Monday, November 3, 2008

Why I Vote

There are lots of reasons to vote. But here's my big, simple reason. It has nothing to do with patriotism. It has nothing to do with the rarity and preciousness of the right to choose who operates your government for you, which has never been enjoyed by the vast majority of humanity throughout history. It has nothing to do with our fathers and grandfathers and founding fathers who put their lives on the line so that we would continue to enjoy that right in our own country, as well as grant that right to others in distant countries. It has nothing to do with our grandmothers and great-grandmothers who marched stoically in the streets, looking like scandalous buffoons, to get a right they should have been granted but weren't because it was "common knowledge" that women were idiots. It has nothing to do with the people who were beaten bloody by our own public servants simply because they tried to register to vote.

No, it's a very simple, practical reason. I don't trust that many people. I don't trust that they'll do a better job than I would. I work very hard, and think carefully before I act. I don't often see others doing the same. So there's no way that I'm going to leave major decisions—about my money, about where I can and can't live, about who I can and can't live with, about how I run my business, about the food I eat, about the safety of my neighborhood, about the safety of my country and the way it behaves toward the rest of the world—to somebody else. And that's what happens when you don't vote. You're trusting that other people are better at making those decisions for you than you are at making them for yourself.

Maybe you're a knucklehead. Maybe everyone else is better at making those decisions than you are. But if you're not, then you need to vote.

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