that I realized why.

The very act of voting provides “buy in.” It keeps people invested in the system, even as they might recognize that the system isn’t working on their behalf.

Making voting mandatory forced the Soviet populace to participate in the scam. The act of voting was a symbolic ritual to increase adherence to the system on a subconscious level. It’s a form of capture.

This is deep psychology at work.

Is our system really so different?

It is true that voting here is voluntary, although there is surprisingly strong pressure to participate as I have discovered when I tell people my position.

It is also true that in the two-party system there is endless argument and discussion, but only within a very carefully constructed and limited range of discourse.

It’s the illusion of debate. Controlling the terms and defining the premise of “what is important” keeps people’s eyes off the ball while the machinery of government continues to operate on its own agenda and accrue more power, and then use that power to benefit those other than the populace it pretends to represent.

Voting states that you accept the rules of the game.

It is an affirmation of the legitimacy and fairness of the voting process, and by implication, the system itself.

Because no matter whom you pull the lever for on election day, you are always voting yes to the system.

This implied consent is what allows the system to do anything it wants, and claim that it is being done in your name.

So what’s the alternative?

I don’t know yet. But I do know there is one. And not just one, but many.

Creating a better alternative starts with asking real questions.

Has our system of representative government become representative in name only?

Do either of the two parties really represent any one individual’s unique perspective? Is that even possible?

Is the current voting process still the best way for individuals to voice their ideas of how things are managed in this country?

Are the things that are being done by our government truly the things that are important and valuable for the continued success of the individual and the human race as a whole?

At this point in time, do the benefits outweigh the obvious flaws? Or has the system evolved into something that has lost sight of its original mission?

And then the really big question…

Is any system currently in play on the planet really working in our best interest?

…Or are we just adhering to these systems and giving them power because we don’t know what else to do?

If the founders of our system of government, which at the time was a brilliant and freedom-affirming leap, had just kept trying to work within the previous system, would we ever have tasted even a moment of liberty?

And now that we have seen what 240 years of parasitic cronyism and loss of focus can do to that system, do we want to continue living under what it has become?

What if, instead of another round of pulling the lever for the lesser of two evils, people just said no?

What if they held an election and no one voted?

How would the system be able to maintain the illusion of representation?

The solutions are not obvious. They are not ready made and waiting in the wings. They need to be invented and they never will be as long as we keep pretending that the system we have today is still delivering on the promise it made so long ago.

The concept, which was to create a framework to protect and expand freedom and the personal expression of that freedom, is still sound.

But the system that has built up around it is no longer serving that function. It has lost its way. Continuing to vote for that system in hopes that it will change is neither effective nor enough.

It’s time for a new declaration of independence. And it starts with the individual declaring that they will no longer play their assigned role in a game that is stacked against them.

Not voting is a small step, but an important one because it allows you to disengage from the drama and view things with more clarity.

When you’re not attached to what currently exists, whole new universes of alternatives open up.

You might be surprised what you see.

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