On Deciding Whether to Vote

Everyone says that it’s a citizen’s duty to vote. I’ve even heard it said that “If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain.”

I used to vote at every election. Then, I noticed a trend: There were no candidates that I really liked. Every one of them had at least one major flaw in philosophy, from my viewpoint. At one point, it looked like there might be one I could vote for: Ross Perot. But then, in a press conference, he stated that he would consider cordoning off entire city blocks and searching every residence for drugs. Ok, so again, each one had at least one MAJOR flaw. There went my support for Perot – I could not, in good conscience, vote for him. He self-destructed shortly after that, so it didn’t matter, but it really made me think.

I talked this over with some friends, who stated that you just had to vote for the lesser of two evils.

That hit me like a truck. If you vote for the lesser of two evils, you are still voting for evil. How can a person, in clear conscience, vote for someone with whom they have major idealogical differences? Isn’t this a form of prostituting oneself to appease some illusory sense of “civic duty?” Doesn’t the fact that you voted for someone who was a “lesser evil” mean that you condone that evil, at least passively? If you vote for someone who has said that they will outlaw firearms and try to collect them all, wouldn’t you be at least partially responsible for the unConstitutional results? You did, after all, voice your acceptance of his ideology when you voted for him. Will you stand idly by and watch as the head of the new regime commits injustices and tramples the Constitution simply because you voted for him, thus giving your implicit consent?

If you decided to go ahead and vote for the “lesser evil,” how do you decide which evil is greater, and which is lesser?

As a line in a popular movie once said: “The only way to win is to not play the game.” Your vote doesn’t count anyway. At least this way, you can live with yourself knowing that you didn’t give your consent to the harm that the government is going to do to its citizens.


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