Matt Forney
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Why I’m Not Voting Anymore

On Election Day four years ago, I was in my dorm room alone, working on an essay to hand in for class the next day. I didn’t bother watching any election coverage, aside from the Daily Show. At eleven o’clock, when the major news networks started calling the race for Obama, some clown came barreling down the hallway whooping and screaming like the Yankees had won the World Series: “Obama won! Obama won! Wooooooooooo!”

As he passed by my room, I stuck my head out and yelled, “Shut the fuck up!” He didn’t respond.

The next day, the sidewalk in front of the student union was marked up with pro-Obama graffiti, and one of my professors, a cute twentysomething English adjunct, was wearing a “Hope and Change” T-shirt. I just shrugged and went on with my day.

Centuries from now, when historians are analyzing the fall of the American Empire, our collective Obamagasm will be noted as a major point along the graph line of our decline into sad irrelevance. The stress of living in a hopelessly clusterfucked nation with a deteriorating economy and a sclerotic political process got to us. Like a “born-again virgin” thinking the baptismal font can absolve her of sucking off an entire football team, we thought that slavishly worshipping an articulate, clean black man would make up for the past eight years.

Our love affair with Obama lasted all of two years. I’ve known teenagers who’ve been with their boyfriends/girlfriends longer than that.

I voted for the Libertarian candidate for president that year, not because I’m a libertarian, but as a protest vote against the two-party system. I didn’t fall for the Obamamania to begin with, which gave me a smug sense of superiority: “Hah! You sheeple are really gonna regret this in four years!”

What I didn’t realize was that I was just as deluded as the Obamanauts, because I still cast a ballot.

When John Gatto was made the New York City Teacher of the Year in 1990, he said this during his acceptance speech:

The truth is that schools don’t really teach anything except how to obey orders. This is a great mystery to me because thousands of humane, caring people work in schools as teachers and aides and administrators, but the abstract logic of the institution overwhelms their individual contributions.

That second sentence describes our government perfectly. There may be individual Congressmen or bureaucrats who are good, who start out with the best of intentions, but the system is so big and unwieldy that their minuscule contributions are drowned. The many-headed hydra that is our ruling class (the government, Wall Street, the universities) exists only to perpetuate itself, and its interests run counter to ours, the ordinary Americans.

If you doubt what I’m saying, ask yourself how the previous four years of Obama differ from Bush’s eight years. On every issue of importance, from extraordinary rendition to Wall Street bailouts to police brutality, Obama has been completely identical to the smirking chimp. Oh sure, they differ a little on boutique issues like abortion or gay marriage, but when it comes to the big picture, nothing’s changed, aside from everyone getting poorer.

If you think electing Mitt Romney will change anything, after you’ve already been burned twice, you’re nuts. Even if Ron Paul were to somehow become the GOP nominee and get elected, the sheer enormity of the system would bury him.

And by the mere act of casting a ballot, you are affirming the legitimacy of this system, a system that has done nothing but impoverish you.

I’m 23 years old, soon turning 24. I’ve voted in the past six elections. I’m not voting this year, and barring some sort of revolution, I’m not voting again for the rest of my life. I won’t be fooled.

It doesn’t matter who you are, whether you’re a liberal, a conservative, a libertarian or whatever: there is no “right” choice on the ballot. The ballot is the problem. The ballot is your enemy. By filling in those little circles with your pencil, you’re giving the system the go-ahead it needs to keep raping you. There is no candidate, party or platform capable of reforming the system, because all of them have to play by the system’s rules in order to make it onto the ballot.

If you read HuffPo and watch Rachel Maddow, you’re part of the problem.

If you watch Fox News and listen to Rush Limbaugh, you’re part of the problem.

If you participate in this inane farce we call “democracy” in any way, shape or form, you are part of the problem.

This is why I’m not voting. I’m not going to be part of the problem anymore.

You have the right to vote, but you also have a choice. Exercise your right to refuse. The system needs your consent in order to preserve its legitimacy. Don’t give it to them.

And as the Captain might say, enjoy the decline.

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