In my younger and more vulnerable years George Carlin gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.
I firmly believe that if you vote, you have no right to complain. Now, some people like to twist that around. They say, “If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain”, but where’s the logic in that? If you vote, and you elect dishonest, incompetent politicians, and they get into office and screw everything up, you are responsible for what they have done. You voted them in. You caused the problem. You have no right to complain.
I, on the other hand, who did not vote — who did not even leave the house on Election Day — am in no way responsible for what these politicians have done and have every right to complain about the mess that you created that I didn’t have anything to do with. So when you’re having one of those swell elections that you like so much…on that day I will be doing essentially the same as you…the only difference is when I get done masturbating I’ll have a little something to show for it.”
With the 2016 election this observation from one of America’s greatest philosophers is more prescient than ever. I have gone back and forth philosophically between the idea that voting is a meaningful act for my entire life. I have mostly in my life voted for 3rd party candidates, with a few lapses of judgment that led me to vote for a major party con-artist. I volunteered for Ralph Nader in 2000 and 2004 and don’t regret a thing, but in retrospect it accomplished absolutely nothing. No more will I participate in this useless game they call ‘elections.’ I see no reason to take part in the charade.
The 2016 election can most adequately be described as a reality tv show, or perhaps even a giant psy-op perpetrated on a mostly unsuspecting but increasingly more weary public. Voting for either of the two major party deviants is a completely meaningless and worthless activity that will be practiced only by the most brainwashed and deluded members of American society (a significant portion of the population). And while I generally try not to discourage anyone from voting for a 3rd party candidate, it’s not like the choices there are that great either.
Honestly, I think I will better serve humanity by staying home on election day and meditating, or perhaps going for a hike to avoid the shit show that social media will surely become on that most pointless yet depressing of days.
And it’s not really just the politicians that are the problem. It’s us. We are a stupid society; easily fooled, we dance like marionettes, swaying to a symphony of manipulation. We choose to remain this way. No one, well at least not the vast majority of us, truly wants to find a way out of this mess. We prefer the comfort of our captivities – amused, distracted, clinging to the base comforts of our existences in this Neoliberal corporate consumer culture, convinced that our emptiness will be alleviated by our toys, our desires, our causes, our affinity groups, or whatever other distractions we can muster up to conceal the truth of our situations.
A year from now, once Trump, or Clinton, or Pence, or Kaine, or George Soros is ruling us all, rest assured it will merely be the same shit on a different day. So my advice is to focus on improving your own life and the lives of those you truly care about, and let the chips of our political system fall where they may. The state will never be your savior, but the vast majority of your fellow citizens will live out their lives believing it is, obstructing any real chance for things to change for the better in our society.