If I hear one more arrogant liberal on Twitter say they are not going to vote, as an act of protest, I am going to smear blue stamp pad ink on their nose. Really, I mean it. I will fwap them with my registered voter card and hang them by their chads.
First of all, in the context of our 2012 democratic process today, right now, it is not a protest! It is a way to get out of being responsible for having mixed feelings for Obama and the democratic process. And who doesn't?! But grow up! Be an activist! Work to get Senators in office that you love. Hell, RUN for office if you like. But this is just totally insane and dangerous.
And it genuinely pisses me off if for no other reason than that women and African Americans couldn't vote at one time in the veeeeery recent past. There is absolutely no way you can convince me it is stronger to not vote now.
And just as importantly, it's offensive because I picture citizens of other countries walking for a full day and standing in line for ten hours just to vote. And then holding up that beautiful blue thumb for the international cameras, beaming from ear to ear. They may go home and find their house burned to the ground, or that family members have been beaten or raped or killed because they went out to vote. Theirs is an act of protest. Not voting in our election is, in the context of 2012 America, kinda bullshit.
I understand the need for vote-abstaining protests (a kind of Lysistrata of voting, only you can, well, still have all the sex you want which could unexpectedly keep the masses happy though, creating a decline in anger-driven activism, so maybe that's not a good plan...) In South Africa, the "No Land! No House! No Vote!" campaign started in 2004 was a strong movement based on the argument that the poor were not represented and therefore a huge outpouring of committed non-voters could get some attention and make a difference.
And even if there was a way to do it in some kind of wonderful guerrilla theater near the polls (perhaps a flash-mob type thing where thousands of people stand there naked, painted red, white and blue with duct tape on their mouths and strategically placed corporate brand label stickers -- yes, a bitch to take off later, but that's commitment, people!), there's no good way to really count how many people Didn't Vote In Protest and how many are just lame-ass, apathetic bums. (Did I just use the word bums? What am I, my grandfather?) So really there is no great statement being made. If you were a Senator and you walked out on a vote, that would be one thing -- people would see it and the vote tallies would say "abstained," etc. But this?
This is like saying, "I don't really want to go on a date with you, but would you bring the dinner home in a doggie bag and drop it off at my house in case there was anything in it I might like? Thanks."
Or, "I don't really like you enough to sleep with you, but I'll check back later and see if you still have a nice ass after a year later and I'll think about it..."
I admit I am partial to the Australia system. Voting is mandatory with a small fine for not voting, but you can still go in and rip it up or draw a large penis on it. Your call. Lovely! Perfect! Wow -- what would be the result of that kind of election in November, I wonder. (Possibly a dick as president, but, I mean, we've had that before, so...)
Look, seriously, this is America. Like it or not, we vote for the best option available -- that's what we do. Because otherwise we end up with the worst.
And let me just say that if Romney does win this thing, you do have to take responsibility for that. Sorry. And then I'm coming to your house to get my equal pay, hospital visitation for my gay friends, my health insurance, some goddamned ice for the polar bears, and my free pap smear. Deal?
Follow Katie Goodman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/katiegoodman