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I Did Not Vote

I can feel the glares. I can hear the crinkle of stickers on tshirts that I do not have. There are a ton of really amazing reasons to vote, and I think everyone should, really. I think those who are unregistered are lame and thoughtless, and that’s me judging other people when I didn’t vote on Tuesday. Yup. I went there.

I’m part of the “young people who don’t vote” problem. I think? Am I still in that demographic. Oh god, I’m even a bad remember-er of statistics, and age ranges. And here is why I did not vote: I don’t feel like I live anywhere, I mean my stuff and I are in San Francisco, but am I invested in who will become governor here? I am not. Maybe California is so big that every state should care about who California chooses to run it, but they don’t. And now I’m beginning to think that even real Californians don’t even care since they elected the dude who effed up Oakland, and already had a go at Governor for two terms back in the 70s. Anyways, the point is – I don’t feel invested in this state, I don’t feel invested in Washington state (where I’ve been registered absentee for quite a while… and am unsure if I am still registered because quite possibly that has expired), I don’t really feel invested anywhere.

And really, I’m just not that up in arms about the Republicans taking the House. This is how it’s supposed to work, this is how the country was set up. People have different views on how to run things, they elect the guy they think best represents them, and then those people go to DC and argue for two years. Even if those people are actually douchebags and totally lie to the people in order to be elected, that cannot be helped. The President doesn’t get to be a dictator, the things Obama wants to change cannot be done with the simple act of his signature, all of those policies have to go through The Process and that’s why it takes so fucking long. I didn’t vote because no one is representing me right now. I know technically I count as a body in CA, but next year I may not be here anymore, and then what?

What makes me feel the most hopeless are the Tea Partiers. 1) for taking a really awesome moment in history and totally fucking it up by using the same name and 2) because of the misinformed, racist crap that came out of it. You are why people hate America. Right there. With your misspelled signs (typos happen, but when it’s only 3-5 words, you’d think MAYBE you’d double check), and your ig-nor-ant politicians running for god knows what (Hi, I’m christine o’donnel, and I am not an educated woman), and your racism (Obama only looks out for black people! and he’s a muslim! running under the awful MUSLIM AGENDA!) and the fact that so many people support this shit. Barf.

I realize that if every young person voted, the issues would invariably swing my way, and I’m part of the problem, not the solution, but I’m just not invested. I don’t have anything to root for. And I don’t have a home to represent.

23 Comments

  1. I totally understand where you’re coming from. I’m probably on the other side of the fence from you, and the political process (the candidates, the voting, the lobbies, etc) is completely disenchanting, even from this side (even after a supposed win). I’m particularly disappointed with the Tea Partiers because on paper I agree with the platform, but they’ve done such a poor job (lack of quality candidates, extremist drivel, everything you mentioned). It’s completely discouraging to want to be part of a process where only extremists (on both sides) have the say – which is why I think the Stewart/Colbert rallies did so well. All that to say, I appreciate your honesty and I wholly agree with you.

  2. This was my first time voting where I lived. I’ve absentee voted for years and years and always felt very disconnected from it. So I totally understand it.
    I get really frustrated when I vote because I feel that I’m just continuing my life-long journey of screaming without being heard, so for me I kind of disconnect from it. I vote because three generations ago I wouldn’t have been able to. I vote because rights are being violated, and if I don’t do my part I won’t be able to live with myself.

    And I’m not judging you one teeny bit. The man I sleep with every night didn’t vote either, and that didn’t stop me from the sleeping with! ;)

  3. YES. I didn’t vote either, and I feel the disapproving glances even as I’m typing this! I feel like people assume I’m a bad citizen even though I have good reasons for not voting.

    Like you, I don’t really have a home. I’m a student in New Hampshire, but I’m leaving here in two months and going God-knows-where. I could vote absentee in North Carolina, but I don’t live there anymore and might not live there in the next few years, PLUS since I’ve been away I haven’t been keeping up with the politicians there. And I don’t consider it my civic duty just to vote; I consider it my civic duty to make an INFORMED vote. As a moderate, individual differences are very important to me and I can’t just robotically vote along party lines. So I didn’t vote.

    Good for you for blogging about it. Maybe I’m way too sensitive, but I’m even afraid of getting those disapproving stares over the internet. (Need to work on my assertiveness)

  4. I didn’t vote for 3 reasons:

    1. Geographical disconnect- I don’t feel like a Chicagoan. I’m still a country girl at heart.

    2. Studying my @ss off for my actuarial exam is a little more immediate an issue for me than researching politicians, and

    3. I just flat-out, plain, didn’t like anyone. My current political views can be described as confused/angry. I think EVERYONE is wrong. There’s a middle ground amongst all this crazy, and NOONE seems to be on that (non) side. Can’t we all be reasonable adults and have intelligent discourse without name-calling and “he hit me!” “Well he hit me first!”

  5. I did vote, but I didn’t get a sticker. I was pissed.

  6. Apathy: the killer of nations.

    • Oh I’m def not apathetic

  7. So, this is the first time I’ve said this, but ::phew:: I didn’t vote either. I’m just so sick of the whole process, the whole “political game.” I know we’re supposed to play along, and I also know that making us hate it might just be part of their diabolical plan, but I just don’t wanna. –Insert pout here– I also knew that some power had to swing back the Republican way this time. It was inevitable and probably necessary (and I say that as someone who is so far left, you can’t even SEE me if you’re standing on Middle Ground). So I bowed out this election. So sue me, America! =P

  8. If you don’t feel like a local person, why don’t you vote on behalf of someone or a group of people you care about who does live in your state? That is, if you care about e.g. Pensioners in California / Young families in Illinois, why don’t you cast a vote to support a better deal for them?

    It could be considered a gift or speaking out on behalf of others (the less powerful?). I’m not sure about the geographic disconnect as a barrier to voting. Is the actual issue that you don’t feel like your vote makes a difference in overall outcomes?

    • I think voting does make a difference, it makes a huge difference. But I also feel you need to be connected with the area you are voting for, with the people you are voting for, with the issues you are voting on. And you’re right – voting for situations or groups of people who are not you is a good thing, voting for or against propisitions is important and valid. And I do vote, and have voted, but just not in this instance. I very much care about social politics (not so much fiscal politics because those come and go willy nilly), I’m just not as invested as I should be here.

  9. You know what. I don’t believe that you’re actually better in real life. You sound pathetic.

    You don’t vote? You don’t deserve the privilege of voting. Stop whining and engage with the process. My parents came as refugees from Burma. Our family there still can’t vote. Perhaps rather than spending your time posting smug blog entries about how “uninvested” you are, you could devote some effort to understanding all the ways you benefit from living in a free democracy, and through gratitude, find your way back to being invested. I feel ill when I read things like this (and all the self-satisfied comments that follow). This is not something to be proud of, people!

    • I understand it’s a privilege to vote. And part of freedom means I also have the right to choose not to. I’m not whining, I’m expressing how I feel post election day, and the reasons, this time around, I chose to bow out. Voting is important, and necessary, and a right not everyone gets, and I’m lucky to have the choice to vote, or not to vote.

      Everyone deserves the privilege of voting, whether they use it or not.

    • I’m sorry – explain to me how you telling us how to live our lives and what choices we do or don’t make is different from the oppression of your parent’s home country?

    • Ok, Srey, THAT was waaay out of line. There was absolutely no reason to launch such a vicious personal attack over a dissenting opinion. Good lord, grow up.

      Not knowing anything about you, I’m not going to assume what you may or may not be lacking in the area of social graces. You do, however, act as though you think you have more worth than everyone here. Reading a personal blog (which clearly took quite a bit of thought and caution to post) and then calling names? Oh yes, THERE’S the super-maturity I’ve been lacking in my life!

      As for your claim that Lauren (and by extension, myself … you guess correctly, I didn’t vote either) doesn’t deserve the privilege of voting? That is absurd. Voting JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN is extremely irresponsible.

      Let’s use me as an example here … I live in VA, just outside of DC, and work in the District. We get politics 24/7/365. In the noise of Tea Party candidates shooting their mouths off, worries about which way the House majority was going to end up, what the President is being accused of THIS WEEK (yes, these are day to day concerns here), and supporting friends (who work on the Hill) who were not only fighting for their candidates, but their JOBS (meaning if their candidate loses, they’re out of a job … no seat = no staff), the local candidates and measures got lost in the shuffle.

      I had no business voting when I couldn’t even tell you the candidates’ names. Voting randomly, or blindly along party lines COMPLETELY DEFEATS THE PURPOSE. Yes, it’s a privilege to vote … and it comes with a big responsibility. Go out, get involved, do your homework, make an informed decision, THEN VOTE. If you can’t, or aren’t willing to do that work, then don’t.

      Yes, these are things I should have done, and I regret not. I also regret that I just looked up the outcomes of the races in my area 10 minutes ago. But I’ve done it before, and I’ll do it again … I know better for next time. Joanium makes a great point above … and it’s also something to look into, but again, the work has to be done.

      Personally, I think both my reasoning and Lauren’s (and everyone else who had a REASON for not voting and didn’t just blow it off) shows a MUCH higher responsibility and respect for the privilege then just running out and voting ‘because we can.” If that makes us pathetic or smug or self satisfied, so be it. At least we, as adults, made adult decisions.

  10. It’s sad that we only heard about Meg W or Jerry Brown. Two unqualified candidates who did nothing but attack each other during the entire campaign and spent more money that I ever thought possible in doing so.

    The ballot had another 4 candidates that we never heard about. What if one of those 4 was actually qualified and deserving of this job? What if the majority of people who didn’t vote because the candidates sucked knew of these other candidates?

    It’s sad that if you’re not super rich, you have no shot in hell to actually get a chance at making a difference. And so the cycle repeats, and each person votes for their side, just because that’s all they know. How can anyone be excited about that?

    Now we are stuck with 2 years of nothing getting done. =(

  11. But guess what? You just lost the right to say sh*t about the tea partiers for two whole years. Because they voted, and you did not. 25 years old, lady. Time to get an opinion. Time to care about where your country is going. No more excuses.

    You just gave a bunch of justifications that you know d*mn well are wrong, and I’m cutting you zero slack. The end.

    • Not voting is not the best choice. But a lot of people aren’t voting, so let’s talk about why. Plus – voting just to vote like a zombie is not how i roll. But I couldn’t get behind anyone in this election, I just straight up did not care who won, and I ALWAYS care, so why? Why did that happen?

      • Then don’t vote just to vote. Take an evening to sit down with your voter pamphlet and the interwebs and get informed on the candidates and on the propositions. If no one rings your bell, then write in someone who does. Point is, Meg’s completely right. At 25, you need to step up to your civic responsibility like the rest of us. You say you’re not apathetic and you have opinions, so vote with them! And if you’re disenchanted with who’s making it on the ballot in the first place, I’d argue the answer to that is to get more involved in civic life, not less.

      • *”Exactly”*

      • Well said Meg.

  12. I voted. My polling place is literally across the street. New York has a new balloting system, though, so I didn’t get to go in the booth and pull the levers. I LOVE pulling the levers! Oh well.

    I love how you summed up the tea party. Racist, xenophobic, homophobic, misogynistic (yes, Sarah Palin, I’m looking at you – you’re the WORST KIND of misogynist!), and so full of their white male privilege that it makes me want to throw up.

  13. Oh, and my husband didn’t vote, either. But not because he didn’t want to. He was FINALLY re-registering in Albany after voting absentee on Long Island for YEARS (upon my insistence), and the DMV effed up and never sent in his registration (typical). He planned the trip he was taking for his book research around election day, only to not be able to vote at all (by the time he found out DMV effed up, it was too late to re-register, and too late to seek an absentee ballot from Long Island).

  14. Quick disclaimer: this is not a judgment, it’s a statement of my personal beliefs. Take them as you will.

    I’ve lived in DC for about 20 months now, in my current place for a little over 2 months. Do I feel a strong affinity to/connection with DC? Not particularly. Was it a pain in the ass to vote because of bureaucratic hurdles and procedural opacity? Definitely. Did I vote as a DC resident?

    Hell yes. And here are three reasons:

    1) Beliefs do not/should not have a zip code.

    I’m a democrat. I was a democrat at college, in my hometown, when I was studying abroad, and when I was criss-crossing the country. I’m a democrat not because democrats are perfect, but because I believe that we’re all in this together, we all benefit by a strong middle class that is healthy and educated, and I reject politics of fear and American exceptionalism (http://bostonreview.net/BR30.3/zinn.php).

    2) I believe in voting.

    Not to be overly dramatic, but I’ve lived in and studied countries and regions where people are still fighting and dying for the right to have a say in their government. Our country used to be one of those. I don’t take that lightly – not even when elected officials don’t live up to their obligations to the citizens who chose them.

    3) Presidents don’t come from a stork.

    What does that mean? Well, aside from a handful of Generals/soldiers (Washington, Jackson, Taylor, Harrison, Grant, and Eisenhower come to mind), pretty much every President (yes, even Reagan) has held some sort of lower elected office before getting to the big show.

    So – do I really care about who my Neighborhood Advisory Commissioner is? Again, not really.

    Do I care about electing capable, upstanding citizens, hoping that they will continue a career in public service and maybe become capable, upstanding Congressmen/women, Senators, or even Presidents some day? As the mayor-of-a-tiny-ass-town-turned-VP-candidate Sarah Palin would say, “you betcha!” (and yes, I deliberately made that reference to illustrate how even local elected officials might leap onto the national stage and dramatically affect our entire political system).

    So there are my thoughts. Thanks for reading.

Who the hell is she?


Lauren

I am a writer living in Seattle and I believe that life is a grand adventure and only boring if you believe it to be. Plus! You don't need money to have fun.

I live with my husband, a photographer by education and a maker-of-video-games by trade, and a baby named gabe in an apartment on the hill.

I am romantic about most things and I cry... about almost anything. I tell stories to entertain you, I spread stories to keep you in the loop. I am not a grammar freak, but I do know how to spell it. I am exceedingly proud of my scrambled eggs and I really could eat an entire pan of cupcakes. If I met me, I would be my best friend. I tend to be irreverent.

If you would like to chat with me or see what else I'm up to you can follow me on Twitter (betterinrealife), on facebook, or email me at betterinrealife at gmail.


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