Sunday, November 4, 2012

It's okay not to vote

Michigan Daily columnist Melanie Kruvelis on the stigma of electoral abstention. Nice work.

I will be voting on Tuesday, mainly because it is cheap here and a modestly entertaining cultural experience as well. I still quite vividly remember voting for the first time in the fall of 1980. I voted for John Anderson for president. Remember him? No, you probably don't. In any event, ahead of me in line was a stoner wearing an Ozzy Osbourne t-shirt. Realizing that the two of us would have the same influence on the election was an epiphany of sorts. A few years later, I discovered H.L. Mencken, who already had it all sorted:
I enjoy democracy immensely. It is incomparably idiotic, and hence incomparably amusing. Does it exalt dunderheads, cowards, trimmers, frauds, cads? Then the pain of seeing them go up is balanced and obliterated by the joy of seeing them come down. Is it inordinately wasteful, extravagant, dishonest? Then so is every other form of government: all alike are enemies to laborious and virtuous men. Is rascality at the very heart of it? Well, we have borne that rascality since 1776, and continue to survive. In the long run, it may turn out that rascality is necessary to human government, and even to civilization itself - that civilization, at bottom, is nothing but a colossal swindle. I do not know: I report only that when the suckers are running well the spectacle is infinitely exhilarating. But I am, it may be, a somewhat malicious man: my sympathies, when it comes to suckers, tend to be coy. What I can't make out is how any man can believe in democracy who feels for and with them, and is pained when they are debauched and made a show of. How can any man be a democrat who is sincerely a democrat?
And so it shall be again this Tuesday, regardless of whether the demopublicans or the republicrats get to shovel my tax dollars in the direction of their friends for the next four years.

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