I Didn’t Vote

Another personal post. I did want to make a personal post on the day of the US election to try to explain why I didn’t vote this election. Oregon has vote by mail, so any convenient excuse like “I forgot about it” immediately fails. Throughout my life, I’ve told that it’s my civic duty to vote. I’ve been told this even before I was a U.S. citizen. I’ve been told it was my duty to vote for student government. I’ve voted for every presidential election that I was able to until now.

So why not this year? An easy answer would be that I’m cynical of politics “today.” I don’t feel like either of the two candidate would act in a manner that I found reasonable, that the system encourages the worst behavior, etc. But I’ll admit, I don’t actually think that lowly of either politicians nor campaigning. From what I remember from history, the elections actually used to be much worse. There is something to the fact that  the political ads were annoying. But this contributed to my not voting, not because the campaigns were “dirty,” but because I have the same reaction whenever I see a terrible ad for any product. I don’t buy their product. Another easy reason would be that my vote doesn’t count, which technically true, misses the point of voting. As someone who believes in the wisdom of the crowds, I like the idea of voting.

So neither of these. The real reason is that I’m apathetic towards politics. No, that’s not quite right. I’m disinterested in politics. The ambiguity of the meaning of that word plays into my feeling about the matter. I have no strong personal feeling about the matter. I can’t get riled up when someone talks about the matter. But more than that, I don’t want to. I cling to a childish hope that there is a way of perceiving the world which is objective and true for everyone. Politics seems too tinted, and it would color my view if I let it. Even though I do have political leanings, I try to avoid them whenever I can and try to emphasize my own ignorance. I have neither the wisdom nor the bravado to claim that I know enough to make this decision. And even though I claimed above that it is my part in the aggregate that would lead to a correct answer, I just have no feeling toward it.

I realize my more politically-minded friends will disagree with me, to the point of being angry with me. But it should be noted here, I’m still not entirely sure why I didn’t vote and this post is an attempt to explain rationally a purely visceral reaction to the election.


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