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The Ballot or the Bullet

If you don’t vote, don’t whine about who wins

Writing for Truthout, in a piece titled “The Ballot of the Bullet,” William Rivers writes:

“Voting is, of course, first above all. A nation that cannot summon the will, or even the enlightened self-interest, to turn out more than 40% of its populace to vote in a midterm election is a nation that does not deserve to complain about anything. Elections in the House and Senate are among the most important events in America, and yet the vast majority of voters in this country can’t seem to be bothered. A nation that cannot summon the will or self-interest to turn out more than 60% of its populace during a presidential election is a nation that happily puts its own neck in the noose, and then pules like a spoiled child when the rope chafes and constricts.”

He kicks off the piece with a wonderful quote from FDR:

 “Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves, and the only way they could do this is by not voting.”

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And he wraps up with a statement I don’t suppose he really believes, at lest not the first sentence:

“Personally, I don’t give a wet damn who you vote for. Republican, Democrat, Green, Libertarian – hell, vote for the egg salad sandwich you almost ordered at the deli – just vote, and it will all come out in the wash. Tell your friends to do the same. Have a hard, serious conversation with anyone you know who calls voting a waste of time…and if you are one of those, find a mirror, and decide for yourself what it is you see staring back at you…

You may not get the results you seek, but at a bare minimum, you will know that you live in a country whose fate was decided by the people, and not by manipulation and lethargy. That is no small thing, and would be a transformative event unto itself.”