Shut Up and Vote: A Plea to the Political Fringe

Jay Heisler

My fellow American. Yes, you.

You may not agree with what you’re about to read. If that is the case, then you are the one that my words are meant for. This isn’t an attempt to win over Republicans. If you are a Republican then you aren’t likely to be swayed by anything I say, but I do want you to know that my vote will cancel out yours, so you might want to continue reading to get an idea of why your vote was just made irrelevant.

This is an attempt to reach out to people who are not going to vote at all. There are good reasons to not vote for Barack Obama this November, and there are bad reasons, and the good reasons aren’t good enough to not vote for Barack Obama this November.

Big Differences and Real Choices 

If you, still riding the high of the Wikileaks dumps and the Occupy movement, are of the mindset that the Democrats and Republicans are interchangeable and neither is any better or worse than the other, then I want you to think about something for a moment. I want you to think about going to get a medically necessary procedure, and finding out that you now must have a cold wand intrusively shoved into your genitalia, because the elected official who would have kept this from happening was seen as interchangeable with the elected official who think you’re a prostitute for putting out before marriage.

Yes, the Democrats are bad. But the Republicans are much, much worse, and you only need to think back to the not-so-distant past for examples of how much more damage they’re capable of in eight years than their slightly less terrible opponents.

So the catering to Wall Street done by both parties is comparable. So the Democrats’ attempts to raise taxes on the wealthy wouldn’t bring those tax rates anywhere near to what they were under great days for the American economy and the American worker. But aren’t those meagre increases preferable to the Republican strategy of getting that badly needed money instead by taking from programs that help keep your standard of living from slipping to levels known mostly by residents of the countries we invade?

So Obama has only escalated some of the not-so-secret wars that Bush started. So America is just as hated in corners of the world where we’re known as the guys responsible for remote-controlled killer robots in the sky. The Obama administration has still shown an impressive and timely dedication to smoothing things over with allies and working with so-called enemies to prevent conflict, solve global problems, and reduce nuclear stockpiles.

Disenchanted Democrats…Wake the F8ck up

In a stark and undeniable contrast to this, the Republican Party tends to view the rest of the world with a mix of wilful (even proud) ignorance and open contempt. The Bush era should provide a few helpful examples of the kinds of policy decisions that such an approach will inevitably lead to—and the kinds of reactions seen by allies and enemies alike.

So Obama has continued the unsettling scale-backs of helpful rules that prevent the government from abducting you in the middle of the night and locking you up for years without trial. So Guantanamo Bay remains open and Big Brother is still watching you. Do you genuinely, honestly, truly believe that things wouldn’t be considerably worse under a political party that sees such moves as not a breach of campaign promises but a fulfilment of them?

If the two parties were truly interchangeable, the Republicans and their billionaire backers like the Koch brothers wouldn’t have proven themselves willing to play brinksmanship with their entire economy in an effort to bring Obama down. They wouldn’t prove themselves time and time again willing to tinker with the electoral process in a way that greatly undermines not only the Democrats, but also America’s criticism of similar actions in autocratic banana republics.

Don’t Care About Politics?   

What if you can’t be bothered with politics? What if you are disillusioned with the whole damned process, or find it too irritating or too depressing? If there was ever a time in post-WW2 American history to move past this view, this is it. You likely know someone who lost their job because of the 2008 Financial Crisis, or graduated to find that the job they had prepared for was no longer there for them.

You may be that person. Politics isn’t a sport that you can choose to ignore, like cricket. Politics is a blood sport that you have been unwillingly enlisted in, and if your team loses, you will suffer the consequences.

We all will.

When Republicans do eventually return to power, you will begin to notice the myriad of real and tangible ways that their heinous decisions negatively affect your life. And if you didn’t vote Democrat, you have only yourself to blame.