As I clicked the share button on my tenth or eleventh status update on the last election day urging my friends to “VOTE!” it felt a bit like tweeting that they should “BREATHE OXYGEN!” or that “CANCER IS BAD!” It seems so obvious and so simple that being pro-voting almost feels trite.
It isn’t I was surprised to find a number of my friends boasting about not voting.
Choosing not to vote isn’t edgy or provocative; it’s intellectually lazy and disrespectful. Voting for the lesser of two evils is better than not voting at all, hell, writing someone in is better than not voting at all. If you don’t see a candidate who represents your views and you don’t participate because of that, you will never see a candidate who represents your views. If the candidate with lukewarm support for gay rights won with bigger margins, the party might consider backing a candidate with actual support for gay rights. If there were a significant number of write-ins, it would signal a base willing to come out and support something big if they had the option. But when those “lesser of two evils” candidates barely eke out a win or lose, the offerings will get safer and safer and more disappointing.
There may not always be a good choice, but there will always be a better choice. Opting out doesn’t put you above the ugly political game; it makes you complicit.