We are, all of us, in a hole of shit. I mean, I have my own problems, and you have yours, but as a group, things look dark indeed.
Now look, I can write all kinds of gibberish, from warmongering propaganda to articles on high school volleyball to the demons that hound yours truly.
But today, it’s going to touch on – and I’m going to pull straight from my man Jon Stewart on this one – the 2008 cluster-fuck to the White House.
Yes, indeed. The reason for this sort of turnaround, this regression into the basest kind of political discussions? Disgust. Gleeful rage. Insane loathing for the general electorate.
I mean, election politics? Presidential Primaries? Who needs this shit? But it’s true, and it’s right in your face, even if you’re not paying attention. So look around you, Rube. Feel the burn. What are you going to do? The Titanic is going down, Rome is burning and the only swords within your grasp are the feeble power to vote and the ability to be informed if you want it.
If you want it. In some countries it’s mandatory. At least we still have the freedom to deny ourselves the only power we still have left. Ain’t America grand?
I remember once a flatmate of mine in college told me she didn’t vote.
“What?” I implored with confounded rage, as should be expected.
“Yeah, I don’t read the news enough and I don’t feel like I’d make an informed decision. So I don’t vote,” she told me with a look so stolid it made her posture stiffen.
I looked at her in total and complete disbelief and launched into some kind of rant about there being no excuse to not vote, and how others were never given the chance and even others were forced to do it and so on and so on. I don’t know that she listened to me. Thinking back on it, I hope she didn’t.
Had she taken my advice it would only have compounded the problem. America’s issue with voters isn’t just the indifference caused by a large middle class that is too comfortable and therefore too complacent with the status quo. It’s more complicated than that. When you get down to it, there are 3 kinds of voters:
- Those who are easily stirred into action (i.e. swing voters)
- Those who are naive enough to care (some of them are informed enough to be angry)
- Those who are extreme enough in their views to be passionate (dangerous)
The other 55% of the nation doesn’t even show up, so who cares what they think?
Well. It’d be interesting to know what percentage among them fall into the 3 categories of non-voters:
-The responsibly uninformed
-The wholly indifferent
-The informed enough to be angry and too disillusioned to act
I guess there is also the blissfully ignorant and some of these vote as well but they tend to fall into the first category up top. If only the ignorant ones didn’t vote. Then, at least, we’d have a meaningful election (assuming we could trust the counting machines, which we can’t, but that’s another day’s topic). In any case, this does not bode well for the politics of the country. I could get into a whole flurry of why the media is largely to blame since as the 4th branch, they are responsible for informing those who wish to be informed in the first place thereby creating an environment conducive to the principles of a unified and productive democracy… and they’re not doing that. But then it would start sounding like I’m preaching and only a jackass would do that, so what’s the point?
The point, since we’re getting back to it, is that I then told her something I believed in at the time but see now that I didn’t understand entirely. I told her what a lot of people think: that you should always vote.
This is a lie.
The rule is not that you should vote. The rule is that you MUST – without liberty to ignore your duty, without fail to feel the responsibility or the shame to fail – be informed.
After you’re informed you do what you want. Ride a boat upstream into the Congo if you think that’s the right course of action. But for fuck’s sake don’t vote if all you watch is CNN or anything on TV for that matter. Yes “The Daily Show” is included in that; you can’t just watch Jon Stewart. God, I bet he had a fit of fucking desperate terror the first time he realized that he was some people’s sole source of news, and he literally calls it the fake news. Although if you watch both “The Daily Show” AND “The Colbert Report”… well, that’s something…
But seriously, don’t vote if you don’t listen to the radio or read at least 2 or 3 publications, at least one of which is not owned by Rupert Murdoch or Pat Robinson. Don’t vote if you base your decisions on what Oprah or your neighbor says and certainly don’t vote because Mitt Romney thinks you should. Or, just to be safe, anyone from Florida, for that matter.