In the comment thread of a recent post here, two people for whom I have vast respect took me gently to task for its content -- specifically, I think, for the sarcastic tag line that I used in closing: "Be sure to vote, now. Voting changes things." Both commenters imply that I'm suffering from apathy.
I don't want to be misunderstood: apathy (1 : lack of feeling or emotion : impassiveness; 2 : lack of interest or concern : indifference) is not my problem in the American political context.
Apathy is why I don't go online and vote for the newest "American Idol." Apathy is why I don't send in a ballot for players to be named to the major-league basball all-star team. These are things that I don't care about at all, and that do not affect me.
The buffoons, the wannabe tyrants, and the real for-sure tyrants who infest positions of political power in America: those folks do indeed have a great, and baleful, effect on me. They rob me materially; they usurp my liberties; and they commit mass murder in my name, making bitter and dedicated enemies for me all over the globe. Then, adding insult to manifold injuries, they seek to subvert my will through childish sales tricks. Rather than simply ask, do you want to buy the car?, they instead ask, would you rather have it in blue or green? We're never asked whether we consent to the hypertrophied welfare/warfare state; instead, we're asked which of two essentially-identical managers we prefer.
And I would like to suggest that, each time we make that choice, we're seen as endorsing the basic system. We're giving it a spurious legitimacy. Suppose that there's a miraculous 100% voter turnout tomorrow. Whichever of Oh-Bomb-'Em or McInsane is elected, he'll be able to claim a mandate.
I think a much more useful outcome tomorrow would be a zero-percent turnout. To me, that would be an eloquent statement that we the people have no further interest in the rancidly maggot-corrupt "two-party system," and that we correctly regard it as illegitimate. Next would be a general refusal to pay taxes, serve in the armed forces or police, or to heed any orders or instructions from any who do participate in the State's uniformed murder gangs. I don't think there'd be much bloodshed. I think the hollow and rotted corpse of the state would pretty much collapse soggily in place.
Not that I think any such thing's going to happen this year, or next ... I don't. But, as the economy collapses into the swamp of debt, the chances are getting at least a little bit better. Meanwhile, I'll do what I can: I'll tell the truth as I see it; and I'll make fun of our supervisors as the opportunity presents itself, which is practically all the time. And I'll deliberately, intentionally, and passionately refuse to play my assigned part -- one of the 300 million or so "extras" -- in Tuesday's farce. Not that I'm any better than those who do vote -- far from it; I've voted, oh, something like half a hundred times myself. But, like smoking, it's a bad idea; and I do believe I'm quitting.