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That is the title of a FB group from which a friend in my feed recently shared a photo.  I immediately clicked over to the group page, which seemed to be overrun with links from Fox News, The Reagan Coalition, etc.  No big surprise there.  However, this is a friend of mine with a fairly similar outlook on life as my own, and I wanted to understand where she was coming from.  

I politely asked her on her comment thread, if she was planning on voting at all this year?  I was curious to see - if she was not planning on voting for Obama - if she planned a third-party, Libertarian, Green, dreaded R-Money vote, or something else altogether.  

She replied that she was not planning on voting at all.

I bit my tongue, swallowed, and then politely asked her that if she didn't mind, could she please tell me why not?  

Her answer, paraphrased, essentially boiled down to this:

 "I believe the voting system is rigged to give the people a false sense of power, and that voting makes no real difference."

My heart sank as I read these words and struggled yet again to address the resounding theme of voter apathy I am hearing more and more from those within my fairly wide circle of friends - those who are intelligent, creative, open-minded, liberal, spiritual, interested in social justice, equality, environmental issues, and otherwise would be staunch allies in our progress towards a more fair, equitable, and just democratic society.  They have stepped up to participate with Occupy.  They are active within their communities. They are movers and shakers, doers and dreamers, and we all share similar, hopes, perspectives, and goals.

However, they are increasingly abandoning the system in droves, and I am finding myself at a loss to counter my friend and others adopting similar positions of voter apathy and disengagement - protesting against a failing system, corrupt politicians, imperfect parties, and more by choosing to opt-out and drop out of the process altogether.

I turn to the dailykos community for assistance.  What are the right words to use?

How do I reach her?  

More importantly, how do we all reach these people?

4:36 PM PT: UPDATE: Thanks to all for suggestions so far.  I went back to the comment thread, and was saddened to see several people had liked her comment "modern voting is rigged", but felt encouraged enough to post anyway:  "whether you think modern voting is rigged or not, the reality is that legislation will be passed in this country that affects you, your rights, your body, your freedom of choice, and your freedom of speech. refusing to participate by refusing to vote or by refusing to work on reforming the system (or create an alternate) is allowing someone else to create your reality. besides, the way the system IS truly rigged is by one side (or multiple sides) dissuading people just like you from voting altogether."  And then MY comment started receiving likes from her friends!  So thank for the tips, advice, and the community ~ as I don't believe any of these people are lost causes and should not be worked on, I believe that they are just sadly misinformed...

9:11 PM PT: 2nd Update: So, apparently my first ever diary actually made it to the rec list earlier.  I was too busy reading comments to notice. THANKS kos community ~ I really just wanted to be able to find the right words to counter voter apathy ~ so glad everyone responded!  Grateful :)

Originally posted to loveistheway on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 12:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Political Language and Messaging.

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Comment Preferences

  •  i have no idea if any of this would work: (13+ / 0-)

    does she just plan on living silently under the yoke of her oppressors, then? someone is providing government services, and in her opinion that someone is a nefarious no-gooder who has rigged the whole system so she doesn't matter....

    why is she fine with that? does taking her toys and going home gain her a win somehow?

    not voting isn't a solution. not voting is a submission. you can vote or you can genuflect, but abstaining is inaction.

    if you think your vote doesn't count, it got that way because of inaction.

    If only Michael Phelps hadn't smoked that pot...imagine what he could have accomplished with motivation and good lung capacity.

    by papa monzano on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 12:09:50 PM PDT

  •  In many ways your friend is right (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    costello7

    If you live in a red state, and you vote blue, your vote really does not matter

    If you live in a blue state, and you vote red (or blue) your vote really does not matter

    Your vote only really matters if you live in a swing state.  

    And in the whole realm of things, your vote only matters if there is not a counter vote to cancel it out.

    95% of all life forms that once existed on earth are now extinct. It is only a matter of time until the Republicans follow suit.

    by PRRedlin on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 12:11:30 PM PDT

  •  I know loads of people who don't vote (20+ / 0-)

    No vote, no voice, that's all there is to it.

    I can't believe that someone is so disillusioned that they really think their vote doesn't count.  In my view there is something else going on.

    If you don't vote, you don't have a voice, and honestly, in my opinion, if you don't voice, I really don't have any interest in engaging with you, because what's the point?  You have no dog in the race.

    I told that to someone once and they got REALLY mad at me, told me their father went to Vietnam to fight for their freedom.

    "Freedom not to vote?  That's what your dad was fighting for?"

    Yep, in their opinion that's what the Vietnam war was about.  Men died so he could stay home on election day.

    What a civics lesson...

    I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

    by coquiero on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 12:11:31 PM PDT

    •  It's immaturity, basically. We have endemic (9+ / 0-)

      immaturity plaguing this country.

      You can't make this stuff up.

      by David54 on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 12:26:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, he was super immature (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Smoh, sjburnman, twigg

        plus a narcissistic a-hole.

        Not good for a 40 year old father of two.

        I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

        by coquiero on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 12:35:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Nope - the whole meme that gov't doesn't work, (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        twigg, Eyesbright, nofear, emidesu

        all politicians are the same, and the intentional dumbing down of the public education system are all part of the same thing. It is much, much easier and cheaper to victimize uninvolved, apathetic people. It is not an accident that this propaganda is pervasive in out society, where the "rule of the cudgel" is not allowed.

        "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

        by shmuelman on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 01:13:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  exactly (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Eyesbright, coquiero, David54, nofear, emidesu

          the system is rigged in the sense that one group has convinced the other to stop trying to win.
          it's funny how similar your opponent's forfeit and your victory look in retrospect.

          so if you don't vote all i can say is thanks for helping rig it.

          If only Michael Phelps hadn't smoked that pot...imagine what he could have accomplished with motivation and good lung capacity.

          by papa monzano on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 02:38:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Not really. Having only two choices really sucks. (0+ / 0-)

        You have to eat a lot of shit to get something positive out of the binary choices the land of the free is stuck in.

        NOW SHOWING
        Progressive Candidate Obama (now - Nov 6, 2012)
        Bipartisan Obama returns (Nov 7, 2012)

        by The Dead Man on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 02:18:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We're not talking salad dressing. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          emidesu, coquiero

          or shoes.
          We're talking about exercising your responsibility to go vote in order to preserve your right to vote. The lack of choice is a direct reflection of the low voter turnout and the passivity which makes the lobbyists' job easier. The pol doesn't have to worry so much about the voter as they do the special interests with all the money.
          We the people. We are the government. If you don't like the dearth of choices it's your responsiblity to go out and change the dynamic.
          That's the way it works. That's the way it's supposed to work.

          You can't make this stuff up.

          by David54 on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 03:49:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Countries with active, educated electorates (0+ / 0-)

          aren't easily pushed around and have numerous, vital, active parties. I mean, look at Canada.

          "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

          by shmuelman on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 11:43:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  people have said to me, on this site, that past (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      coquiero, FiredUpInCA, twigg, marina

      generations died, not just for the right TO vote, but for the right NOT to.

      this in the context of a discussion of the Freedom Rides.

      and yep, they seemed serious.  I was, of course, gobsmacked and said some not nice things.  I'm sure whoever said that to me will show up in the comments, if this gets a lot of replies.

      This comment is dedicated to my mellow Adept2U and his Uncle Marcus

      by mallyroyal on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 12:51:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My husband had to escort me from the home (7+ / 0-)

        of this "friend" of ours, because I kept taunting him to register to vote.

        I wasn't being the best guest, to be sure, but when he made that comment about his daddy fighting for his freedom, I kind of went off the deep end.

        I mean, I suppose that's one way to look at it, as freedom of expression or whatever, but to be proud of the fact that you don't vote is just the ultimate childishness in my opinion.

        My actual point to the guy was, "Why do you keep arguing to me about how McCain will be a better president when you don't vote?  Why do you care?  If you don't vote you don't care, so there's no point in arguing."

        Of course, he was making the requisite "hilarious" racist jokes about Obama while he was at it.

        We're not friends anymore.

        I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

        by coquiero on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 12:58:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Hmmm... Citi or BofA? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      coquiero

      Well suppose the ballot did not read Romney and Obama or GOP and Dem, but instead read Citi or BofA?

      Who would you choose: Citi or BofA?

      Or would you perhaps feel that indeed neither candidate represented your interests, and that such a choice is not really a choice at all?

      Lots of people, when faced with the (false) choice between Citi and BofA, elect to go with a credit union.

      Maybe nofear's friend needs to hear that.

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 12:54:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  your analogy doesn't hold. (7+ / 0-)
        Lots of people, when faced with the (false) choice between Citi and BofA, elect to go with a credit union.
        if the diarist's friend was planning to vote green or something, then it would.

        as is you're analogizing someone putting their money in their mattress and complaining about the rate of return.

        This comment is dedicated to my mellow Adept2U and his Uncle Marcus

        by mallyroyal on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 01:19:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Gee, I had no idea (4+ / 0-)

        that Citibank is trying to shove a transvaginal probe up my ladyparts or take away my Medicare.

        •  Time to get informed (0+ / 0-)

          In truth, neither Citi, BofA, Halliburton, nor any other large corporate interest cares about what happens in your vagina so long as they can get your money.  If they can get your money by sticking probes in your vagina, they will; likewise, if they can get your money without probing your vagina, they will do that instead.

          But issues of contraception, reproductive freedom, gay rights, etc. become convenient ways to keep Americans fighting each other.  So long as Americans are fighting each other, they will never have time or energy to take on the corporatocracy.

          The vaginal probes keep you distracted from acting against those who are actually screwing you.  

          "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

          by Hugh Jim Bissell on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 03:07:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Tell her (21+ / 0-)

    The only way the voting process is rigged is by dissuading people like her to not vote. So by not voting she's enabling exactly what she's complaining about.

    •  thank you, good approach (5+ / 0-)

      will try this as well.  however, in her case, and some of my other friends, i feel that they think the whole voting process is now fake - i.e. one's direct vote will not actually be counted, the actual numbers are spun/generated on election night, etc.  I am not sure how to address this perception...

      ~ together we are stronger ~

      by nofear on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 12:25:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  nope, she's totally right (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        coquiero, twigg, marina, emidesu

        when her house is robbed, dont call the cops. they're all just thugs anyway.

        when it catches fire, dont call the fire department. you know they only respond fast to the higher property tax areas.

        when she gets sick, dont go to the hospital...they're just gonna give you whatever pill gave them the best free lunch last week.

        when she needs gas, dont bother filling up the car. you're just helping keep a rigged system going.

        the only thing a reasonable person can do is to curl up and wait to die. i mean, everything else is fuckin' RIGGED!

        If only Michael Phelps hadn't smoked that pot...imagine what he could have accomplished with motivation and good lung capacity.

        by papa monzano on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 01:03:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  she wants an excuse (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        coquiero, emidesu

        for inaction.

        if her reasons truly bothered her, she'd change that system, or at least scream until she was hoarse trying to change it.

        instead, she joined a facebook page so she doesn't feel alone in shirking her civic responsibility. tell her you're not carrying her water so she can feel like a victim of the mean old system.

        she can complain, or she can try. if she doesn't want to try, then i have shit to do...

        ...like vote. hope she enjoys my candidate.

        If only Michael Phelps hadn't smoked that pot...imagine what he could have accomplished with motivation and good lung capacity.

        by papa monzano on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 01:06:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Races decided by one (or a few) votes (0+ / 0-)

        I strongly suspect that Googling would provide you with quite a few cases where an election was won or lost by one (or a very few) votes.  Same applies to propositions, etc.  Her vote does make a difference.
        Meanwhile, this made me think of people I knew when I was younger who thought it was really cool to feign cynicism.  If she thinks all the cool kids say the same thing, it can be really hard to disabuse her of that pseudo-cynicism.  OTOH, it's important to try - and, you never know, if you convince her to wake up, it might spread ...

        I wish I could have her meet and talk to my niece who is working as a paid intern for Obama in Virginia.  Talk about Fired Up!!

        To stand in silence when they should be protesting makes cowards out of men. -Abraham Lincoln

        by Eyesbright on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 03:29:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  And when Republicans take away her right to choose (3+ / 0-)

      and her ability to buy contraceptives, it will be too late then for her to decide that voting matters.

      •  well (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Quantumlogic

        hopefully one of her several children will survive long enough to fight for suffrage again.

        and then maybe their children will continue to value it, instead of throwing it away like she did.

        If only Michael Phelps hadn't smoked that pot...imagine what he could have accomplished with motivation and good lung capacity.

        by papa monzano on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 02:40:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Does she live in a swing State? (7+ / 0-)

    I sometimes think that my vote in very blue CA is a joke. But I do it anyway because it's my responsibility as a citizen. It's what citizens do. We have been turned into consumers in the last 30 years or so. Time to turn it around, one citizen at a time.

    For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

    by Anne Elk on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 12:14:15 PM PDT

  •  That is exactly what most conservatives prefer (14+ / 0-)

    - that intelligent people won't vote.

    It especially works in those years when neither choice is ideologically aligned with their own belief system. Tell her that her non-vote just allowed the most conservative of the conservative to win, hands down, with no fight. Of course they'll continue to take more when elections work that way and our government will continue to slide to the right. She is helping make a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    If that doesn't work, tell her your friend on DKos is a military wife and asks her to vote if only to prevent the war hawks from sending my husband into another senseless war.

  •  Just ask her (10+ / 0-)

    if she thinks the candidates are "the same." If she says yes, then point out the differences, particularly the long-reaching changes, like repeal of DADT and the Supreme Court.

    Then simply explain that she's doing exactly what the candidate in that equation who is least aligned with her worldview WANTS her to do.

    And then don't worry too much - this is not a new phenomenon, particularly among the young. in fact,t he young people of today are far more engaged and informed than they were when I was in college in the late 70's.

    •  this is a helpful distinction (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Quicklund

      I suppose I am curious to see if she thinks the candidates are essentially the same, and is therefore apathetic about her choice, or if she thinks her vote does not matter because the system is rigged with a pre-ordained outcome.  good idea.

      ~ together we are stronger ~

      by nofear on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 12:20:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here's an argument: (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Quantumlogic, coquiero, nofear, Smoh

    If she had been on the fence about participating in the March on Washington in 1963--not because she didn't believe in the cause but because she wasn't convinced that her presence out of hundreds of thousands would have made a difference--

    Would she have stayed home?

    I would hope not.

  •  Ah, I see what you did there (7+ / 0-)

    Drew us in to the diary to help draw out your friend and others like her.

    Hmmm.  I can empathize with the feeling of despair, that nothing is really changing, both parties are slaves to corporations, etc.  But, let's look at the record:

    - Based on his stated positions, which, admittedly are those of a senator growing more irrelevant by the day and might be different if in power, under President McCain, we'd still be in Iraq, and would likely be at war with Iran, Syria and North Korea today. Ask our military men and women if that is a real difference.

    - We have Obamacare.  Ask the parents that have children with pre-existing conditions if that is a real difference. Ask those whose recent college graduates have health care.

    - DADT is ended. Ask LGBT military if that is a real difference.

    - Ask the 1 million people whose jobs were saved at GM, Chrysler, and ancillary businesses to the US auto industry if there is a real difference.

    - Ask the hundreds of thousands of undocumented Dreamers who have known naught but the United States all their lives, who strive to achieve here in this country, if there is a real difference.

    I could go on, but you get the picture. There are real people whose lives are significantly better today under President Obama than under a President McCain.

    I get it - many of us are not where we'd like to be in life, the 1% have all but killed the American Dream for the  middle class. But there is a real difference, and I hope your friend will realize it and vote Democratic this November. We are all counting on her to make a difference, as surely as President Obama has.

    Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

    by absdoggy on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 12:18:59 PM PDT

  •  I agree with her but I'll vote (7+ / 0-)

    even if the system is rigged, I'll vote.

    If it's rigged and I don't vote the outcome is already determined.

    If it's rigged and I do vote then the outcome is the same.

    It's a personal choice. Maybe the social aspect of voting is entertaining, in which case she might as well vote.

    If you mean how can you convince her it's not rigged...well, good luck with that.

    oh, another thing...I don't believe the local elections are as rigged. There are always local issues that need our attention and votes.

  •  If the vote wasn't important, the gop wouldn't (16+ / 0-)

    have gone all out to suppress the vote, and the Dems wouldn't have gone all out to protect the vote.

    That in itself should clue people as to the importance of the right and responsibility to vote.

    Petulant, immature people aren't going to see their vote associated with getting what they want when they want it.

    Voting is for adults. It's a responsiblity, not a privilege. It doesn't have anything to do with "getting" something.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 12:23:16 PM PDT

  •  I agree with her -- nationally. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shahryar

    Big Business will win no matter who is in the WH.  All the important wins will still be theirs -- be it lack of prosecution or taxpayer money giveaways.

    But local/state races are not as corrupted by money and they are still relevant to the democratic process.  She should at minimum vote for local races.  There are plenty of wannabe cretins running for school boards, sheriff and judges that she can still make a real difference in her community by keeping them out of public "service" (and thus derailing any national aspirations).

    And don't push the democratic party too much.  They're a mixed bag of angels and a lot of devils; pushing partisanship is a turn off.  Just steer her away from Republicans and libertarians; they're only out for themselves.  Don't get mad if she prefers to vote Green and for Jill Stein.

    NOW SHOWING
    Progressive Candidate Obama (now - Nov 6, 2012)
    Bipartisan Obama returns (Nov 7, 2012)

    by The Dead Man on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 12:25:42 PM PDT

  •  Did your friend vote for Gore in 2000? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, CoyoteMarti

    My daughter, who somehow grew up being apolitical (not MY fault), always refused to vote (she claimed her one little vote didn't really count).  I just kept talking about responsibility, and didn't she want a say in how things would be for her children, and how not voting didn't get across her pov to anyone.

    In 2000 I finally convinced her to vote, she voted for Al Gore, and we all know how that turned out.  Now she points her finger at me and practically yells "Don't you dare start on me about that crap."  

    But this year she might vote.  She climbs mountains; has a few 14ers under her crampons; she is angry at Paul Rayn.  Now it is personal.

    Can you make it personal for your friend?  Get her to listen to the entire Rmoney fund raising tape because she is sure to hear something bad about herself.    

    "May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house." - George Carlin

    by Most Awesome Nana on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 12:25:46 PM PDT

  •  I'm terrible at this sort of conversation because (10+ / 0-)

    it induces rage in me.  I'm the son of a Freedom Rider.  I wanna punch people in the face, LITERALLY, when they say things like that to me.

    I guess, after I swallowed and counted to ten, I'd ask that person if they know how their own state's electoral votes are counted.

    almost invariably the answer will come back "no" and I'll struggle not to roll my eyes at the ignorance, while counting to twenty.

    then, depending on their state, I'll explain how popular vote actually does come into play.

    This comment is dedicated to my mellow Adept2U and his Uncle Marcus

    by mallyroyal on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 12:26:40 PM PDT

  •  I have seen posts from this page on my feed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Quantumlogic, FiredUpInCA

    as well, and the people posting them have decided to swallow the bitter poison that is Mitt Rmoney just so they can say they didnt vote for the black guy.  

    To that end, it truly does depend on why they are not voting for Obama or not at all.  Case in point above, a lifelong Democrat who is suddenly a "libertarian" but will now vote for Rmoney.

    Personally, if they arent voting for Obama, I wouldnt waste my time trying to "reach" them.

    Reach for the sky, Touch the sky, Revive a hope, For Mankind!

    by Greatwyrm on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 12:27:50 PM PDT

  •  Maybe Start With Local Races. She Has Considerable (6+ / 0-)

    ability to influence school board, town council, county offices, judges etc. that impact her own community.

    Another point would be that Obama won in 2008; it wouldn't have taken much rigging to give it to McCain if we'd had it.

    The biggest vote rigging going on is in public, it's voter suppression with these id rules and limits on early & absentee voting. Since Republicans are going to so much public trouble to keep people from voting, her sitting out is giving them exactly what they want.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 12:29:24 PM PDT

  •  Anyone who does not vote, is voting for what... (5+ / 0-)

    they oppose.

    Every vote cast can only be cancelled by two votes.  One to nullify the vote against and one to break the tie.

    If you don't vote, there is no nullification needed. One vote is all that will be needed to win.

    Any progressive who doesn't vote Democratic is actually indirectly voting FOR the Republicans.

    Tax and Spend I can understand. I can even understand Borrow and Spend. But Borrow and give Billionaires tax cuts? That I have a problem with.

    by LiberalCanuck on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 12:35:05 PM PDT

  •  Ah, she belongs to the Cynical Party now. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Quantumlogic, Quicklund, Catte Nappe

    I frequently make the following observation: 250 years ago the idea that anyone could directly vote for their leaders must have seemed nothing short of a miracle. And today all we can do it bitch about it.

    You can call it "class warfare" -- we call it "common sense"

    by kenlac on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 12:40:18 PM PDT

    •  Actually (0+ / 0-)

      Few people could vote in the early days of the U.S. That was reserved for white men with property. After eliminating women, African Americans, Indians, and white men lacking real estate, few were left who could actually vote.

      And even with these few, the vote didn't give them any real control of their lives, since in representative democracy the representatives are not bound to any promises made, and can do as they please.

      "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act". -George Orwell

      by ZhenRen on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 01:01:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I should have said "someone" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Catte Nappe, doroma

        You are correct, but the point I was trying to make was that the very idea anyone (even if it was limited) could have a direct say in how their government worked -- as opposed to simply being a subject of royalty -- was a breakthrough.

        Now the franchise has been increased, the system is more responsive to the people than it was when it was created, and yet a large percentage of people choose to take it for granted, or even throw it away. Such a luxurious world we live in.

        You can call it "class warfare" -- we call it "common sense"

        by kenlac on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 01:17:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Why Voting Matters Wherever You Are (5+ / 0-)

    Here is what i tell my friends who say their votes don't  count because of where they are located, either in DC, or in a  red or blue state. Yes, the electoral college matters, but as we all  know, what also matters is the perception generated by the percentage of vote received in the popular count. If President Obama wins with 50.1 percent of the popular vote, he will have  "no mandate"  according to the pundits, but if he wins with 54% of the popular vote or more,  the story is much different. That is why  your vote counts no matter where you are.

  •  Tell her, fine, don't vote. But from then on, (6+ / 0-)

    she has no legitimate grounds to complain about about any political party, candidate, or issue. And you won't listen to her if she does.

    In other words - if you don't, you don't get to bitch!

    And some people live for their chance to bitch ;)

  •  Not voting has been tried - repeatedly (7+ / 0-)

    You friend is exactly 180 degrees out of phase with logic. By not voting, she does surrender to the "does not matter" bullshit. Because when millions do not vote, a small core group of fanatics can swing elections.  See the $%@#$$ $%#$$%# Tea Party for an example.

    But if we had full voter participation, then those fanatical core groups would be drops in the bucket. Politicans would find it harder to rig elections so they would have to produce saner policies and campaigns. There would be little pandering to the base and a lot of competition for the huge swing vote proportion.

    She sees a problem in American voting and chooses the course to make it worse. America has had countless experience with voter apathy. How about we try something different for awhile?

    Tough love time.

  •  I always vote, but one February I chose (13+ / 0-)

    Not to help get out the vote for a local school levy, thinking it would surely pass.  The levy failed by 14 votes and one of the programs that my two daughters participated in was canceled due to lack of funds.  I spent at least a thousand hours over the next year raising funds for and leading a fighting to restore that program, and was finally successful.  But it sure would have been big bunches easier to make a few calls, talk to a few neighbors, and try to change 8 minds ahead of election day.

    Each vote does matter, and our get out the vote efforts matter.  Apathy sucks.

    We're ALL better off when we're ALL better off!

    by susanWAstate on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 12:59:20 PM PDT

  •  My advice - let her go, and take that same energy (0+ / 0-)

    you'd expend on trying to persuade her, expend it somewhere else more wisely.  Last campaign cycle, one day an acquaintance angered me so much I sent Obama another $300.

  •  I tell them "at least make them work for their (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    papa monzano

    jobs." Of course, it doesn't work. You can point out however that there is a reason that $1billion ++ is spent on advertising for  presidential run, so there must be something about it.

    "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

    by shmuelman on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 01:08:44 PM PDT

  •  If you don't vote you don't get to complain (2+ / 0-)

    about what the winner does.

  •  First of all if you do not vote you have still (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marina, nofear

    made a choice. You have decided you do not care. Voter participation has been down since Watergate and cynicism reigns supreme. People find issues hard to follow and are fed high calorie low content news. Lots of celebrities and "features" about health and lifestyle, little or nothing about public policy. Politics is reported as if it were sports. Who is ahead today, who is behind. Because of the nature of the political debate over health care reform very few people know what is in it. That is because there was practically no policy discussion. There is a big difference between politics and policy and our news media really only presents politics. No wonder people get disgusted and drop out of the system.

    Low voter turn out tends to help Republicans so they are fans of the status quo. The conservative wing of our party is not complaining either because they do not get held accountable by the rest of us. If people really understood what was happening they might demand real change. And the only ones who want that are progressives. And we control nothing, not even our own party.

    When I was in school in the 60s we were taught citizenship and rights and duties and obligations and civic engagement. There is no budget for that in schools now. Our cynicism has driven away our sense of civic engagement. There was in the 50s a movie made for TV that discussed why you needed to take an active role in your union. Go to meetings and vote and participate. Or the commies win. Could you imagine that today?

    GW Bush failed when on 9/12/01 he did not call for a re dedication to public service and public spirited-ness. His solution was "hand a flag and shop until you drop" What if out of that tragedy a dedication to being a good citizen and an informed voter was a positive outcome. It did not happen because the leadership either did not care or really did not want that re dedication.

  •  There's a lot of stuff on the ballot besides Obama (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marina, nofear

    And it is those down ballot votes that are going to make the biggest difference anyway. If she bails on that she's basically rolling over and making sure she doesn't matter, setting herself up to be a victim after all. And if she's going into the booth to vote for dog catcher, board of ed, county commission, and whatever else is on her ballot; she might as well take the extra 2 seconds to weigh in on which of the Presidential candidates she thinks is the better one.

    I might add, too, that voting makes less of a difference than it might because so few do it. Look at the polls that clearly show massive support for certain policies, but not enough people vote for candidate to give them the mandate to enact such policies. I'm pretty sure Obama would have taken some stronger progressive stands if he'd been elected in a landslide and had unbeatable majorities in house and senate. Not enough folks went to the polls to gve that message.

    "Romney has proved himself right: We manifestly do have a problem with people who see themselves as victims even as they benefit from loopholes in the tax code. One is running for president." Kristof

    by Catte Nappe on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 01:37:38 PM PDT

  •  I don't know your friend, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nofear

    but if I was you I'd be tempted to tell her that by not voting she's guaranteeing that she makes absolutely no difference in the election.

    The election system we have is what it is, for the foreseeable future. If she chooses not to participate in it the only one she can blame for outcomes she doesn't like is herself and people like her who don't vote.

  •  is there ONE issue that will fire her up? (4+ / 0-)

    for a woman i would say 'reproductive choice' hands down... it is unfathomable to me  that a young woman would ignore how screwed she will soon be with Republican legislatures drafting legislation on these issues.
    how does it matter...Judges  are appointed by  the party in power, legislation..she is losing here rights to get objective safe, affordable choices when it comes to contraception family planning, etc

    on that issue alone she should get over herself and go vote for her own REAL interests and the rights of modern women

  •  i think she is BS ing you with her answer (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    papa monzano

    , otherwise why wouldn't she just declare 'I am no voting for anyone" ?
    rather than
    'I am not voting for Obama'

    ask her if she will  like a 'i am not voting for romney' group...

    maybe there is some peer pressure at work on her

    •  total BS. (0+ / 0-)

      her excuses are BS, for sure.

      she wants to write off her civic responsibility and not feel bad about doing so. saying the game is unfair is a good way to not have to play.

      "i'm a shitty citizen who just likes to whine" didn't get as many likes, so someone started the "i'm not voting because it's rigged" group.

      If only Michael Phelps hadn't smoked that pot...imagine what he could have accomplished with motivation and good lung capacity.

      by papa monzano on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 02:44:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Laws are going to be made (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nofear

    With or without the potential voter's input.
    Do they really not want to participate in creating a reality they WILL inevitably have to live in?

    •  participation and reality (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marina, nofear

      yes.

      someone else is dreaming a new world tonight, and she wont even shut her eyes and try to imagine. hope she likes someone else's dream.

      If only Michael Phelps hadn't smoked that pot...imagine what he could have accomplished with motivation and good lung capacity.

      by papa monzano on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 02:46:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I wish your friend could read the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marina

    OLB and other diaries that came out of the WI recall. A great lesson on step-by-step. Didn't get Walker totally recalled, but yanked back the state senate to stop the bleeding, and has set the grassroots on fire for November. You can't tell those millions of WI voters that it doesn't matter. I do hope you give it a shot with her. And find out when early voting is for her, call her a couple days before, nudge, nudge in a loving way. If you get her back engaged she may stay for years; well worth your efforts!

    Rhubarb is a metaphor for finding happiness in your own back yard.

    by CoyoteMarti on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 03:01:58 PM PDT

  •  Deep secret: the system allows voting AGAINST (3+ / 0-)

    So if there's nobody you feel like voting FOR, try to find somebody to vote AGAINST.

    Even if you have to write in "NONE OF THE ABOVE".

    (If enough people did that, somebody would get the message!)

    If it's
    Not your body,
    Then it's
    Not your choice
    And it's
    None of your damn business!

    by TheOtherMaven on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 03:59:00 PM PDT

  •  Why should we vote at all when it can be hacked? (0+ / 0-)

    And has been, although America can't admit it.

    ps- I am planning to vote, and I consider it my civic duty to help hand-count the votes, even for the smaller primaries, not just the Big Day election. It is the only way I know to try to keep some faith in this system. It's also as simple as dealing out cards at a poker game, interesting, and can be fun. I recommend it. And when every corner and column adds up I can walk away knowing that no matter how many times it gets re-counted, our answers will always be exactly the same because every single overvote, undervote, wierd write-in etc. has been accounted for. Our town has a voter roll of approx. 2800 people and for the Obama election 2500 of them showed up!

    So I am not trying to discourage people, I just really need a good answer to that question, because in a national election, corruption in one place affects us all. And the day my town votes even for optical machines I'm gonna hafta give up.

    "Had we gone the invasion route, the US could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land." -- George H. W. Bush, "A World Transformed," 1998 memoir (explaining why the US did not occupy Iraq in the 1991 "Desert Storm" war)

    by nuclear winter solstice on Thu Sep 20, 2012 at 04:45:48 PM PDT

  •  the people i know who say they are sitting out (0+ / 0-)

    are in  2 categories.

        Some of them always insist BOTH parties are horrible, BOTH tell lies, etc. etc.  these people are really going to vote Republican, but are pretending to be disgusted with everybody. why?
       They are trying to spread  malaise and spread it thick enough and deep enough that i too will become infected with enough malaise and cynicism that i will not vote.
    It is  the equivalent of a concern troll move. They know they will never convince me to vote for Republicans, so they just hope i won't vote at all.  
         What they don't understand is how  transparent they are. Perhaps i understand this because ,on occasion back in the Bush days, I did the same thing. LOL.

    Of COURSE no candidate is perfect, all parties are flawed. i'm flawed too, and so are you,  mr. and ms. pristine.

    the second category  have  what I call, especially at this point in the campaign, ... an oppositional disorder.  maybe just a need for attention?  A few are  just plain arrogant  elitists who will never be satisfied with any candidate and who will use that to avoid voting even based on some important issues.

    One friend of mine has just decided, today, that she will only vote for green party andidates. Right. How many districts and races have valid green party candidates?  my advice to those like her is work your heart out for the green party and get some qualified candidates on the ballot. it will not be next year or the year after, but start now if that is what you believe. but punting on all the issues  by not voting is just plain  disgusting.

    one friend of mine is still posting about all of the connections Obama has with big money.  Fuck that. vote.

  •  I saw the same sentiment tweeted (0+ / 0-)

    by someone associated with occupy wall st. that really turned me off ows.

    "As goes OHIO so goes the nation." Flyover country my ass, you get reminded every four years how important we are.

    by glbTVET on Sat Sep 22, 2012 at 02:41:21 AM PDT

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