“You got to vote all the time. Not just when it’s cool.” —President Obama
People should never ever vote. And I’m not the sort of guy who uses the word “should.” I avoid it. But voting? It is one thing no one should ever do. Of course there is the mythology of having a voice and that a vote is your voice, and with your voice along with millions of other voters in America, you, collectively, make democracy work. And, by direct implication, that if you do not vote, you do not exercise that voice, and put the brakes on the system of democracy. And, to boot, the undercurrent is that by not voting, you are unpatriotic, un-American, and worse.
Voting gives people that precious little feeling of having a say, of having a voice. And when people no longer have that feeling of having a say, of having a voice, even a tiny one, people begin to get choked up. If you’re at the dinner table and politely ask someone to pass the salt, you expect to be heard. And, in due course, you expect to have that shaker of salt passed your way, as soon as it is practical. You feel heard. And you feel seen. Were you to ask for the salt and nobody did a thing, it wouldn’t be long before you got frustrated, ticked off, unnerved, angry. Eventually you’d build up understandable sorts of resentments and one day, assuming no one ever passed you the salt, meal after meal, month after month, year after year, you’d flip out.
Votes give people the feeling that they are being heard. And it’s that feeling that’s so important. Otherwise you might just explode like that raisin in the sun does at the end of the Langston Hughes’ poem. And the political system, which wants very much to preserve itself, which caters only to the top interests—the top financial and top economic interests—of the folks in charge, at the direct and at the indirect expense of the folks not in charge, by giving voters the opportunity to vote, by creating the satisfying illusion of having a say in the system which really does not care an iota about the millions and millions of lives that are subject to it, the political system very skillfully does preserve itself.
Were it not for voting, people would explode. They would erupt. They might become violent. They would become revolutionary. Voting lets off that steam. Voting makes people blind to the fact that the odds of winning a multi-million dollar lottery twice are less than the odds of a father and son becoming president in a democracy that is actually a democracy. Voting makes people deaf to the fact that the odds of being struck four times in a lifetime by lightning are less than a husband and then his wife becoming president in a democracy that is actually a democracy. But this feeling of having a say, this feeling of having a voice, dulls all the five senses, and numbs completely the brains of the people.
So long as people keep voting, things will keep on being the same. The public theater of Republicans and Democrats, like the Sharks and Jets, like the Montagues and the Capulets, it just goes on and on. The same sides, the same families will stage the same centuries’ old political plays for the public, and by doing this, by putting on these plays between this side and that side, they will always keep their places, their power, their positions. It is these—their places, their power, their positions—which those in the upper echelon of society, regardless of their so-called political affiliation, which they will never under any circumstance give up or risk giving up, that the system is almost perfectly designed to preserve.
Voting is the grease to the machinery of the smoothly running wheels and gears of power, position, and generational entitlement. The American Republic is no different than an Old World landed aristocracy except for the illusion that every few years people vote, by which action the American people at large are completely blinded, deafened, and made completely dumb to the fact that it is they who are the peons, the servants, the crushed and oppressed underclass of this tiny but very powerful overclass of landed and political aristocrats in charge and in power above them. By voting in America all that happens is different branches of the well-established aristocracy of America sit at the long oak table every so often, every few years, while the other branches of that aristocracy, for the time being, eat elsewhere, until it becomes their time to sit at the table again, while the others now sit out. But like squealing pigs made frantic and excited to their own horrible slaughter, Americans keep voting and voting all the time, cycle after cycle, while the true aristocracy in charge, in the name of “progress,” keeps profiting and profiting.