VOTING: DOES IT MATTER?

Thursday, February 2, 2006

2000 Election Map
The blue and red areas don't indicate the amount of
votes the parties have garnered in specific
areas; they indicate the collective ignorance of
American politics of the country's own citizens.

Imagine, for a minute, that somewhere in the not-too-distant future, you are sitting at home watching the 2008 Presidential elections. As each vote gets counted and a country shaded a hue of red or blue, you begin to realize that this election is a lot closer than anyone thought it would be. You, in your concerned state of mind, worry that it might come down to one vote -- and you didn't vote! Not to worry, because there has never been an election that has come down to one vote; not even 300 votes, for that matter. In fact, one of the closest elections before the Bush-Gore fiasco in 2000 was the Nixon-Kennedy Presidential election in 1960, which was won by Kennedy. They were separated by 100,000 votes!

The 2000 Presidential election, which came down to the state of Florida -- it was that close -- the margin that George W. Bush won by was 537 votes. There are over 6,000,000 people living in the state of Florida. Imagine one of them decides to stay home rather than vote in that election: the total only increases to 538, or decreases to 536. For a vote to have actually mattered, 537 of those Floridians would have had to stay home rather than vote. Voting just doesn't make a difference.

When MTV isn't playing commercials telling you to go out and vote and "make your voice heard," you have patriots left and right urging you to come out to the polls to show your support, if not for a particular party, then for the United States of America in general.

First of all, you don't make your voice heard by voting, unless you count finger-pointing as a form of stimulating your vocal cords. Basically, all you say when you vote is "I want that guy." You don't say "I want this guy to be the next President because he supports partial-birth abortion and homosexual marriage." Yes, you choose the candidate whose beliefs best match yours, but that doesn't mean he's going to run his campaign, nor his Presidency, by those beliefs. Oftentimes, candidates will cater their own personal beliefs to beliefs that will garner more votes for the party. So, when a candidate says "I do not support stem-cell research," he may only be saying so to garner the votes of the religious right. Some voice you have!

MTV's Rock the Vote
MTV's attempt to get you
to "make your voice heard."

Secondly, by not voting, it does not mean one does not support the United States. This is the America, after all, that grants freedom of speech. Choosing not to vote is just as much making your voice heard as they claim voting is. Voting, when you boil it all down, is nothing more than choosing between two candidates: a Republican and a Democrat. Think about it for a minute: the top tier of the political party hierarchy all have "connections." They know people. These connections alone are enough votes to encompass the total amount of votes any independent party ever gets.

You may side with the candidate of an independent party, but let's be real here, when has an independant party ever garnered even half the lion's share of the votes? Never. Every election comes down to the Republicans and the Democrats, and the other parties are scrap meat thrown out to the dogs. In fact, in 2000, George W. Bush and Al Gore combined for 96.25% of all votes in the United States, leaving the remaining 3.75% to be divvied up between the six other candidates. All that can really be inferred from a lack of voting is that you don't support either of the two parties the election will inevitably come down to.

Another popular claim by patriots is that if you don't vote, you have no right to complain about the state of the country. That's poor logic to say the least. Consider this: you go out to the polls and punch a hole next to George W. Bush's name. You support Bush. When the votes are counted, and Bush has won, and butchers America the way he has in his six years as President, that is indirectly your fault: you voted him in; whereas I, who did not vote, have every right to complain about the candidate whom I did not vote into office.

There are 298,025,936 people living in the United States as of this writing. 74.3%, or 221,433,270, of them are over 18 years of age, the legal age to register to vote. Imagine that all 221,433,270 are in one room labeled "United States" and in it is a big debate about which candidate should be President, each person trying to shout over another. You decide to join in; you, 1 out of 221,433,270 people, are going to try and make your voice heard. What happens? Nothing; you can't even hear your own voice! That's all voting is, if it really is making your voice heard.

The last frequent claim that pro-voters will give you is that voting is action taken, whereas not voting is inaction. Choosing inaction is an action in and of itself! I choose not to vote. I choose the action of sitting on the couch watching television rather than choosing the action of standing in line for hours on end waiting to punch a hole in a piece of card-stock. That's not too hard to understand.

Your voice in America is nothing more than a mirage that is projected onto the wall by none other than your American government. They let you feel important by getting in your car to "make your voice heard" while they sit behind closed doors and make exponentially-more important decisions than anything you'll ever have to make concerning the country. Don't fool yourself, save your time and gas money by staying in on election day. You'll be glad you did, and the polls will certainly not be missing you.