Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Why I Chose Not to Vote

GASP, you say.

WHAT?! you say.

Don't you know it's your right as an American, and 100 years ago you wouldn't have been allowed because you're a woman?! you say.

How could you shirk your civic duty this way?! you say.

Believe you me, there was no small amount of guilt associated with my decision. I'm a teacher, for heaven's sake, I spent last Thursday, Friday and Monday talking about the election with my students and telling them to go vote with their parents, make sure their families vote, it's sososo important and the best way we can be involved in our country...

But I chose to not let guilt drive me to the polls.

The truth is fairly simple, and can be divided into two basic parts.

First of all, this was a very definite and thoughtful choice on my part. Not laziness, not apathy, not "eh, I don't have time." I decided that since I have not had the opportunity to thoroughly educate myself on the issues, and there was not a candidate who clearly focused on issues already important to me, I would not vote for either.

I suppose if you're really looking to burn me at the stakes, you could say that it's my civic duty to educate myself. But seriously, how many people who voted were thoroughly educated and made careful, purposeful decisions about how to cast their votes?

Choosing "the lesser of two evils" was not really an option for me. I have some weird ideas about government (if you're determined to use a label, I'm probably closest to a libertarian) and I didn't really think that either Mr. Mitt Romney or President Obama would head the direction I want.

Secondly, I believe that I was still exercising my freedom as an American by not voting. Dan informed me that if I wished, there was a button at the polls that would allow me to vote for neither candidate (and yes, it was lack of time that kept me from doing that). But still, nobody dragged me to the polls, nobody threatened my life because I didn't vote. This is still America, and I am free to decide that I don't like either of these men, or what they say they want to do, and I will not be forced to choose one of them.

So there you have it. All the facebook posts, the school district meeting about how politicians are going to slash teacher pensions (as if that was really the sole reason to vote for someone), all the conversations and tweets and what have you, and I stand firm in my belief that my choice was ok. I'm allowed to not know, and I'm allowed to act according to what I do, and do not, understand.

That being said, I really hope you voted.  ;-)