Yes, I’m looking at you.
Election Day is drawing ever nearer. But why vote? What if you aren’t in love with one of the candidates? Is staying at home really that bad? Well, let’s discuss!
Voting is how you put your beliefs in to action. By voting, you elect representatives that reflect your beliefs and can legislate based upon them. If you want someone who represents your beliefs fully, then run for office yourself — otherwise, pick the closest match. A 95% match-up in core values will be far more successful at making the world a better place as you view it than a 10% match-up would.
But what if you support someone other than Barack Obama or Mitt Romney for the office of President? Well, let’s face the reality of the situation: America has a two-party system. No matter how much you want that to change, the truth of the matter is simple: either Mitt Romney or Barack Obama will be President of the United States. Should we have more parties running? Yes, absolutely, but voting for a third-party candidate at the national level — even symbolically — really is just a waste of a vote.
If you’d like to support third-parties, you have to do it at a grassroots level. First, elect local third-party candidates with success, then elect state third-party candidates, and then you can look at the national level. It has to be a change from the bottom up and that is the only way to truly alter the system in that way.
And what if you choose to stay at home? Well, really, that’s a form of voting, too. However, by doing that, you’re allowing others to decide how the world is run while silencing yourself. As David Foster Wallace put it: “In reality, there is no such thing as not voting: you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some Diehard’s vote.”