A Call to Action against Citizen Apathy

In this call to action, Dan Maguire argues that non-voters and “vote-and-run” citizens are enabling vicious agendas to be carried out.

By Dan Maguire

In Donald Trump’s so-called Electoral College triumph – which, a year into his presidency, he still cannot resist bragging about – he received votes from fewer than 25 percent of eligible voters.

That indicting statistic points to two kinds of citizen depravity: (1) citizens who do not vote, who cravenly surrender their power to those who do vote.  Voting is an act of social justice, a citizen’s minimal duty to the common good. Those who don’t vote are therefore unjust, immoral, and only half alive. (2) Vote-and-run citizens.  These citizens make the little effort to vote, and then drop dead politically.  No follow up.  No participation.  Pop the bubbly when Obama wins, and then hang him out to dry.

Voting without follow-up participation in politics is a symbolic, feel-good activity.  The predatory one percent have nothing to fear from vote-and-run citizens.

The old Roman Juvenal said that all that is needed to sucker the people into passivity is “bread and circus.”  Pizza, beer, and football for some: latte, escargot and golf for others.  All good things in their place as long as you are staying morally alive, i.e. a citizen in motion.

“OK, so what am I to do!!” A fair question.

If you are not morally defunct, some issues engage you.  Decide on three, or four, or five issues and there are a plethora of fully and delightfully alive citizen groups who will tell you basic good things you can do. Groups such as MoveOn, Code Pink, Ultraviolet, Jewish Voice for Peace, Greenpeace, League of Women’s Voters, National Coalition on Health Care, Black Lives Matter, Black Student Movement, Sierra Club, and many more. They are as close as your smart phone or your dumb phone.

Contact them and feel the elixir that comes when hope and action kiss.

Put some alternate press into your reading diet to prevent intellectual anemia.  The “mainstream press” get locked into occlusive, self-interested, semi-blind orthodoxies.

Non-voters and vote-and-run voters have no complaining rights. The current form of the Republican Party is totally and sordidly corrupt, unlike earlier Republicans who fought slavery, created national parks, supported women’s reproductive rights, and supported union rights in places like Wisconsin.

Inactive citizens underwrite the Republicans’ vicious agenda as these mean-spirited folks take food stamps and health care from poor kids and their parents, give tax breaks to fat cats, stupidly prefer kill-power to diplomacy, and ignore climate disasters even as these disasters are right now crashing around us and around the world.  Don’t complain, non-voters and vote-and-run voters.  You’re complicit with the “Republican base.”

There is something despicable about non-voting and vote-and-run citizens.  The Book of Revelations trashes their ilk in language our bravest pundits would timidly eschew:

“I know all your ways; you are neither hot nor cold!  How I wish you were either hot or cold!  But because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of my mouth… In fact, though you do not know it, you are the most pitiful wretches, poor, blind, and naked.” (3:15-17)

Overblown rhetoric?  Histrionic overkill? Not when guilty inertia underwrites well advanced ecological suicide and the trashing of the poor by the rich in gorge mode.

Do you want to hear some really strong language? Here it is: we get the government we deserve.  Now that is really strong language.

Dan Maguire is Professor of Theology at Marquette University.

 

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72 comments for “A Call to Action against Citizen Apathy

  1. anselm sequeira
    February 2, 2018 at 20:12

    Instead of finding fault with ordinary citizens, the professor need to address the dirty deceitful politics of Catholic bishops in this country.
    I have been told that I am “not a Catholic, if I support Hillary”. I have been informed that if I voted for Hillary it means that I “support taking innocent life”. One of my friends who is a recent convert was told that she would “face damnation” if she voted for Hillary.
    This is from ordinary people who go to church everyday. Where are they getting these ideas from?
    From priests, with the support of bishops who falsely claim that voting for anyone who would allow medical termination of pregnancy is “cooperating in evil”. The destruction of Iraq, killing Black Americans, all of this is okay because abortion and abortion alone is the “taking of innocent life”.

  2. February 1, 2018 at 15:28

    It seems that most folks I talk with are waiting around for the dems to do something. WHY? It should be obvious by now that dem leadership stands for nothing, fights for nothing, and is openly sabotaging progressive candidates, just like they did in the primaries when they rigged them to shut out Bernie. These corporate sell-outs are maybe slightly better than trump and the other gop tools, and that’s not saying much!

    Look, this is nuts! In western European countries, among others, there are a number of political parties on the ballot, and everyone gets a fair shake at running for office. Campaigns are short, publicly funded, and everyone gets the same air time. So billionaires and well-funded industries can’t buy elections and candidates, like they do here. We have the LEAST democratic country of the developed world, and our elections are a sad, corrupt joke, like our two main political parties.

    Let’s figure out what we need to do to stop the D&Rs from keeping any other candidates out of debates and off the ballots, and seriously work at developing a alternative party or at least an alternative candidate. Some people say that it can’t work without public campaign financing, and maybe that’s true, but it’s worth a try. We haven’t tried a genuine totally ground-up unified effort before.

    If we could actually find some unity for a change, get behind a progressive candidate and promote that candidate through the word of mouth, social media, house parties, handing out materials in public places, etc., then we could, if need be, WRITE IN THAT CANDIDATE on the ballot. It’s an option in most states. Again this would take some real unity, and a lot of personal effort. If nothing else, it would shake up the system seriously IF enough Americans would do it. Even a serious attempt would generate awareness and publicity.

    Clearly we need to do something very different – allowing ourselves to be trapped by this duopoly over and over is insane. Trying to discern and make oneself vote for the “lesser of two evils” is insane.

    The dim leadership as it currently stands is going to keep running candidates like Clinton. They have stated as much. Candidates who will keep the wars goings, keep the tax breaks for the wealthy going, oppose Medicare for all, keep refusing to fight for working people, etc. So 2020 is going to be just like 2016, unless WE choose to get off our butts and DO something other than bitch on comment boards and social media. We HAVE TO RISK trying something ELSE, or we will have trump again or someone almost as bad.

    If you think this idea sucks, that’s fine – help think of something else! Abdicating our responsibility as a citizen and just staying home is a gutless cop-out. It’s not “making a statement”, you’re just letting someone else choose, and the righties don’t stay home.

    Besides, this planet can’t afford any more delusional people making statements.

  3. RandyM
    February 1, 2018 at 11:29

    I’m not against voting and getting politically active, but I don’t see how anyone can still believe that this ship of state can be turned around. The United States has a thousand military installations around the world. It has soldiers in most countries. America’s defense and intelligence budget is a trillion dollars a year and has bipartisan support. Huge banks and financial institutions run the U.S. economy. Tremendous power and wealth is concentrated in few hands. Do you think that any of that power and wealth will be relinquished without a lot of spilled blood? No one’s going to change that reality by voting or contributing to MoveOn. The good but horrible news is that our empire will eventually crack-up. Are we ready for that? Maybe we need to spend our time and energy preparing our communities for the aftermath. I haven’t even mentioned climate change. The planet doesn’t care about human economic and political problems.

  4. February 1, 2018 at 09:37

    Besides the obvious partisan perspective of the author, I think the argument presented here is completely backwards. Of course, this viewpoint is completely based upon a somewhat diametrically-opposed schema/paradigm/worldview regarding the political system. If one holds the notion, as this author appears to, that politicians and the system they ‘represent’ are potentially a positive social service meant to correct and mitigate the injustices and problems that arise from time to time in a society, then I can understand the idea that not voting (i.e. enabling and encouraging the status quo system) is fundamentally wrong and unhelpful to ‘progress’. However, if one tends to believe that the system is one that is used by the rich, powerful, and influential members of a society for more nefarious purposes (e.g. maintaining control over the fundamental resources and wealth of a nation, and its people), then voting is an activity that simply supports the carte blanche abuse by the ruling caste of society to continue.
    I believe it’s also a mistake to believe that changing the chess pieces changes the game. The system protects itself regardless of the ‘side’ that wins.

  5. February 1, 2018 at 05:28

    Thanks Dan, I agree with all you said but one thing you may not know about is the hypocritical actions of some of the so called environmental groups that wont say a word about the most damage done to the environment by the meat industry! This is the most methane producing,ecocidal business on the planet and these groups are being funded by this same industry? Look at Chris Hedges interview on his program, on contact, with the people who know about this and are reporting it. That said, you are one of my heroes and a truth teller. Do take a look at the interview as I did and was shocked about what I learned. Thanks again, Friend, Jack.

    • February 1, 2018 at 17:45

      “Everybody wants to change the world but nobody wants to change.” -Leo Tolstoy

  6. Zachary Smith
    January 31, 2018 at 21:01

    I cannot recall reading a Consortium News essay as obnoxious and insulting as this one. It makes me very glad that I’m not a student of Mr. Daniel C. Maguire, for it’s obvious he would tolerate no dissent whatever an any stance he had taken regarding any particular issue.

    So in this case, I call on the aggressively certain author to disclose and defend his 2016 Presidential Vote in terms of morality, decency, and all that.

    If he is unwilling or unable to do this, then I suggest he is a craven, pitiful, and despicable character himself.

    • February 1, 2018 at 05:44

      I don’t know what troll organization you are connected with but it is plain that you do not know Dan McGuire at all and you are putting words in his mouth that he did not say! As I stated, he is saying to get involved and stay involved, informed all the time. He never suggested voting for the two parties at all and he is right about getting the Government we deserve because we do not get involved or stay involved with the process. Vote for the Green party or some other.

      • RP
        February 1, 2018 at 13:25

        How do we convince people to abandon this attitude that only the two big parties can win? If you voted Green, then no doubt you were told you wasted your vote. No doubt people argued that Green could never win and therefore they would vote Democrat or Republican, all the while preaching that your vote was thrown away. At least that has been my experience. To me that seems like a self fulfilling prophecy, but people continue to cling to it. Although I would not be surprised to find that any candidate sent to Washington will be bullied and bribed into cimpliance, I will always vote and be involved in meaningful advocacy. I will at least cling to hope, and yes I realize it might be false hope.

      • Zachary Smith
        February 1, 2018 at 13:32

        I clicked on the link name of the tireless defender of the offensive essay author and this message popped up on my screen:

        You are about to log in to the site “att.net” with the username “jwandwa”, but the website does not require authentication. This may be an attempt to trick you.

        Is “att.net” the site you want to visit?

        And he has the nerve to speak of ‘trolls’.

        As a matter of fact I toned down my initial remarks about the Professor of Theology and decided to use his very own words.

        craven pitiful despicable

        My own choices would have been considerably more pungent. If “Jack Williams” is correct in his personal interpretation of the piece, then Mr. Maguire needs to enroll in English 101 at his university to learn how to express/transmit his actual beliefs.

        Until the Professor shows up to say otherwise, I’m going with the assumption he is a Hillary Bot.

  7. ,
    January 31, 2018 at 20:40

    IT’S ALL THEIR FAULT, THOSE DAMNED VOTERS!

  8. ML
    January 31, 2018 at 20:29

    George Carlin’s youtube video on “why I do not vote” is a classic. He turns Dan’s argument around on himself. Dan, watch it and learn something. And though I myself, have voted in every election since I turned 18, I will have to say that after 8 years of Obama and his party’s undeniable culpability in helping the Commander in Chief of Reality TV get elected, Mr. Carlin was WAY ahead of his time.

  9. Andrew Nichols
    January 31, 2018 at 18:13

    When you have a situation where in almost every part of the US both candidates Dem/Repub essentially are as odious as each other, having been vetted by the same forces in our society to ensure that nothing of substance changes, I can totally understand why so many no longer bother. This is why the Establishments failure to eliminate Jeremy Corbyn is so significant and why they will redouble their efforts to prevent his Labour party from winning. Britain mighnt be a superpower anymore but it will be hugely symbolic and could well empower many to think that it is possible to have real democracy. Then they will engage, choose leaders that dont bow to Empire and then it’s all over.

  10. alonso
    January 31, 2018 at 18:03

    Blaming voters for having only terrible choices, right. And some of the groups you’re suggesting to remain politically active, are you serious?? I’ve been reading this site for some time and this is the worst read in my time here. People that still think a two party duopoly is a functional democracy are completely blind.

    • Nancy
      January 31, 2018 at 19:19

      I hope this isn’t a sign of things to come. This piece sounds like something from Commondreams or AlterNet.

      • February 1, 2018 at 05:37

        You do not know Dan McGuire at all if this is what you think!

    • February 1, 2018 at 05:36

      He is not suggesting that you vote for one of the duopoly parties, he is merely pointing out that most people just vote and forget or worse, they don’t vote at all. You have a choice to not vote for Dem. or Republican but for the green party or some other! You have to be informed in the first place and that takes study and involvement in the process, so leave the games, cell phones, ect alone and get involved more often, that is what he is saying. We actually do get the Government we deserve because we let it happen.

      • RP
        February 1, 2018 at 13:35

        Thank you for the perspective Jack. I always thought myself a cynic, but reading these comments is making me reconsider that assessment. I can’t blame them one bit for feeling this way, but I cannot help but believe we must fight and that starts with voting.

      • robjira
        February 2, 2018 at 20:48

        Exactly on point, Jack.

  11. rosemerry
    January 31, 2018 at 17:23

    I think it unfair to blame non-voters when it is obvious the Congress members are selected by the élite of the Parties, not the people,and most do not represent the wishes of the public, as Gillens and Page surveys showed in 2014. Why vote if it makes no difference? What hope have small parties eg Greens with a wonderful candidate like Ralph Nader when they get no publicity and are discriminated against by the PTB? Nader would have been a much better President than any of those in the last fifty years (imo!)

  12. Free Truth
    January 31, 2018 at 16:46

    Well, this article definitely proves that wisdom does not come with age. All “voting” does is give the illusion the US is a democracy, like those dictatorships with 99% turnout. I would like to quote George Washington on the state of affairs in the US of Israel.

    “Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.

    This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.

    The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.“

    Anyone who wants change knows money talks. That is your greatest weapon. If people want liberty, they’ll have to destroy trust in the US $, the Central Bankers biggest weapon in maintaining control of the masses. Sell off your US $s and don’t accept them anymore. That’s why Iraq, Libya, and Syria got attacked. They understood all too well.

    As George Carlin said:

    “There’s a reason for this, there’s a reason education sucks, and it’s the same reason it will never ever ever be fixed. It’s never going to get any better. Don’t look for it. Be happy with what you’ve got… because the owners of this country don’t want that. I’m talking about the real owners now… the real owners. The big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the state houses, the city halls. They got the judges in their back pockets and they own all the big media companies, so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear. They got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying. Lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else, but I’ll tell you what they don’t want. They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests…“

    • mike k
      January 31, 2018 at 20:38

      George Carlin – a true prophet dressed in motley……….

    • February 1, 2018 at 05:55

      Again, he was not suggesting that you vote for the two parties that are completely owned and operated by mutli national corporations, he is just saying that you have to vote and vote for one you believe in, like the green party or some other alternative party. You must get involved and stay involved to know the difference and we do get the Government we deserve. George Carlin was right about what he said and I loved him for it but he was not saying that there was no alternative at all but it had to be outside the bought and sold two party system.

    • robjira
      February 2, 2018 at 20:46

      I’ve often thought a good opening salvo in a nonviolent revolutionary process would be a mass refusal to file income tax returns. That would get someone’s attention real quick.

  13. Joe Tedesky
    January 31, 2018 at 16:44

    First off, it would be great for if every eligible voter were to vote, but it would even be greater to if there were candidates for these absentee voters who were worth voting for. We are living in an age of voting for the lessor of the two evils, and this paradigm has been with us Americans for a very long time now. Many people I know who have given up on the system of voting always point to having no candidate worth voting for. Say, what you will about this kind of voter apathy, but at least these voters are being honest over their frustration of our voting choices.

    In fact, I have read where the U.S. Revolution for Independence had only had at best about 35% of the colonist behind their separation from England. If this is true, then partial population voting has been a part of the U.S. ever since it’s founding.

    For the record I always vote, but I can’t for the life of me figure out why. I will say this, as I say this often, that when people say you loss a say in our governance because you failed to vote, then remind these guardians of democracy of how even though you don’t wish to join in on the phony elections that you still pay your taxes, and by doing that you earned the right to bitch away.

    What we should do, is quit voting, and quit legitimizing all these god awful politicians we so always put into office.

    • February 1, 2018 at 02:38

      Joe: ” We are living in an age of voting for the lessor of the two evils, and this paradigm has been with us Americans for a very long time now.”

      My essay on lesser evil voting: https://relativelyfreepress.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-lesser-of-two-evils-is-still-evil.html

      It concludes with a collection of links to other’s thoughts on the topic, including: George Carlin, I Don’t Vote (video), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIraCchPDhk

    • robjira
      February 2, 2018 at 20:38

      I remember coming across a similar estimate of popular support for what I now refer to as the “merchant’s rebellion,” Joe (I think it was either Zinn or Chomsky who mentioned it). And with only about half the eligible electorate participating in most modern plebescites, it seems not much has changed in the last 242 years. A true “revolution” at this point can only be achieved through nonviolent means; otherwise, it’s just more of the same ol’-same ol’ which would ultimately lead us right back to where we are now.
      Good comment as always, Joe.

  14. January 31, 2018 at 15:38

    I believe we are Prisoners of “Democracy” but think we are free.

    July 13, 2017
    The Prisoners of “Democracy”

    “The prisoners of the system thought they were free
    After all, they lived in a “democracy?”
    Every few years they were allowed to vote
    Then they got punished by the winning lot”…

    The winning lot was whatever political party attained power after receiving the most votes from the obedient serfs. The serfs were constantly told “if you don’t vote you don’t have any say.” (And they believed it!) So many of them voted and exercised their “democratic right.” Then they found that after placing the big X on their ballot, things were still much the same, because it did not really matter what party was in power, the serfs still got punished….

    read more at link below]

    http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2017/07/the-prisoners-of-democracy.html

    • mike k
      January 31, 2018 at 20:35

      Thanks Stephen. In the article it seems everything is our fault for not voting. A typical abuser’s trick of blaming the victim. Turn it around and you have – those who voted are responsible for the mess we are in!

  15. Maxim
    January 31, 2018 at 15:32

    “Inactive citizens underwrite the Republicans’ vicious agenda as these mean-spirited folks take food stamps and health care from poor kids and their parents, give tax breaks to fat cats, stupidly prefer kill-power to diplomacy, and ignore climate disasters even as these disasters are right now crashing around us and around the world. Don’t complain, non-voters and vote-and-run voters. You’re complicit with the “Republican base.”
    Thought you were talking about Democrats for a second. Been to Syria or Libya lately? At least Jeffery Dahmer ate what he killed.
    https://www.globalresearch.ca/us-has-killed-more-than-20-million-people-in-37-victim-nations-since-world-war-ii/5492051

  16. January 31, 2018 at 15:24

    When the Electoral College is no more, when there is a major political party which agitates effectively for progressivism and socialism rather than for capitalism, when money ceases to be the ultimate determinant of who’s allowed a seat at the nation’s decision-making table: Then and only then, Mr. Maguire, can you ethically and morally disregard those who don’t vote. Meanwhile, I suggest you remember the government is supposed to represent all citizens–not just those who vote. Elitists are a dime a dozen. I hope you’re not one of them.

    • robjira
      February 2, 2018 at 20:29

      Very good comment.

  17. Kalen
    January 31, 2018 at 15:24

    The mantra that author tries to push “If you don’t participate, you don’t get to criticize.” is an essence of totalitarian mind.

    If there was freedom in the US, it would be unconditional, freedom to criticize whatever everyone wants, act or refrain from acting at will on some rational basis, otherwise there is no freedom. But that’s half of problem. The real problem is not right to criticism of those who rule but a right to rule itself.

    If you participate in a futile endeavor like (s)elections again and again expecting different results, this is called insanity.

    If you are 1%, vote, it make sense for you, you benefit, under the same rationale 99% should not vote since they do not benefit from strictly controlled political process, as it was scientifically proven.

    The reality of following: If you vote you legitimize the corrupted electoral and political system.
    If you don’t, you protest it. You say I will not acquiesce to usurpation of power. For me this government is illegal, as I am, who did not delegate my sovereign power to those criminal stooges by voting, legally and legitimately asserting. Each of us have sovereign power, power lies solely with us unless we give it away to capitol Hill gangsters for nothing, like is the case now.

    “The individual loses his substance by voluntarily bowing to an
    overpowering and distant oligarchy, while simultaneously “participating”
    in sham democracy.”
    C. Wright Mills,”The Power Elite” (1956)

    Here is your wider answer if you did not get it from my comment.

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/06/17/the-case-for-not-voting-in-defense-of-the-lazy-ungrateful-and-uniformed/

    • mike k
      January 31, 2018 at 20:30

      CW Mills – an early hero of mine. Thanks for the quote from a man truly ahead of his times.

  18. January 31, 2018 at 14:57

    Sorry, if you can’t deconstruct both parties, your partisanship is showing! Corruption is endemic and embedded in US politics. The two-party seesaw accomplishes nothing but war and stock market bubbles. Voting is loaded with corruption even locally.

  19. Bart Hansen
    January 31, 2018 at 14:46

    I can’t help thinking of the old saw, “I don’t vote anymore, it only encourages them”

    A few years ago when my two Virginia Senators both finally were Democrats, I was happy for a while. Lately, though, by looking at their voting records, I have become disheartened. How brave of Senator Warner to have become obsessed with the “meddling” by Russia and the willy-nilly laying on of “sanctions”!

  20. D.H. Fabian
    January 31, 2018 at 14:33

    I see things from a very different perspective. I don’t personally know a soul who can afford the luxury of apathy. Out here, we can see how we, as a profoundly divided people, are powerless.
    Not surprisingly, we evade the lessons we should have learned from the 2016 election. Both the Ds and the Rs presented us with candidates who were opposed by much of their own voting bases, for some of the same reasons. Roughly half of all voters rejected both, and either voted third party or withheld their votes. In the end, Clinton got the most votes, but Trump got the most electoral votes — and the confused shouted that “Russia stole the election.”
    Years of research have consistently confirmed that most voting choices come down to economic issues. Democrats have to come to terms with the fact that they split apart their voting base in the 1990s, middle class vs. poor. The Obama years confirmed that this split is permanent.

  21. JanJ
    January 31, 2018 at 14:03

    The writer gets it right about Republicans. I wish he had said something about Democrats, especially those in leadership positions, who talk a good line about helping the average person and then slow-walk or water down the “help”. Unfortunately the average person has not benefited in recent times regardless of which major party was in power. Note that it was a Democrat who said “Never, ever” regarding Medicare for All, even though the public favors such a policy.

    See this study done in 2014 by Gilens (Princeton U.) and Page (Northwestern U): https://scholar.princeton.edu/sites/default/files/mgilens/files/gilens_and_page_2014_-testing_theories_of_american_politics.doc.pdf

    Pay special attention to the graphs on page 10. One graph shows zero correlation between what average citizens want and what legislation gets passed. Another shows distinct positive correlation between what the economic elite want and what gets passed.

    The writer’s point about getting involved with interest groups has some merit. I believe that the choice of group(s) matters greatly. Some are simply fronts for a major party or are beholden to big donors.

    I myself am active with a state-based organization whose only goal is to pass a U.S. Constitutional amendment which establishes (1) Only human beings are entitled to Constitutional rights and (2) Spending for political campaigns or influence is not First-Amendment-protected free speech and shall be regulated. This is an issue that has won decisively when placed on the ballot as an advisory question in both conservative and liberal leaning districts.

    • Nancy
      January 31, 2018 at 14:55

      Democrats/Republicans–two sides of the same coin.

      • glitch
        January 31, 2018 at 17:45

        Replicrats.

    • Joe Wallace
      February 1, 2018 at 22:02

      JanJ:

      Your state-based organization has the right goal. Until the daft notion of “corporate personhood” is destroyed, and political spending is no longer deemed to be “free speech,” economic elites will continue to own our politicians and dominate our politics. Elites don’t want to govern; they want to rule.

  22. Nancy
    January 31, 2018 at 13:46

    This guy is either very naive or a tool of the liberal Democrats who have been betraying us for decades. I have voted since I was 18, mostly out of habit, but I gave up the illusion that it would make any difference when I was about, well, 18.
    I’m beginning to think that not voting, as Tom Welsh stated, would send a better message and eradicate our farcical circus of democratic elections once and for all.

    • Kalen
      January 31, 2018 at 15:48

      While they could not care less what are your political opinions or socioeconomic needs, believe me they care who votes and who does not and how many that’s why you have to show ID to vote. In the liberal politics charade perception is the only reality.They want to be loved, and as politicians/celebrities they are paid to make people love them or hate them whatever assignment they receive.

      US presidents have been “elected” typically with 20-30% of all eligible voters support which almost fully account to their own partisan political mafia, oligarchic backers and their cronies all depending on big or small trickling down privileges of representing interests of Anglo-american (now global) ruling elite who really govern the US, as it is their corporate child USA, INC. since it birth in 1789.

  23. January 31, 2018 at 13:46

    The author is living in a bubble. The premise of the article presumes that the “Republicans’ vicious agenda” is the basis of the dire pseudo-democracy we are living in but ignores the Democrats’ bogus alternative in a two party system. It is not only Republican gerrymandering that has fostered the present situation but phony primaries where “provisional ballots” can be thrown out and MONEY buys the winner.

    • Roberto
      January 31, 2018 at 23:29

      Two party system? Think of it this way:
      there is only ONE PARTY, call it ESTABLISHMENT. The most important objective for both of them (GOP and DEMS alike) is to make you believe that they are in opposition to each other, different, fighting each other and that they are working for YOU and ready, willing and able to CHANGE things, their ways and attitudes. Mass hysteria illusion for sure.
      They do that so that those who do go out and vote help to ensure that NOBODY ELSE can get in. Individually, your elected “representatives”, with very few exceptions, all just fight for their turn to stay close to the trough and pile-up and resell influence.
      Voting or Not-Voting is at this time completely irrelevant, except the good news: Trump IS IN.! HRC is out. Miracles still happen ;-).

      • February 1, 2018 at 00:35

        ” the good news: Trump IS IN.! HRC is out.”…ohhh Roberto, I’m afraid you’re living in a bubble too!

        • Roberto
          February 1, 2018 at 01:36

          We’ll see in seven years.!

  24. Hawaii guy
    January 31, 2018 at 13:32

    Sorry but the US Government would be glad if we joined the majority of the groups you mention.. Anything that keeps one off the glass window of the pillage which is the war complex. The only group one could join that would grab any of their attention would have the word “militia” attached to it. Which is within our rights as the enemy is out in the open and the lemmings don’t even notice.

  25. john wilson
    January 31, 2018 at 12:53

    Over here in The UK there is a message painted on the side of a house in London and it reads: “if voting ever changed anything they would do away with it” !! I’m afraid the author of this piece lives like most of us in the land of “if only”

    • godenich
      January 31, 2018 at 19:35

      Shocking I say. Shocking[1].

      [1] Brewster’s Millions – None Of The Above – HD | Youtube

  26. Michael Goldstein
    January 31, 2018 at 12:45

    Terrific piece. We are all in hot water but have become inured to it. We must, ourselves, become hot and DO things. It is not sufficient to poke fun at Trump and the Republicans for their bizarre and cruel ideas; laughing at them makes us feel better for a moment while they take the planet to the cleaners. It feels as though we are each too small to make a difference, but those who do, can!

    • mike k
      January 31, 2018 at 20:25

      Do things, like voting for someone you wouldn’t want to spend five minutes with, much less four years?

      • Jeff Hayes
        February 1, 2018 at 13:34

        My problem with for one of the two major party candidates last time (and every time most likely) is that were I to cast a vote for either one I would be explicitly endorsing things like war crimes, mass slaughter, poverty, disease and death. I’m sorry but I’m simply not willing to sign my name on that bottom line. I understand the logic of lesser-evil voting but I’m not evil enough to do it.

        So instead, I voted for a candidate who had no chance to win but who stood against evil rather than for it. And for this I’m being morally chastised? If you’re not a centrist, you might call that “having principles”.

  27. Timothy Henwood
    January 31, 2018 at 12:25

    The only way voting would be a revolutionary act is to have some rules to follow that changes the game. Otherwise you are back to voting out of fear.

    1) Never vote for the candidate or ballot initiative that raises the most money
    2) Never vote for the candidate that advertises on TV, Radio, or sends you election porn in the mail
    3) Never vote for the candidate that is endorsed by party insiders, unions, or other large connected groups

    If people followed these three simple rules, it would be a radical change, but sadly most don’t have the guts so voting becomes like confessing to a crime you didn’t do just to get the cops off your back.

  28. Annie
    January 31, 2018 at 11:52

    Well, if he doesn’t sound like a preacher man, all fire and damnation. I didn’t vote in this presidential election, and didn’t vote for Obama his second time around, or vote at all, and gee, after reading this thankfully short piece, I pray God will spare me the horrors of hell. Mr. preacher man offer me someone worthy of voting for, make me know, because I don’t, my vote really counts. Those I voted for in the past didn’t work for the betterment of the people, but corporate America, and it’s god damn wars. I’ll get off my ass and vote, when I think there is someone worthy of voting for. I agree with the part where I can do things that directly impact the betterment of my fellow human beings, and my whole life has been dedicated to that in one way or another, but I don’t like the preacher man trying to shove that down my throat. I like my uncle telling me as a child, “Isn’t it wonderful to come into the world and make it a better place then it was before?” I think I’ve done that.

    • Annie
      January 31, 2018 at 12:09

      I should have added that the preacher man sounds like a die hard democrat, and if that’s the case he is deluded if he thinks the democrats are some kind of saints. His whole speech really was an anti-Republican, anti-Trump piece, if he were being honest.

    • rosemerry
      January 31, 2018 at 17:27

      Ralph Nader suggests that if NOTA (none of the above) were an alternative, many would use it, and in places it has been tried in the USA, that is true. If the NOTA vote exceeds any other, a new election is held . That would get some new candidates who may think before applying! It might shake up the committees choosing the lucky one to be elected!

      • January 31, 2018 at 18:33

        NOTA would be a GREAT alternative! And in the old USSR, it existed. If NOTA got rmoe votes, then there was another election in 3 months with NEW candidates. How do we get that here in the so-called/alleged”greatest democracy on Earth”?

  29. Tom Welsh
    January 31, 2018 at 10:46

    “[C]itizens who do not vote… cravenly surrender their power to those who do vote”.

    That initial premise is completely untrue. So the rest of the article is built on sand.

    No citizens are allowed to have any power, whether they vote or not. Only those with very large amounts of money, and the influence that buys them, have any power at all. That’s because they sponsor and fund candidates for office, and when elected those candidates are beholden to those who helped them – and will, with luck and sensitive treatment, help them again. “Sensitive treatment” includes licking their shoes clean, and passing whatever legislation they care to write – preferably without reading it first.

    Why do no ordinary citizens, members of the 99%, have any power? Simple. They have one vote each, with which they can choose one of two candidates. Whichever of those candidates is elected, the outcome – for the ordinary citizen – will be exactly the same. More trillions spent on armaments, and gradually lowering standards of living for the 99%.

    Of course a citizen might choose to vote for an independent candidate. But unless 40 million or so other citizens choose to vote for the same independent candidate, their votes will be “wasted”. And since the two mainstream parties control the media, it will be practically impossible to coordinate an independent’s campaign. Ross Perot had plenty of money and influence, but he still got virtually no votes.

    Actually, I was wrong. Citizens do have a little power, after all. And the only way they can exert it is by NOT voting. When the day comes that they hold an election and no one votes, the citizens will have accomplished something at last. They will have demonstrated that the current system is wholly and entirely bankrupt, and must be replaced by something better.

    • Dennis Berube
      January 31, 2018 at 11:30

      Entirely replacing a system is not a good idea and would likely cause many needless deaths, just ask Russia. We are not too far removed from a semi rational form of government, despite the many horrendous actions of the last several administrations. JFK combined human decency with a vision for humanities future that must be regained. The single most destructive force in our world today is the covert action agencies both public and private that hypocritically undermine all peace and human progression by serving simple minded power brokers at the military/finance/corporate level. Until the public pressures the government to severely curtail covert action and propaganda, they will essentially have free reign to do whatever is desired by the people who should be in sanitariums for the evil.

    • Roberto
      January 31, 2018 at 15:14

      Re: “built on SAND”
      Is sand the new word for BULLS**T?

    • mike k
      January 31, 2018 at 20:21

      Good post Tom. Amen.

    • Brad Owen
      February 1, 2018 at 06:31

      And do you think the MSM will report the fact that nobody came to vote? Do you not think that they would stage a show of people, standing inline from a previous election, to vote? Do you not think they have mastered their stagecraft to perfection? Do you now recognize the TRUE, original intent of The Society of the Cincinnati, regarding the securing of hard-won fruits of revolution, it being superior to mere voting and armed rabble?

  30. mike k
    January 31, 2018 at 10:42

    “Those who don’t vote are therefore unjust, immoral, and only half alive.”

    Those who vote are clueless, delusional, and playing the game their controllers have rigged to cheat them. Those who do not vote refuse to waste their energy in an exercise that endorses a crooked system which uses voting to pretend that it is fair. Does that mean us nonvoters have no power? No, it means we want real power, and are willing to work for it, rather than wasting our efforts in a no-win fantasy game. If you vote in a rigged election, you have been conned.

    “Those who don’t vote are therefore unjust, immoral, and only half alive.”

    Those who vote are clueless, delusional, and playing the game their controllers have rigged to cheat them. Those who do not vote refuse to waste their energy in an exercise that endorses a crooked system which uses voting to pretend that it is fair. Does that mean us nonvoters have no power? No, it means we want real power, and are willing to work for it, rather than wasting our efforts in a no-win fantasy game. If you vote in a rigged election, you have been conned.

    “Those who don’t vote are therefore unjust, immoral, and only half alive.”

    Those who vote are clueless, delusional, and playing the game their controllers have rigged to cheat them. Those who do not vote refuse to waste their energy in an exercise that endorses a crooked system which uses voting to pretend that it is fair. Does that mean us nonvoters have no power? No, it means we want real power, and are willing to work for it, rather than wasting our efforts in a no-win fantasy game. If you vote in a rigged election, you have been conned.

    • mike k
      January 31, 2018 at 10:44

      Pardon the repetitions – computer glitches

      • Kalen
        January 31, 2018 at 15:00

        Thanks for that eye opener for zombie American voter. They should be reminded that all horrible dictators of last 100 years were duly elected and reelected multiple times after the rest was intimidated propagandized to crawl to voting booths while those with different political opinions imprisoned or murdered.

        American totalitarian culture shows in political realm where Americans do not participate in politics they just bet on strongest horse, as Chomsky posited a quarter of century ago.

    • January 31, 2018 at 18:30

      HOW MANY “non-voters” are OTHERWISE POLITICAL;LY ENGAGED? I bet you only a tiny percentage! Your repeating your point does NOT make it any more true. Fact is, the people in elective office HAVE THE PWOER OF DECISION-MAKING that IMPACTS our lvies & the lives of people around the world. At Least ONE of our actions ought tobe trying to get decent compassionate people into those positions.

    • January 31, 2018 at 19:24

      If they held an election and no one showed up, it would be the best, most non-violent message we could send to the rest of the world that we don’t buy into this baloney. Voting validates this horrible joke of a political system.

      • Roberto
        February 1, 2018 at 01:23

        Apathy Anonymous meeting has been cancelled for lack of interest

        • February 2, 2018 at 03:06

          Filing this one with the Department of Redundancy Department for future use…

          We’re eating chicken because most of the other guys wanted to. Even if we wanted pizza, said situation is preferable over eating pizza because one guy started waving a gun around and insisting. Ruins the appetite.

          Voting isn’t intrinsically bad. Or at least, there are worse systems. Beyond the dreadful vitriol, the author’s message of political participation seems sound. It is a pity that the author is more specifically attempting to shame people in to voting for the Democrats.

          When a popularity contest between 300 million people is whittled down to 2 dead-eyed henchmen before its your turn to vote, you didn’t vote. The guys who chose the two finalists wield all the influence. You just took a survey. The question was, ‘Which motivates you more, your fear of death or your sense of superiority?

          Now you may ask why we didn’t simply go to a place where the options include both pizza and chicken. Because totalitarian fascism and anarcho-syndicalism won’t reconcile. Thats why.

    • January 31, 2018 at 21:21

      Is it not worthwhile then “protest voting” and voting for a party that is not (yet) corrupt and which will never have a chance of making it? Or is there a reason why you disagree with that approach?

    • February 1, 2018 at 15:41

      So what are you doing, other than staying home? How are you working for alternatives? I think that the problem with your position (please see my comment below), is that the planet can’t afford any more folks “making a statement” …unfortunately the righties don’t stay home, and they are clearly the more actively destructive party, in terms of the environment and social safety net.

      I would appreciate your feedback on my ideas in my comment (scroll down, it’s toward the end). We have to try something else other than being imprisoned by this corrupt D & R duopoly, but not participating is not the answer.

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