I don't vote.

My friend thinks that this is wrong about me. He insists that I SHOULD, nay NEED to vote.

Me, I don’t see why…I, personally, don’t care who is president of the United States. It doesn’t really effect me or my life too much, so I don’t usually care who’s in the office.

I also don’t follow politics. I don’t like or know anything about it. I couldn’t tell you the difference between a conservative or socialist or a democrat or any other kind of political party, group or class. I just can’t ever seem to care about that stuff.

And no, I don’t complain either. I do realize that not voting also gives me no right to complain about how the country is run or what, if any, choice the president does or makes. I realize that I have no room to critisize anything he does…and I don’t.

I also don’t pay taxes (well, save for the taxes that come with non food items in stores)…but I mean taxes like filling out 1040 forms in April. I don’t work…I’m on disability, and yes, I do realize that some presidents are for and against Social Security and such, or tend to approve or disapprove certain amounts…but that still wouldn’t make me vote.

So anyway, my friend…he thinks this is really wrong of me not to vote. And I always hear other distain from other people when they ask and I tell them. So I ask you people here, what do you think of it? Do you vote? And do you think I’m “horribly in the wrong” for not voting? You can tell me you think that if you really do, you won’t offend me or anything. However, I can’t tell you that your opinion of me for not voting would make a differece…I probably still never would.

But I am curious to hear opinions on it, since I think my friend may be being to harsh on me.

I’m 25, by the way.

I’m sure you’re going to get some “idle thoughts” from both ends of the spectrum. My personal feeling is that you have a right to vote, and choosing not to exercise that right is perfectly valid. My personal wish is that you (and every 25 year old) would pay attention and get involved in politics. However, I respect and defend your choice not to.

Now, re: the above quoted statement. I hate this. You certainly do have a right to complain about how the country is run and what choices the president makes. The actions of the President and the direction of this country has a direct impact on you. Also, you are perfectly within your rights as an American citizen to demand excellence in government.

IMHO, just pulling a lever or filling in a bubble for “the other guy” is not a prerequisite to calling the government in power on its bullshit. Even if you actually voted for the administration, I believe you can (and should) complain about how the country is run and what choices the president makes.

My two cents.

  • Peter Wiggen

Sorry, in my haste to address the “no complaining” rule, I might have only touched on the true question being posed.

What do I think of you not voting? Are you “horribly in the wrong” for not voting? I think it’s your right. In my experience, when someone thinks that you should absolutely get out and vote, it’s because they want more support for their candidate - not always because they want you to exercise your “civic duty.” Regardless of your buddy’s intent, I agree with encouraging you to vote, but not disparaging you for not voting.

Do I vote. Yes, but I’m super into politics and football. Follow 'em both like religion. Voting is the logical extension (for me) of paying so much attention to politics.

Hope that’s helpful.

  • Peter Wiggen

Personally, I have no problem with uninformed (and therefore ignorant) folks not voting, and letting the rest of us who do care make the decisions for them. You’d probably jut vote “wrong” anyway.

(Please note that I mean “ignorant” in the true sense of “not knowing,” and not pejoratively.)

Oh, and the word you meant in the second paragraph was “affect,” not “effect.”

OK, I’ll start.

At least you don’t claim that it doesn’t make a difference who’s president. That’s the most asinine argument against voting anyone could make, as the last two elections should have made desperately clear. I had a huge annoyed post against that argument, only to see you didn’t make it. So I won’t berate you over that.

And frankly since you say that you have no clue about what the parties stand for, it’s probably best that you don’t vote. better a non-voter than another ill-informed one. Though honestly I can’t believe someone could hang out around this board and not have some idea what the issues are.

To be honest, you strike me as similar to someone who doesn’t care about their health. It’s obviously important, but clearly some people don’t give a crap. If that’s how they feel, who am I to tell them what to do. Likewise, if you honestly don’t care about this country, it seems like an exercise in futility to convince you otherwise. If you’re happy in your apathy, who am I to judge you?

He’s not beating you or threatening to end your friendship, is he? It can’t be too harsh. But to some extent I agree with you, and in fact we are alike in at least one way: neither of us votes.

Back when I cared to argue about it I got into frequent little debates: You can’t complain unless you vote! Voting is the most fundamental right you hold! People died to give you that right! As if voting is the primary, most effective, or even the single most important channel to traverse for change. As if by putting down a piece of paper supporting one or another candidate or issue, all of which in general I disagree with, I am magically promoted to certified complainer. In the interest of calling out spades, that’s nonsense.

That said, I find your more general apathy disconcerting. The government is a body which can flick its wrist to do you great benefit or, far more often, great harm, and I feel compelled to have some awareness of its current state. I can’t imagine anyone thinking otherwise. I don’t fool myself into thinking myself anything but powerless - and I don’t fool myself into thinking that by voting I would do more than waste time, and give support to ideology I abbhor. But at least it’s nice to know what’s going on so that I know whether to be sad or not, and how much.

Well, I don’t know. A lot of people tell me, upon hearing that I don’t vote, that I don’t have any right to complain being as how I didn’t put in my vote in the first place…and I can kinda see their point in a way about this. Maybe it was just the fact of it being hammered in and told to me all the time from people…

No worries, I know how you meant it. I AM ignorant when it comes to politics…but I guess you’d call it a willful ignorance. I just don’t have any desire to learn about it, it seems incredibly boring to me (much like sports is as well). I don’t know…it just seems like I can never get interested in Political talk and all that jazz. It’s always been that way.

And thanks for the correction, I didn’t even realize.

As a person on disability, you’re just about the most vulnerable person in the country to governmenntal decisions. Other people can buffer themselves a bit from the slings and arrows of bad government, but you’re daily existence depends on decisions those yahoos make. I assume you’re also on Medicare - no? So that’s your income and your healthcare right there that you have no control of except through your vote. And without the ability to build a large savings, there’s virtually no decision they make on any level that you can safely ignore. For instance, you’re liable to feel the cost of the Iraq War and the Katrina disaster more than anyone else.

On the other hand, if you’re totally ignorant and totally apathetic, I don’t see any point in your voting. You’re exactly the type of person who shouldn’t vote.

I just can’t believe you’re so ignorant and apthetic to believe the government doesn’t affect you. That’s where you need to uh…reevaluate.

Now see, this is one thing that I’m kinda annoyed by, and I get it from a lot of others who hear that I don’t vote. Not to single you out, Larry Borgia :), but just to make an example out of others who say it to me in real life (since you say something similar).

It doesn’t mean I don’t care about this country…I do care about it. I love this country; I just don’t see how voting or not voting equates to whether one cares about this country or not.

No, Cheese Monster, he’s not doing that…he just seems disgusted whenever we breach the subject, but I guess it’s just his opinion.

Yes, I do think it’s wrong, and I hope the next president passes a disability cut that includes just you. Maybe then you wouldn’t have the time to create so many TMI threads!

I believe without a doubt that you and everyone else who doesn’t vote (and can) is in the wrong. While it’s easy to say that “uninformed people shouldn’t vote,” there’s a simple solution to that–GET INFORMED! Spend one fewer hour a week reading this messageboard and open a damn newspaper. I know from other threads that you’re young; don’t you realize that our not voting just gives the older established generation even more power over us? You and every other apolitical nonvoter is ignorant, and I do mean it in the pejorative sense.

And frankly, I find your lack of interest in politics even more disturbing than your nonvoting. I know some anarchists who are “conscientious nonvoters” and while I find their nonvoting to be asinine I can at least respect that they don’t vote for a reason. But someone (esp someone on the “smartest messageboard on the Internet”) not caring about politics? Your politics are the reflection of what you feel and believe, the way you choose to process the world and the people in it. You might as well not have an interest in air or water, far as I’m concerned. It is people like you that are making this country suck. I guess it really will take recalling everyone’s Tivo and laptop to make the revolution come. Pity.

Voting is not the only or even the most important way to foment change, but it’s something. Is it too much trouble to walk down to a poll two times a year? Too much of a pain to hoist yourself up from the couch to drop an absentee ballot in the mailbox? Yes, we can and should try to effect change in many ways, but voting is one of those ways and it’s also the way that takes the least physical effort. You can march in protests for hours and don’t want to bother going down to the pollbooth? Why are you, someone who claims to be informed, so averse to voting?

I guess I just can’t understand why people don’t vote (except for the anarchists, I understand their rationale, I just don’t agree with it). And I especially don’t see how someone can be apolitical. This is way harder to wrap my mind around than Christianity.

But surely you realize that it does make a difference who’s in charge, right? And surely you recognize that some policies would be better for this country than others? If you do care about this country, surely you would exercize the one little bit of power you have to affect it’s direction.

To say I care about the country but I won’t vote is like saying I care about my health but I wont exercize or watch what I eat. It’s a contradiction.

Oh, of course, yeah. I know that much. I just don’t buy the whole “Well if you really DID care about this country, you would vote” line.

I just don’t think that the two are nessacarily equal to the other.

And if that ever happened, I still would not care to vote or who the president was.

It’s not just that. I could if I wanted to. I just have no desire to at all.
I know from other threads that you’re young; don’t you realize that our not voting just gives the older established generation even more power over us? You and every other apolitical nonvoter is ignorant, and I do mean it in the pejorative sense.

Again, I don’t really see the commontality between not voting and having reflections on what I feel or believe or any of that. I think there’s a lot more to life that would show that off.

I guess we just have a major difference of opinion. But I did ask for them. : p

Ugh…sorry about the coding in that last post.

This is what I don’t get. Are you saying that you wouldn’t care about losing your benefits? Or that you wouldn’t blame the President if you did?

Ok we’ve seen this simile twice, lets blow it up.

So people who care about their health (a) exercise and (b) watch what they eat?

Hell, I’m obsessed with my health and I never watch what I eat. It’s a family trait - all the in the genes. Of course I do exercise frequently, don’t smoke, take nutritional supplements, and watch my stress levels. Used to know a couple of girls - real health nuts - who smoked. Of course they cared about their health, they just chose in one way, not to deal with it. The point is one can care about one’s health by addressing it in other ways than simply diet and exercise.

Get my drift? YOU CAN CARE ABOUT YOUR COUNTRY AND NOT VOTE. You can care about your country and try and help it in other ways. You can volunteer to plant trees in your community. You can work at the public library. You can stand up with pride at the singing of the Star Spangled Banner. You can be a good representative when you visit other countries. Hell, you can get drunk and try to influence your voting friends on how they should think about the country’s direction. You can just hope that everything turns out alright for America and that she’s the greatest country in the world.

What am I even talking about? You can do NONE of these things and still care about your country. It’s simply wrong to suggest that if you don’t vote, you don’t care about your country. YOU JUST DON’T CARE ABOUT VOTING.

Well, probably both, but I was meaning the former more than the latter.
And PeterWiggins hit the nail on the head regarding my opinion with:

People (again, not just **Larry Borgia, I actually love him as a poster, but more so people I meet in real life) just cannot fathom that I just simply don’t care about voting…and that’s it. They seem to equate all these things to it like not caring about the country or not caring about my life or a someone who is a reason “this country sucks” or even (one person before I talked to last year when we got on the subject of voting) being accused of being a nazi, of all things.

Well, I don’t know about all that. Me, I just don’t care to vote. It IS ignorance, yes, but it’s willful ignorance. I just don’t care to vote…and that’s it. And that’s all it is. shrug

It pisses me off that you don’t vote. You, and millions of other people in their 20s. We’re a marginalized voting block because far too many people like you embrace apathy and don’t bother to vote - it’s not seen as worth a politician’s time to court the youth vote because so few of us actually DO get off our asses and vote. To be honest, learning that a person can’t be bothered to make the minimal effort to inform themselves and drive to the polls every 4 years makes me think less of them.

I call b.s. on this statement. You didn’t just say you don’t care about voting. You said this (bolding mine - but the whole thing is problematic):

You say you don’t care about *politics * plus you think it doesn’t affect you. At minimum there’s a reality gap in your thinking.

If you *really * don’t care about your disability benefits as you say, then maybe you could claim some consistency - if it also applied to pretty much everything else in your life. But I suspect that what’s really going on is you don’t want to think about how the goverment affects you, so you simply don’t.

Like my parrot. He has no clue where his food comes from, and doesn’t want to know, but would definitely give a damn if it stopped coming.

Coming from a country where voting is compulsory*, threads like these really weird me out.

There is lots of debate here about the pros and cons of compulsory voting (arguments for both sides are listed here), but I’ve gotta say I likes me my compulsory voting. If getting your couch potato arse down to the local Town Hall for fifteen minutes once every coupla years is too much to ask, then I fear for society.

*Placing a ballot paper is compulsory. You don’t have to cast a vote as such - you can leave it blank, or scrawl swearwords all over it, etc. Well, this is technically illegal too - you are required to attempt to vote correctly, but as it is a secret ballot, nobody has ever been prosecuted for not doing so.

I did say I don’t care about voting, though, and then I gave a reason to why I don’t care…but the end result is still the same, namely me not caring to vote.

And true, I did say I don’t care about politics in general either.

Well, that’s wrong. I do not care to vote and that’s it. I don’t see how who the president is effects me at all. It never has, and I don’t see it ever really making that much of a difference. If there’s ever a president or a law that a president makes that shortens or even stops my disability, would I care to vote then? No…I wouldn’t. I would just find other means to survive. But I would STILL not vote and still not think I was effected much by whoever the president was. I’ve already been there, before. Homeless and on the streets, and I was surprisingly content and still satisfied.

I dunno, maybe it just takes very little to appease me.
However, I doubt VERY much there would ever be a case where disablity would be done away with entirely. It just doesn’t seem plausable or likely. But hey, what do I know?
All I know is that I don’t care about voting for president. I don’t care who the president is.

And for some reason, people seem to take great offense at that. I guess I can see why a bit, not not to the point where people actually start hating me for it…or saying they think less of me for it.

But again, that’s their opinion, and I am glad they shared it, because I did start the topic for this reason. I’m starting to understand that my friend isn’t as bad as I thought it was…it just seems like some people take it more seriously than I do. Everyone’s MMV.