So….today was election day in America, and some people get all excited and riled up. Many people like to argue about the left vs. the right, or about the latest proposed law that’s either going to “save” the state or destroy it.
Me, I don’t vote. I actually take what the late George Carlin said a few years ago to heart:
I have solved this political dilemma in a very direct way: I don’t
vote. On Election Day, I stay home. 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 that these politicians have done
and have every right to complain about the mess that you created.
But why is voting bad for your health? Let’s look at a few reasons:
1. It’s humiliating. Voting for people and laws implies that there are others out there who know how to run your life better than you. It’s saying that I need someone to rule over me because I’m not good enough on my own. And who are these people that are supposedly able to rule the rest of us? Certainly not the cream of the crop! After all, who would go into politics unless they wanted to control others?
2. It’s using aggression. This may be confusing to people. How is checking a few boxes aggression? Well, whether it’s adding a new law or endorsing a ruler, it’s all just shifting the guns to be pointed a different direction. It’s saying, if you don’t like “my guy” or if you don’t agree with this law, you will get shot if you don’t comply. This is a negative on both sides- even the “winners” of a given election are not really winning at all. They are simply allowing others to take out this aggression on those who they don’t agree with. This is the opposite of a healthy way to deal with a problem.
3. It’s dividing and alienating. In Rosenberg’s Non Violent Communication, he talks about the idea of “enemy imagery”. When one thinks in terms of good and bad, and right and wrong, it is rare that an argument is ever settled. This leads to stored up resentment and an unfree mind- one that’s locked into the idea that “bad people” need to be punished. This can negatively affect the mind all the way down to driving in your car and thinking “that guy just cut me off, what a bastard, I hope he crashes and gets hurt!” This is the opposite of having empathy, and this includes empathy for oneself as well as others. With this idea that members of one party are “good” and members of another party are “bad”, or anyone that thinks a certain way about an issue is somehow “wrong”, we stay in a constant state of dissatisfaction and disconnection with so many fellow human beings on the planet. This is not self-enriching but rather self-destructive.
4. It’s learned helplessness. Your vote doesn’t count. It never has. Beyond just the simple math showing that a single vote doesn’t count in any major election, nothing much changes a few years after these charades known as elections. Certainly, individual lives are rarely affected by who wins and who loses. People use voting as an idea of something that will improve their lives. Because any kind of life improvement must come from within, and trying to change other people to achieve more happiness is a failed strategy, voting and seeing no results in one’s life becomes and endless cycle of learned helplessness.
The last time I voted was in February 2008 in the primaries. At the time I felt ashamed to even be walking into the voting booth, and even felt kind of sick to my stomach. But I had supported “my guy” with time and donations and felt as if I needed to see it through.
The 2012 presidential election is the biggest waste and the most useless election maybe ever. Simon Black did a great piece today on why it REALLY doesn’t matter who wins, and this is proven with math not with emotional pleas.
So today, November 6th, 2012, I can say I’m happy to be FREE of voting, and to be putting my energy and emotions into becoming a better communicator, a more compassionate person, and maximizing my happiness levels instead of into the hopeless abyss that is politics and voting.