I have a confession to make: I’m not registered to vote. To add fuel to the fire, I also have a degree in political science.
Don’t light your torches just yet. In 2008, my 18-year-old self was initially excited to vote, but something happened between 2008 and 2010 that radically shifted how I viewed voting.
After having to defend my position against friends, fellow students, my mother, professors and nosey strangers, I figured it was time to clearly explain why I took such a radical position as well as create an escape pod for my next “Why Don’t You Vote?” encounter.
The first thing to remember is your voting or non-voting is your own personal business. You do not have to ever explain yourself to anyone.
I am choosing to do so not because I feel I owe anyone an explanation, but because I feel it is often a scorned opinion to have.
The journey to my current position began with the Democratic nomination battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
I found it preposterous that the clear Democratic favorite, Clinton, lost the first primary to some man with an unconventional name who few of us had even heard of prior to 2008.
Clinton may have not been the most amiable person, but she’s married to William “Big Willy Style” Clinton.
Needless to say, there was no way this Barack Hussein Obama character was going to get the Democratic nomination, or so I thought. If this man did happen to squeak out the necessary votes to win, however, I would gladly vote for him.
We had mostly the same positions as far as my 18-year-old self knew and understood, so why not chuck him my first vote as a freshly legal, American citizen?
During the period of 2008-2010, I watched more news than I have ever watched before, but it was clear my excitement about the political process had severely waned.
That earlier spark was nearly extinguished, and while I was still a fan of politics in general, I wasn’t in such a rush to vote or even register.
It became apparent to me during that time that elections were rarely about the best candidates.
The best candidates are the ones who often have their political party purity questioned if they don’t concede to bearing the accepted opinions allotted to a particular issue.
Being called a RINO (Republican In Name Only) or Blue Dog Democrat can be a traumatic blow to a campaign. That style of primary doesn’t serve the best interest of a political party or the people for that matter.
Primaries are supposed to determine which candidate is the best for the people. Instead, they tend to be an awkward slugfest egged on by 24-hour news networks for ratings.
As a result of that meddling, a party’s say in deciding who the best candidate for the general election is has deteriorated over the years.
It’s not that votes aren’t being counted. The candidate selection is just heavily influenced by the media's decision on how visible certain candidates are.
Of the remaining choices the media has filtered through, the general public makes its selection simply based on their dislike of the other candidate.
Why would a system that relies so heavily on the lesser-of-evils principle be used to make such an important decision? It goes without saying I didn’t end up voting for our would-be president for reasons that became clear to me in college.
By far, the worst place to be an unregistered voter and subsequently be confronted about it is the political science department at a historically black university during election season.
They hated me more than they hated the lone Republican.
At one point, a professor called me a lost cause. I’ve never had so many people remind me of the Civil Rights movements as if I was simply unaware it had taken place.
Here is the issue with using the Civil Rights Movement as a bludgeon against non-voters: It was a movement to give the right to make a choice to the disenfranchised.
Clearly, I am neither being prevented from voting by outside forces nor am I simply abstaining to be a contrarian.
I don’t like the choices presented to me. What does it matter if you “help” decide when all the options are barely subpar?
I would be remiss if I did not remind you I’m not against voting in the general sense of the idea, but once you realize that, for most people, elections are about the lesser of evils, the shine of voting is replaced by rust.
I believe people should come to their own conclusions about the issues and respect the decisions of others on the matter. T
he best conversations I’ve had about my non-voting stance were civil and inquisitive instead of a "Law and Order"-style interrogation.
At best, your curiosity on opposing positions should be just that. Aggressive conversations are neither warranted nor are they beneficial for all parties involved.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of Elite Daily.