Let’s get right down to it, shall we?
Stock reasons not to vote:
You are one of millions. Your vote won’t make a difference. It’s like spitting in the ocean.
You know politicians are lying when they have their mouths open and words are coming out. A politician’s campaign promises are like Listerine wafers in your mouth.
You don’t understand the issues and you’re too slammed right now to educate yourself. It would be irresponsible of you to vote. You should leave it up to the people who know what they’re doing. Besides, see reason number one.
Stock rebuttals to stock reasons not to vote:
Only 1/3 of eligible voters actually vote. So your vote does make a difference. (Okay, so it would be like spitting in Lake Pontchartrain then!)
There are actually some politicians who are not lying liars that lie. (Oh sure, and I’m the pope.)
It’s your duty as a citizen to inform yourself and participate in the democratic process. (Fine, you pay for a lawyer who can explain those ballot initiatives to me, or a political scientist who can dissect the policy proposals, or a psychologist who can assess the personalities, and I will go vote, if I can find time to go to the polls and stand in line.)
Hmmm…This may take a little more effort. Okay, try these:
When you vote you say to the universe, “I exist,” even if you have to drive, park, walk, and then – yes – stand in line to make that statement. It doesn’t really matter if the universe already knows you exist or not. Making the statement is not for its benefit. It’s for your benefit. It may be the most important statement you ever make because when you make it, you matter. Some people declare their existence by hurting people or destroying something. It’s much easier to do, but it’s also much more cowardly and much less impressive. Exert yourself a little and declare your existence constructively by voting.
Okay, so you declare your existence. Big deal. It felt good, but once done the big moment is over and the universe maybe still doesn’t care. Not true. When you vote you determine your destiny, though not in the sense, necessarily, that whomever you vote for will be elected and stick to his or her promises (see reasons not to vote above). Instead, as many philosophers and leaders (Ghandi and Emerson among others) have pointed out:
Your thoughts become your words.
Your words become your actions.
Your actions become your habits.
Your habits become your values.
Your values become your character.
Your character becomes your destiny.
Voting even once changes you. Sitting on your tush and letting other people make decisions without your input also changes you. Thoughts become actions become your destiny. Big things are actually small. You, for example, are the culmination of a “twinkle in someone’s eye,” a passing, fragile thought. The whole universe works this way. (Don’t make me drag out that old cliche’ about the mighty oak from an acorn. I will if I have to!)
Quantum physics will tell you that everything and everybody is interconnected energy. What you do impacts the universe. What you don’t do impacts the universe. The same sort of interconnection exists at the macroscopic level. Every look, word, and action generate multiple, and multilevel, emotional, physical, and philosophical reactions in others. When you vote you make ripples that continue long after the polls close. This happens whether you believe it does or not, so don’t waste your time and energy in denial. Just go out and make some good ripples.
Finally – and this one is slightly less philosophical – looneytune ultra-conservatives want you to stay away from the polls. They have broken every rule – legal, ethical, moral – at some point to keep you, or someone like you, from voting. If you don’t vote, you play right into their hands, and they all say thank you.
Keep this in mind also…If you are still alive you have learned how to judge people, at least to some extent. Forget all those ballot initiatives and all those policy proposals if you are pressed for time. Focus on the people running. You may not agree with everything they say, but are they good people? Read a little about them, from both sides of the political spectrum, and attend just one of their appearances. You are likely to enjoy the adventure and you will learn that first, they are regular folks, just like you, except they decided to go into politics. Second, they all have good ideas and bad ideas that you will recognize as good or bad. And third, they are easier to evaluate than you think. Go and see for yourself and then trust your judgment.
“‘Nuff said.” Go vote.