wasting bandwidth since 1999

The Choice Is Not Between Candidates

Screen Shot 2020 08 04 at 10 55 46 AM Screen Shot 2020 08 04 at 10 56 10 AM

Returning to a topic I’ve ranted about several times since the 2016 election, indifference.

I don’t know where the graphs above originated (posted many times in my Twitter feed), but I’m pretty sure they are accurate. They tell a very simple and stark story of why we have such poor leadership in this country. It’s largely to do with that 42.3% of the population in gray.

Certainly a few of those people had very good reasons for not voting. A not-insignifcant number were excluded from voting due to antiquated laws and active suppression activities.

However, the vast majority of that slice failed to cast a ballot because they were apathetic to any consequences of their inaction. I’m sure if you asked, they will offer a variety of excuses, but none of them will be valid. Their reasoning will all boil down to simple indifference.

So, the real choice in this election is not between two candidates, parties, or ideologies. It’s a contest between a functioning government run by rational, responsible adults, and indifference.

Choose your side.

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2 Comments

  1. Juan

    Like most things, it is never as simple as your argument implies.

    For example, I live in a state that is so dominated by one party my single vote can’t possibly put a dent in the outcome of how the citizens of my state will vote, not even for locally elected officials.

    The other reason I don’t vote is my one vote doesn’t make a difference. If I do or do not vote, the outcome doesn’t change. I have never seen an election come down to a single vote (unless you’re talking about voting for a mayor in a town with a population of seventeen people, three goats and a chicken. Then, maybe my one vote could make a difference.)

    I liken it to being bald. I’m not bald, I’m not bald, I’m still not bald–now I’m bald. If you can tell me which single hair switched me from not being bald to being bald then maybe you can convince me that my single vote matters and will be the one that makes the difference.

    The argument I always hear is that voting is my civic duty and responsibility. I say voting out of civic duty is an emotional argument, not a rational one. There are many things we should all do in the name of civic duty–that we don’t do. Why is this any different than any other civic responsibility.

    There are many options when it comes to voting. I can, 1) vote for candidate A, 2) I can vote for candidate B, 3) I can write in a candidate, or 4) I can abstain from voting. It isn’t binary.

    Abstention isn’t shirking my duty. It is a valid option. If a Representative or Senator can abstain when voting for a bill, that implies it must be a legitimate option. If it is good enough for them, why should I not allow myself the same option? Last time I checked, voting isn’t mandatory. It can’t be with all the attempts to suppress voting.

    Another argument I hear is that if I don’t vote I’m leaving it in the hands of the uneducated and uninformed. Well, as I see it that would be descriptive of about 80% of the U. S. population. I don’t think of the U. S. population as being all that intelligent, interested in paying attention, informing themselves about the issues and making rational (or emotional) decisions based on that information. Drinking beer and watching a football game on TV…sure! But figuring out what is best for the country–no time for that, half-time is almost over and I need to get another beer.

    The last argument tends to be what would happen if everyone behaved as I do? Well, according to your graphic it seems like there are a lot of people who behave as I do. Whether they do so for the same reasons is a different story.

    This argument is just a hopeful one, meaning that if more people voted that would guarantee the outcome the person making the argument would want. That’s crazy. Who is to say that if all the non-voters voted the outcome might not be that much worse. Be careful what you wish for.

    Since I don’t vote I don’t complain about the outcome of the election. I may not like the outcome (in this case I certainly don’t), but it would be hypocritical of me to complain about it having not voted. It would be like not contributing to the office party, yet attending and eating all the food.

    I’m an observer. An interested observer. A political junkie observer. But my vote cannot make a difference, so I observe, without grousing about the outcome that I had no hand or stake in. I may be hypocritical about some things, but not this thing.

    Voting is a right, a privilege–and optional.

    • tim

      I appreciate your long comment and understand your thinking. I just totally and completely disagree. To me “observer” is just a more neutral way of saying indifferent.

      Twenty years ago I lived in a state that was considered solidly red. I haven’t moved and now it is considered reliably blue.

      Before we moved here, I lived in Nevada and before that Arizona. I’ve watched both of those states change. Not quickly but certainly steadily, to the point that Arizona may have two Democratic senators next year.

      They say “things change” but I don’t believe that. People change things, often through long, steady, continuous efforts, which includes voting every single time you have the opportunity. But you have to keep trying to move people and the country in a forward direction using any tools available.

      Am I optimistic? Yes. Naive? Possibly. But for me, choosing to be indifferent is not an option.

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