I Know The Election is Over, I Promise

This presidential election was the first I could have legally voted in. I didn’t.

Neither candidate seemed to offer enough possibility of good to make me overlook the probability of evil, and there wasn’t a third party candidate with the potential to cause the two major nominees serious pain. So I sat it out.

This, my high school civics teacher would tell you, is a very bad thing. Voting is a civic duty, a sacred ritual, the right for which our forefathers, and more recently, foremothers, suffered and fought. Failing to take full advantage of our enfranchisement is the shallow, lazy, self-centered detachment of youth at it’s worst. Get out the youth vote! Also, reading is FUNdamental and good people recycle!

Well, pace Ms. Baxter, I’m not so sure. It seems to me the emphasis on and definition of political engagement in terms of voting is a ploy to keep citizens, and especially the young, from organizing in more volatile ways. Vote! Work within the system and with whatever alternatives the parties offer you, and that way you’ll discharge your civic duty without breaking anything.

Nice people vote, and nice people recycle, and nice people don’t do anything rash.

Be a good girl, Lena Dunham tells us. Be cute (everyone likes a smile!), wink,  play your part, and accept that your virginity is still the most relevant part of your public person, and we’ll keep you safe and comfortable. Choose a nice guy, the guy who’s going to do right by you.

Be a good, submissive girl, and don’t ask too many questions. Pat yourself on the back for recycling, and don’t think about whether anything other than radical upheaval in our mode and standard of living is going to slow climate change. Cast your vote, and wash your hands of all the miserable injustices we live and move in.

Of course, there’s no actual dichotomy between voting and other methods of political engagement; there’s just something amazingly soporific about the way voting dominates the discourse on political action, and the way political action itself is just another method of personal curation. Vote, because it’s where the cute, cool, girls are. You know, the fun, sexy feminists.

Lena Dunham is not the voice of my generation, but perhaps here she’s finally found her demographic. The cool, cute, fun girls. The ones who don’t ask questions.

(For a more measured perspective, go here.)


4 thoughts on “I Know The Election is Over, I Promise

  1. I’m not clear why some people get all indignant about people making a decision not to vote. Obviously, when one votes for any one candidate, one makes a decision not to vote for the others. Why one cannot equally validly make a decision not to vote for any of them I don’t see.

    • I’m pretty sure it’s the idea that your vote is your voice–your only voice. If that’s THE way to influence the public sphere for the common good, then both the fury at those who don’t vote and the fury at those (especially one’s ideological allies) who vote differently than you becomes much more understandable.

  2. Congratulations – for failure to vote led to your present situation – few jobs and fewer choices. That is what you voted for – by not voting since you did nothing to stop it. So do not complain if your life doesn’t turn out the way you hoped – it turned out the way you voted for – for failure to vote is a choice, and the result that came about is due to your failure to act.

    I know that I have personally put more than 100 people out of work – not because I wanted to, but because it was in my best interest to do so. I, and many others, have opted to take the money and run rather than having our livelihood stolen since if I didn’t create it – I obviously can’t destroy it… So I’ll profit from it while I still can…

    Enjoy your future – and remember you can be proud that all that is happening is because of your lack of doing anything to prevent it. I at least tried to stop it – but in failure comes opportunity, so I’ll retire 20 years earlier, with a nice chunk of change – even though those just starting won’t have the chance that they could have had. I would have rather kept building, but you can’t build when it’s prohibited, so it’s easier to destroy and sell it all off for scrap, and pocket the money – each of those employees meant more than $100K in the bank for me, and because of how I did it, it’s all outside of US tax, tax, tax… So enjoy whatever future you have, and remember be happy since you voted for it, through your inaction…

    • Dude, if I’d voted for any major candidate it’d have been Obama. Still upset about my inaction?

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