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Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014

A Fearful Master

Posted Thursday, October 30, 2008, at 3:17 PM

Someone recently told me they can't imagine why some people don't vote in the upcoming election and suggested they should move to another country. Apparently, the lack of an imagination causes the brain to swell with self-righteousness. There are multitudes of factors, imagined or otherwise, why certain people don't vote.

The Rigged-System Factor. There is a valid perception by some that the two major political parties have rigged the system to benefit themselves and exclude opposition, and that politicians are in bed with corporate interests. These people have too much integrity to participate in a rigged system, thereby giving it legitimacy.

The Between-Rock-and-a-Hard-Place Factor. These people are convinced the country is in a big mess and don't like it. Since they believe the Democrats and Republicans have perpetrated this mess, they're not going to vote for either of them and see no alternative other than banging their heads against the wall.

The Lack-of-Interest Factor. Some people just don't pay attention to national politics. They feel they have better things to do than concern themselves with such trivial matters. It's not their problem.

The Lazy Factor. Lots of folks are concerned about politics but don't want to take the time and effort required to register to vote, then later transport themselves to a polling place and stand in a long line with strangers for a lengthy stretch of time just to cast a vote. They'd rather stay home and let everyone else do all the work.

The Unanticipated-Unavailability Factor. Sometimes an event, such as an illness or unanticipated travel or a family tragedy or relocating to another area or whatever, makes it difficult or impossible to vote.

The Insignificance factor. These people realize they are tiny cogs in a gigantic system. They assume their participation is futile and are resigned to be subservient to whatever is inflicted upon them by external forces.

The Non-Vote-is-a-Vote Factor: This group does not like the system and/or does not like any of the choices offered. Their act of not voting is an act of defiance, in essence a statement against the system and/or all candidates. Their wish is that no one votes thereby sending a message to the politicians to fix the broken system.

The Ignorance-is-Bliss Factor. Many people view government as a distraction in their lives. They don't want to know it even exists. From their point of view, their lives will go on pretty much as before and don't see any reason to upset the equilibrium of their existence. If you ignore it, it will go away.

The Generation-Gap Factor: There are those who only trust others within their generational bracket. Some older people don't want to be ruled by young fools and some younger people don't want to be ruled by old farts. If there are no candidates within their age peer group, they will not participate.

The Cancellation Factor. When two people, such as a husband and wife, intend to vote for "opposite" candidates, they come to an agreement whereby neither one votes. Since one of their votes would automatically cancel out the other vote, it makes perfect sense to them to mutually avoid the process.

The Evil-Government Factor. H. L. Mencken once wrote, "I believe that all government is evil, and that trying to improve it is largely a waste of time." Many others feel the same way. Anyone who believes government is inherently evil is certainly not going to participate in the process of selecting someone to oversee the evil.

The Mathematically-Irrelevant Factor. To a person who is mathematically inclined, casting a single vote in an election involving 120 million participants seems like folly. The odds of a single vote making a difference are about the same as the odds of flapping your arms and flying across the Atlantic Ocean, against the wind.

The Anti-Authority Factor. Some people simply have a problem with authority. They were probably spoiled or tormented by their parents when they were young and don't like to be supervised. They're not going to vote for a leader because they don't want to be led. Our prisons are filled with them. The real world is filled with them too.

The Lesser-of-Two-Evils Factor. There are those who strongly dislike the two major alternatives. Democrats want to tax us to death in order to control us from cradle to grave and redistribute wealth. Republicans want to tax us to death in order to police the world and feed the greed. Both are costly, excessive big-government alternatives. Those who want it significantly scaled back have no options except to vote for the lesser of two evils or not at all. And since voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for an evil, many choose not to participate.

The Casual-Vote Factor: Some people are either ignorant of the issues or don't give a damn. That's fine too. An uninformed or casual vote is worse than no vote at all.

Don't malign someone for not participating in a system they deem as unfair or corrupt or irrelevant or repugnant or whatever. Many of them have what they considered to be valid reasons for not being involved. If so, it's their civic duty not to vote.

In this perilous world, there are tyrannical dictatorships or communistic strangleholds in certain countries where there is no vote. Plus, there are other countries where you're required to vote, sometimes with only one candidate on the ballot. These options aren't really options -- they're prison camps with borders.

In America, you have a right to vote and a right not to vote.

The human race is imperfect, all governments are flawed, the lack of government leads to chaos and excessive government leads to servitude.

Humanity is a work in progress. We're all in this together. But that doesn't mean we all think alike.

And the sun will rise in the East again tomorrow.

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Quote for the Day -- "Government is not reason. It is a force. And, like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." George Washington

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Boldly Going Nowhere
Bret Burquest
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Bret Burquest is a former award-winning columnist for The News (2001-2007) and author of four novels. He has lived in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, Kansas City, Memphis and the middle of the Arizona desert. After a life of blood, sweat and tears in big cities, he has finally found peace in northern Arkansas where he grows tomatoes, watches sunsets and occasionally shares the Secrets of the Universe (and beyond) with the rest of the world.
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