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.
Many of the people who vehemently shout about our constitutionally protected right to Freedom of Speech (usually as a reaction to public backlash against shitty behavior) have absolutely no idea what that means. That seems like an ironic little integrity test for those who actually care about the First Amendment, doesn’t it? Le sigh.
Things the First Amendment Doesn’t Protect Against:
- Revealing the identity of a Reddit poster who was internet-famous for posting fetish shots of minors.
- Public backlash against Daniel Tosh’s rape joke
- Individuals encouraging each other not to spend money at a restaurant that supports hateful views
Freedom of speech means that you can say what you want without the government arresting or fining you. Hooray! But it does not mean that people won’t respond to that. That is also freedom of speech.
I absolutely do not understand the mentality that artists can say whatever they want without people getting hurt. You can say what you want. And you can choose whether or not to care if people feel hurt by it. But no where in the artist contract did it say that people don’t get to call you out when they find your work offensive.
Freedom of speech does not protect your right to speak anonymously. And while I support sites like Reddit choosing to allow anonymous posting, it is still a public sphere. If a journalist figures our your identity, too bad so sad. You put your shit out for the world to see. Don’t complain when you receive negative commentary. That is, in fact, the same justification you used to post photos taken of women taken without their permission. This is almost exactly a perfect example of comeuppance.
Boycotts, public backlash, and media criticism are not infringing on your rights. They are actually an awesome example of how free markets can sometimes regulate themselves. Please don’t invoke freedom of speech unless your actual freedom is in jeopardy.
Renowned Fertility Specialist and all-around Learned Person Todd Akin recently informed the public that victims of Legitimate Rape cannot get pregnant because the female body can “shut it down,” so we don’t have to worry about exceptions in abortion bans. You didn’t know that? Funny, neither did I. In light of this important scientific1 discovery, I did some serious research2 about what other awesome tricks the female body can get up to when threatened.
Prepare to be enlightened.
- When approached by an unwanted suitor, either in a bar or a dark alley, women can spit a paralyzing venom from a gland found at the back of their throats.
- Ovaries will emit an Electromagnetic Pulse with a half-mile “blast” radius.
- If pursued by a predator, a woman will shed her breasts, much like a gecko sheds its tail. The breasts will continue to wriggle on the ground to confuse the predator. It generally takes 6-8 weeks to regenerate.
- Progesterone can serve as a crude form of chloroform.
- Under extreme duress, five women can band together to form Voltron.
If, perhaps, these facts don’t quite sit right with you, you may want to throw some money toward Claire McCaskill, Mr. Akin’s Democratic opponent.
1. Not actual science
2. No actual research was completed