[Danger – rant against politicians and non-voting “net citizens” ahead. Skip if you are easily offended.]
I used to care a great deal about how people voted. In fact, at various times in my life I’ve worked on local, congressional and national campaigns. I can cite you chapter and verse, argument and counter-argument on just about every domestic and foreign policy issue out there – for the past 30 years.
I’ve stopped caring. Not because between gutless Democrats and whacko Republican/Tea Party types (interjection: how dare they equate Obama with Hitler?) both make me sick. And not because Everything Is Just Fine. it’s not.
I’ve stopped caring because between the professional political aristocracy we’ve developed over my lifetime and professed willful ignorance of so many people who can tell you the names of every American Idol contestant, but can’t name their congressperson, senator, state capitol or how many states there even are in these United States, I’m tired of running face first into a wall of indifference.
60 percent of the people who could have voted in today’s elections won’t. They’ve either been suckered by the professional political class into thinking it doesn’t matter (tip of the hat to Seth Godin for laying it on the line), or can’t see an inch past their own nose and prefer being whiny victims instead of a responsible citizens.
And, you know who the worst offenders are? You are. That’s right – people like you in the IT world who are at the front end of every economic, social-economic, intelligence curve out there. You will spend hours trash talking online one OS or another, oohing and aahing over the latest leaked bit of news about the next iPhone or Droid, but you won’t vote. “All politicians are crooks, nothing they say matters, it’s all a pack of lies” goes the chant while you cover your ears and squeeze your eyes shut.
Well, here’s a little startup advice for free. Denying reality, denying your responsibility, denying you have anything to do with the god awful mess politics has become in this country just because you won’t vote won’t fly. Closing your eyes and ears to what’s going on doesn’t bestow upon you some sort of get out of jail free card from all those things shaped, or mis-shaped in the political arena. Quite the opposite.
So how about holding your nose, go find your polling place and getting into the game? Do you really think that it would be politics as usual if instead of most of us not voting most of us did vote? Not a chance.

6 Comments

  1. I think most people who don’t vote because they choose not to. I have voted in every election since I was 18 but every time I leave the polls, I ask myself “why?”. Why did I just spend the time to vote?
    I don’t honestly think it matters if we/I vote or not. Politics is a game which seems to run forever. The party currently in the White House or in control of congress blames the current state of the union on the past president and they claim they are doing the best they can but in reality, they are lousy too.
    This election, we have republicans who will takeover congress and many govenor seats and for the next two years Obama will be whinging that he can’t get anything done because the republicans won’t play nice. The system is broken and our country is run by politicians with their own agendas in a tug of war battle between political parties.
    The political process and election system is very sad and I don’t blame anyone who doesn’t feel obligated to vote. I vote because I feel obligated, not because I think my vote will make a difference.

  2. Not just a rant but a righteous one- “How dare they?” I’ve been a reader for quite a while and I sure don’t remember outrage here what that call was made at Bush. I don’t care for Bush or Obama but I’m pretty sure that comparing either of them, or any modern president, to Hitler is absurd. In fact, given that the main differentiator between Hitler and a run-of-the-mill fascist is that he rounded up a bunch of people based on ethnicity, you’d have to go back to FDR or Wilson for an American parallel to Hitler.
    The bigger thing I’m struck by is that you choose to ignore your own advice. When I read your book some time back the most significant thing I read was a line about your business being a job and not a hobby. Why you would risk alienating some non-trivial portion of the population with a rant like that? I’m sure you can come up with some heartfelt retort about how important it is for the county… think of the children. If you seem like the kind of guy who cannot control himself enough to present a professional image then why would I want to hire you for your advice. Am I going to be paying for “Logical Bob” or “Emotional Bob”.
    There are plenty of societal things I’d love to post about on my site but I have the good sense to keep quiet. Ironically, that was something I thought I learned from you.

    • Bob Walsh Reply

      Bob – Normally I do keep personal stuff out of my blog. “Why you would risk alienating some non-trivial portion of the population with a rant like that?” – Yes, it may have cost me business – who am I to tell you you’re the problem if you choose not to vote?
      And yet.
      There are certain things I value above business, sometimes above what I see as my short term self-interest. No, you are not going to get “Unprofessional Bob” when I work with you – whether you pay me or not. But you won’t get the “Robot Bob” either.

  3. When I was living in Berlin I’ve learned that foreigners are allowed to vote for city officials after three months of living there (not for national polls though), which I thought, it was very considerate of them.
    They were about to vote shortly after I moved to Berlin, not speaking German, just figuring it out the basics was hard enough, figuring how to vote and who to vote sounded to painful. So I’ve asked someone else “Do I have to vote?”. I come from a country where voting is mandatory. He looked at me puzzled and said “Why wouldn’t you vote? You have the chance of voting and you wouldn’t take it?”. Amazing mentality.
    Now, mandatory voting doesn’t work, I’ve seen it fail. I’ve always thought that optional voting was better, but it seems not to be working for USA either, although USA’s problem may just be the lack of options (two parties only? really? You need a third, and a fourth and a fifth).

  4. “I’ve stopped caring because between the professional political aristocracy we’ve developed over my lifetime and professed willful ignorance of so many people who can tell you the names of every American Idol contestant, but can’t name their congressperson, senator, state capitol or how many states there even are in these United States, I’m tired of running face first into a wall of indifference.”
    Can’t beat them so you join them.. hay? Sorry Bob, I respect you on a lot of issue but saying your not bothered because others are not bothered is the weakish, gutless, chickinsh*t excuse I’ve ever heard.
    at least “All politicians are crooks, nothing they say matters, it’s all a pack of lies” isn’t a hypocritical approch…
    Other than that great blog 😉

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