Why I Will Not be Voting the 2018 Midterm Elections
After a Lifetime of Proclaiming the Importance of Voting, Today’s Midterm Elections Raise Doubts on the Meaning of Democratic-republicanism
11/6/18, 2:43 pm EST
By John Corry, Photo from gotgovt
Last Friday, I received a letter…
It was from the ‘Center for Voter Information’ in my state’s capitol, and its subtitle read: ‘Voting Report Card for John S. Corry Jr.’ (my full name). It then goes on to outline, in a fairly simple manner (four one-or-two-sentence-paragraphs on one, barely filled, page), that they will be monitoring whether or not I vote in the upcoming midterm elections, and that, quote (bold letters here being the only bold letters on the letter) (and the ‘quote’ was a joke #TheQuoteIsAJoke): “Who you vote for is private, but whether or not you vote is public record.”
They continue: “We’re sending this mailing to you and your neighbors to share who does and who does not vote in an effort to promote election participation… We will be reviewing these records after the election to determine whether or not you joined your neighbors in voting.” This is then followed by a chart featuring my name in the left-most bracket of a 5 (top) X 3 (down) list. To the right of my name is my address and my voting record for the past four elections (a simple yes or no as to whether or not I voted), and below my name are two black bars filling the whole of the square, with their street addresses, identical with mine, but with their numbers blacked out, and–indeed–their voting records for the past four elections…
One of them didn’t vote in the 2010 midterms…
We exaggerate, of course: obviously, no one on my block is seeing that I, specifically, didn’t vote in the 2010 election any more than I can see who that other horrible person who didn’t vote in the 2010 midterm elections may be (but hey: at least I care). Either way, I have a reason to care now, more of a reason than I did back when I was stuck all alone in my own head thinking about whether voting is a moral ‘yes-or-no’ in those simple terms. I can now walk down my driveway, stare down my street and think: ‘So I voted; did they???
‘When the dichotomy defining ‘yes-or-no’ is skewed to material moral objectivity (‘material’ meaning: void of any intellectual capacity (or: primarily primacy-based), and this is wrong because ‘morality’ is inherently existentially immaterial before it can be otherwise (ontological), and in assuming otherwise reality is subjected to a set of simple moral hierarchies because that becomes the only way to quantify ‘material morality’ (or at least at first) and is therefore ignorant of the inherent ‘faith’ which comes with any morality or set of morals (in that no human could ever possibly know all there is to know and could therefore make no Absolute judgment on such as assuming presupposition), and must so be defined (because Relative Morality is antithetical to the concept of Morality); especially when assuming the additional element that is human perception and the inherent interaction between it (really: consciousness) and reality (that consciousness affects things just by looking at them). No collective consciousness nor subconscious could assume any understanding for its potential for dualistic unity (yin/yang) under the reign of subjective/objective absolutism because that (subjective/objective absolutism) doesn’t exist beyond the material world (or: transcendentally?)); perception is both either/or and simultaneous, because if it were otherwise, the duality between the conscious and subconscious would be assumed, and unnoticed— which is clearly not the case, for most people, in 2018 (or 2010 for that matter).’
So I finished reading the letter, put it away, and continued reading The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe. I was at the part right before the shit was about to go down… (Or: a little less than halfway through it.)
I then received another letter on Saturday, which was void of the chart and the indication that I should get mad at my asshole neighbors walking the street thinking it’s okay to have an opinion on the concept of voting outside of the status quo, but which did include a restatement of my voting record– this time with a bar graph comparing it to the average American’s.
I was now a little more than halfway through Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities…
This is not a referendum on the act of ‘voting’ itself, or whether it has any merit: of course voting is important when thought leads to its inherent potency in-action, and of course people should do it when they feel it appropriate (which I still think is most of the time). Plus: if we couldn’t vote on the people who represent us, how do they actually represent us? #ToStateTheObvious But the ‘importance of voting’ is not so much defined by the reason why taking advantage of the fact that ‘we can vote’ is important (which it is, but derivatively–), but by the act of voting itself. For example: there’s nothing wrong with realizing that politics isn’t your thing and so leaving it to those more qualified /> so long as you realize that’s what you’re doing. ‘Voting’ or ‘not voting’ isn’t the question, caring and have some kind of opinion, even if that opinion is, ‘it’s just not my thing’, and taking responsibility for that opinion, is what matters.
To the point:
I hope to show that by being the absolute horrible person I am by not voting, maybe we can actually have a conversation regarding politics that doesn’t just come down to, ‘well, I feel this,’ or, ‘well, I find this to be a fact irrefutable’. If I’m being a pretentious douche about it–or an ignorant, lazy, anti-American, anti-freedom bag of moldy rotting teeth–it’s because… well, I just don’t know any other way of being (meaning: I’d rather get it out before thanksgiving).
The SHAMING I’ve so far indicated as the primary reason for this decision is not the only reason. In this election cycle alone, I’ve seen politicians mace their own eyes, threaten to ‘stomp all over (opponent’s) face(s)) with golf spikes’, and assert that the president of the United States is literally trying to burn the world down. I’ve seen senators and ex-presidential candidates call for violence, and, in the last election cycle, saw the future president of the United States claim that the father of one of his opponents was involved in the assassination of JFK in 1963.
If these are any indications, ‘politics’ is only going farther down the ‘no-thought’ line, despite what ‘the politicians’ emotional plays for your ‘vote’ may be suggesting the contrary.
Therefore, given that this is ‘the most consequential election of our lifetime’ /> I will not be going with them.
It is long standing that politicians, for the most, exaggerate. ‘That’s just the way it is’, ‘politicians are supposed to care about what I think /> and that’s all (me me me (ME)).’ I find that to be an issue. If all politicians have to do is bend to the whims of the masses, how could they, even mostly subconsciously (to be nice), not use it for personal power? Nietzsche’s Will-to-Power essentially asserts that people strive for power no matter what, and is that wrong? Haven’t the events of the past century proven that to be true? We’re only human–just as politicians (a tough one, I know, but it’s true)–and when you take away that humanity, as we do when we refer to people as ‘the masses’ or to politicians as ‘the swamp’ (or pawns for Russia with no eividence (yet)) or as any other identitarian term we may want to use, the subconscious needs a way to make itself known. This ‘power for power’s sake’ mentality is exactly that: the subconscious coming out and saying: ‘Think about shit. Doing only goes so far; sooner or later, you gotta look at the other side, or else risk regress.’
This assumed understanding of power I find to be a big reason why ‘voting’ became a thing in the first place.
Many scholars agree that a big part of the American constitution was written to try to bend the human instinct/need that is Nietzsche’s ‘Will-to-Power’ (I use the hyphens to say that it is an in-time concept; no word could fully symbolize the inherent ‘moving forward in time’ such a word is meant to represent) into something more ‘intellectual’ (for lack of a better word in this case). They felt that the king in England had too much power, but also that, given essentially all of history in which the monarchs and the supreme leaders consolidated power as far as was possible at the time (in most cases), it was natural for humans to strive for that position. Power is a reward for doing good for your fellow man, and as such is a pretty awesome reward, ‘doing good for your fellow man’ being one of the primary reasons humans have advanced so far up the biological food-chain, but it can still be manipulated. In fact it’s one of the things people have tried most often to manipulate, and may even be the underlying reason for all malicious manipulation in the first place. In many societies claiming ‘democracy’, people are forced to vote for fear of punishment, even death. Just a little slice of life contrary to the idea that power only comes from one physical source, but can be played any differently when allowed to reign overlooked (outside of the obvious implication for my main argument).
It took balls to send me that letter arguing that my vote matters more than my thought, and that my neighbors should chastise me for my thought-out decision. How may a power structure at first try to implement such a policy? I voted in every election aside from 2010 (two years out of high school=expert on midterm politics), but this one is special…
This is the ‘most consequential election of our lifetime’…
But is the election consequential, or the thoughts of the people participating in it?
And what about the statistically 50% of those who don’t (participate)? Are they ‘people’? Do they ‘deserve’ a say?
Because George Carlin doesn’t vote, he’s the one with the right to complain:
“Everybody complains about politicians. Everybody says: ‘They suck.’ But where do they think these people come from? They don’t fall out of the sky, they don’t pass through a membrane from another reality. No, they come from American homes, American families, American schools, American churches, American businesses, and they’re elected by American voters. This is the best we can do, folks. It’s what our system produces: garbage in, garbage out… I have solved this political dilemma: 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 this around. They say: ‘If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain’, but where’s the logic in that? If you vote, 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 what these politicians have done and have every right to complain about the mess that you have created. That I didn’t have anything to do with. So when you’re having one of those swell elections that you like so much… on that day I will be doing essentially the same as you… the only difference is: when I get done masturbating, I’ll have a little something to show for it.”
None of the candidates make me 'excited’. If that Carlin quote has any merit, the ‘lesser of two evils’ argument is shit one. Maybe it’s because I’m still a pretentious ignoramus, but I’ve personally found that none of the candidates have given me any reason to think that they have any original thought, or any capability to unite the country in this trying time. The letters I received over the weekend show that what has been brewing at least since Trump won in 2016 is growing stronger:
Public shaming matters more than everything.
In 2016, I voted for Hillary Clinton (speaking of shaming: YOU VOTED FOR HILLARY?!?!?!), and tbh (to-be-honest): it’s one of the biggest regrets I have. Not because I’m regretful for ‘participating in the process’, nor even for voting specifically for Hillary per se. I regret it because when somebody asks me if I voted in that wildly consequential 2016 presidential election (but not the *Most consequential *TheMost *TheMost *TheMostConsequential), I have nothing more than a shrug. I have nothing more than a ‘they were both bad’, or an ‘it doesn’t matter, it’s in the past’, because I only voted because I had to. But it does matter. In fact, the sheer ugliness of that election would have been more than enough, in my mind, to have sat that one out. But that’s not what I did. Voting is what mattered, not why I voted, or why I voted for who I voted for outside of simplistic accusations, or how I may convey my own thoughts to other people in a way that actually gets them across.
Because it’s easier to yell at people for what they think than to try to understand why they think it.
Because (obviously) they are inherently, irreconcilably, and Absolutely /> evil.
No policy is going to be made until we can all come to some kind of compromise regarding how we understand these issues. Healthcare, foreign policy, immigration, etc.– these issues are complicated and we need to hear all sides before we can begin understand what the next steps may possibly be. No one knows everything. Get off your high horse.
But no one is arguing about any of this, no one is listening. Instead, we’re all saying: “Vote for this person and she’ll make sure that no one hears the other side, because the other side is not only wrong, but dangerous,” the inevitable progression of fifty+ years of shaming the other side and arguing for partisan politics over understanding. This is what you want me to vote for? This is your answer to the big bad boogey man Donald Trump channeling an aggression waiting to explode over the past fifty years? Or those GOD-FORSAKEN COMMUNISTS trying to rob me of my kids? By saying we need to kill ‘it’? How is that liberal? How is that democratic? How is that intellectual? How is that not exactly what Trump would want you to do, if he were as bad as you say he is (totalitarian-wise) (or, if you’d rather: replace ‘Trump’ with ‘The Communists’)? How is that not just falling by the wayside to that part of the human brain originating in our reptilian ancestors which says ‘ATTACK!’ at the first sign of danger, rather than ‘defend'?
That is what I’d be voting for this time around. ‘The most consequential of out lifetime…’
By not voting, I can stand by what I think regarding these issues, rather than cower at my regret–or my laziness–or wallow in my anger for the apparent inability of all generations before mine to understand what Plato got right over 2000 years ago, but which has been misunderstood ever since: not that society needs to be ‘ruled’ by ‘philosopher-kings’, only that politicians and elected leaders need to think like philosophers (what is: creative (open-minded) thought)– which they cannot do when they’re forced to kneel to a mob (as the people in the mob have declared themselves part of a collective before they may be individuals (we are all different)).
And if you don’t know what that means, or if you think it’s irrelevant within the context of these ‘dark’ times, Sherman, I’ll see you Wednesday, staring at me at the end of my driveway.