Vote, Damn You

I don't want to get political here, so I won't. My beliefs aren't exactly secret, but I'm not going to use this place as a pulpit for my issues. That's what Twitter is for. However, I am going to use this spot to deliver one simple non-partisan message, and that is this:

Vote, damn you.

Seriously, I don't give a crap how much you've rationalized to yourself over the years why you can't or shouldn't participate in our democracy. To me, that's just cowardice. To me, you are a useless complainer and should be ashamed of yourself. Too many people in this country have been and in many cases are still being deprived of this most fundamental civil right, and for you to actively shit upon it is disgusting to me. In fact, I can't even be nice to you at this point. I can't even rightly call it tough love that I am using right now. It's gentle hate. Because you should fucking know better, and it angers me that you don't.

Don't tell me that you don't participate because "both candidates are bad." Don't tell me that government is "too corrupt and you're not going to get involved." Don't tell me that you believe it will somehow all get better if we all decided not to play "their game." Don't tell me any of that fucking bullshit, because that's all it is. Fucking bullshit.

Just shut up and vote, damn you.

5000 Americans died for this while you stayed home
Do you honestly think we voters aren't aware of government's monumental imperfections and corruption? Do you think we always like having to make the tough decision between a giant douche and a turd sandwich? Do you think you know something that we don't, that you're some kind of enlightened demigod gazing down at us all with terrible sympathy as we herd our way toward the polls on election day? Do you think that any of this excuses you from exercising the right that thousands have died to make sure you have? That thousands of our soldiers are dying for right now in countries on the other side of the globe to make sure others have? Because it isn't just an American thing. It's a human thing. All of life is a struggle for the masses to have a voice, even a small one, in how the very few decide to lead us. The vote is our voice. And people have fought and died to win it and protect it for centuries.

Thank you, voters
Even if you don't want to vote between the two major parties, vote for a third party. Write someone in. Participate. It isn't just about the presidency. It's about your local government, your senators, your judges, your commissioners, your coroners and treasurers and schools and state initiatives that range from allowing your gay friends to get married to legalizing marijuana to how our school teachers and firefighters get paid. Issues whose outcomes far outlast a presidency, that people worked tirelessly in many cases to get onto the ballot in the first place.

A ballot covers a whole range of things that you are completely missing out on because you for whatever reason feel you're too good to get your hands dirty and help us pick a fucking president. In 2010, my neighborhood missed the passing of a badly needed operating levy for our ailing school district by 37 votes, because the people who were energized to get out there in 2008 suddenly found the weight of their complaining asses to be too heavy two years later to get out and do the same thing. And because of that, many of our kids are losing out on athletics and school buses, teachers have been let go, and we continue to scrape by on a shoestring. Not because there are more people in this town who oppose school levies than people who don't. But because of the apathy of those who didn't think it mattered one way or another. Who might have ticked "Yes" on their ballot if someone had dragged them by their ear to their polling place so they could take five fucking minutes to do one simple task that means so much to so many.

His buddies didn't die face down in the muck
 so you could sit home on election day
I don't want to hear your excuses. I don't even care who you vote for or why. Doesn't matter. Even the people I disagree with understand why we do this simple ritual every couple years, and that the moment we all stop doing it is the day we lose for good. Right now, your lack of a vote is advancing the agenda of someone who is counting on you doing just what you're doing now. The same way criminals count on fewer police officers on the streets, so they can continue to get away with their nefarious deeds.

There is no such thing as a perfect choice or a perfect candidate or a government without corruption. There are people grown up enough to take their rights seriously and there are children trapped in adult bodies who think the world still owes them something before they can be motivated to get off their asses and make a difficult and less-than-perfect choice. If you are the latter, grow up.

Get out there and vote. Damn you.