Since Americans can’t be bothered to vote, don’t they deserve the government they get?

“We are their victims. We are weak and pathetic. But only by choice.”

conversationArthur asked the question above, and I’m compelled to respond to it.

My answer is “NO.”

Interestingly, I subsequently found, on Arthur’s Facebook, a link to this Inequality Tower, with his note, “Yep, this is pretty much New Zealand today—and most other Western democracies. Do you care? Do you vote as IF you care?”

A lot of people have been trained NOT to care, to believe “they” are all scoundrels, and it doesn’t make a difference. Gary Kroeger, former cast member of Saturday Night Live, and now running for Congress as a Democrat made an interesting observation:

“The disenfranchised non-intellectuals who now have a voice and are actually moving the needle. The uninformed now have a much bigger voice. They’re louder. By non-intellectuals I don’t mean stupid, I just mean those who just don’t want to engage in the minutia, pull up their sleeves, and do the math. They are from-the-hip voters.”

It’s not just many of the Republican candidates for President, it can even be CEOs of companies. So I could let THEM determine my fate, but I choose to at least try to fight back.

Voting matters. Why else would Ann Coulter and others suggest bringing back ‘literacy tests’ so voting is ‘a little more difficult’, even though it’s unconstitutional? You could be from Harvard and fail the 1964 Louisiana literacy test.

The state of Oregon has a new automatic voter registration. As someone said, in a comment about the new law: “Let’s start swinging the voting pendulum the OTHER way, instead of the recent years of ‘What? Brown people are actually VOTING? WE MUST STOP THIS!!!’ shenanigans like voter ID laws.”

Sometimes, it doesn’t take much to effect change. In Ferguson, MO, where they tripled the minority representation, “29% of eligible voters [were] casting more than 3,700 ballots. That’s more than double the 12% of eligible voters that came out for last April’s mayoral election.” Think about that for a minute: 29% was a GOOD turnout.

If people mobilize and actually vote in their self-interest, and arithmetically, there are far more on the bottom of the economic pyramid than the top, change CAN be made.

And if not, I’m becoming more convinced of a bad outcome for our country, and possibly other countries where contracts with zero hours of work guaranteed are not uncommon, and the vast number of poor are shamed. I came across As the Country Falls Apart, It’s Time for Our Revolution; a call to arms from Ted Rall’s “Anti-American Manifesto”:

Government exists to serve economic power. In the U.S. and globally, economic power is concentrated in business, namely the large corporations whose profits account for more than ten percent of the nation’s gross domestic product…. Corporations… ae parasites, vampires, hideous monsters that underpay and overcharge us and get fat on the spread. Who are we then?

We are their victims. We are weak and pathetic. But only by choice.

We can wait for the system to collapse of its own accord, for the rage of the downtrodden and dispossessed to build, for chaos of some sort to expose and destroy it. But implosion might take a long time. And when it happens, we may find ourselves even more powerless than we are now.

[It gets drearier.]

Not necessarily accepting the scenario fully, but Rall certainly has many valid points. So yes, I try to stay engaged in the political process, as exhausting and irritating as it is. And it’s because NONE of us deserve the government we have that gives more rights to corporations than people.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

3 thoughts on “Since Americans can’t be bothered to vote, don’t they deserve the government they get?”

  1. I vote. Always. So does my 26-year-old daughter, Riley. It is a responsibility, to me, but most folks don’t feel that way. We are in a sense pathetic, because as a larger group, we don’t hold each other accountable regarding citizenship.

    Having said that, I know my vote doesn’t matter a tinker’s damn as long as Citizens United, which was passed along by political appointees – the Supreme Court, for whom we cannot vote – and as such, it virtually impervious to our objections.

    I wish the entire Congress would spend a week on the streets, with no food and no clothing other than what they can take on their backs. Ask for handouts, hope Amy comes along and takes one of them to lunch, and sleep on the sidewalk. Maybe THEN they would begin to start to CONSIDER getting a clue.

    But I doubt it. Thanks, Rog, I’m with your conclusion on this. Amy

  2. Completely agree with you, of course, and nothing irritates me more than people who deliberately choose to not vote. In the past, I’ve actually been one of those obnoxious jerks who’ll stop someone complaining to me about the government of the day to ask, “Did you vote in the last election?” And if the answer is “no”, then I’ve been known to say, “well, then, your opinion doesn’t matter.” Okay, none of that has ever actually happened, except in my fantasy, but I’m not sure it won’t happen one day.

    The thing is, if all the people who say “they’re as bad as each other”, or who don’t vote because “my vote doesn’t count” actually voted, they could change everything, and would be such a powerful force that no Koch Brothers-funded fake group could stand up against them.

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