The late great American philosopher and thinker, George Carlin got me thinking a few years back about stuff. He was fabulous at making people think.
One of the things Carlin mentioned was the fact that he never votes. That struck a small cord with me as I have on occasion done the same when I thought circumstances dictated it. When I thought there was no one and no party worth my vote.
Carlin says he never votes because if you vote, you are supporting and perpetuating a failed system.
Since jumping into social media these last few months, I now realize George Carlin was indeed correct!
Twitter is my personal favourite platform. It’s highly informative. And it is twitter that has convinced me that voting is the worst thing we can do, if we think our systems of government are flawed.
Take America, one of the most polarized and broken nations on earth. On twitter you see and can connect with everyone. The “never Trumpers”, the “Liberals”, the “Progressives”, “Moderates”, “Anarchists”, “Eco-hippy Greens”, “Wall Streeters”, “Democrats”, “Republicans”, “Civil Rights groups”, “pro Gun lobby”, “anti gun groups”, “Christian fundamentalists”, “Corporate lobbiests”, “Academics”, Trolls, etc…..
Many voters belong to more than one group, but generally, most of these groups blame other groups for the increasingly violent disintegration of American society. With ever increasing passion, because most of these groups are totally sure they are correct in what they say.
Which is exactly why voting for any of them is the wrong thing to do.
It has been shown in several studies that the public opinions’ of the majority of Americans and political outcomes in America are totally unrelated. That is, US political parties of either colour carry out nothing that the majority of people actually want them to do. Literally NOTHING.
Here is a new example just seen on twitter today…..
Most Americans want peaceful and productive relations with China – of course they do. But what are successive American governments doing? The exact opposite of what American voters want them to do. American adminstrations are increasingly provoking China across the board and circulating offensive propaganda about it.
America is facing an existential crisis. The utter circus that is the US electoral system only worsens that crisis. There is simply too wide a gulf between the hardcore Democratic and Republican voters now and their respective media megaphones. These media megaphones destroy any chance of moderation and co-operation. Each side is becoming more entrenched. More intolerant. Note I said there’s a wide gulf between voters. This gulf is not so apparent between the parties themselves.
Voting only makes this process worse. Each tribe takes its “turn” occupying the Whitehouse and Congress but what actually ever changes?
Sure, taxes might go up a bit sometimes, but they always come back down again next time when your friends come back to power.
This is no accident.
The American political and societal process is akin to the difference between “weather” and “climate”.
Weather changes from day to day, sometimes more sun in spring, sometimes more rain. But overall, we always know what spring will be like each year. In other words, weather changes every day, but the climate does not. (excluding the climate change debate).
In American politics and society, party representative ratios (the weather) change each election cycle, yielding a little more of this or a little less of that, but the political climate in America changes hardly at all.
No matter which party is in power, there will never be a proper health care system in America, as all other western nations, and other poorer nations have. No matter which party has power, there will never be gun control in America. America will support Israel to the last breath, irrespective of what Americans actually want or which party they voted for or what is right. Banks and financial institutions will always be safe in America as tax payer money will always be used to bail them out, no matter which colour is installed in power. Lobbiest will always reign in Washington. Forever.
Coming back to the example of China. WIth the advent of social, global, private citizen media at the speed of light, it is increasingly difficult for elite systems of power to maintain their propaganda. Pre covid, international travel by westerners to exotic locations such as China, Cuba, even Iran had taken off. Communications with these nations is now simple and instant via social media. Inter-racial and inter-cultural marriages are much more commonplace now. Ordinary people are slowly realizing the truth.
An even worse example is WAR. It is quite disgusting how any drum beat to war in Washington – no matter how tenuous or immoral – is quickly supported and amplified by the US media of all stripes, all political figures and eventually, the American people.
What is point of voting if the outcomes on domestic social issues and international issues like war are always the same? Did it matter to the people of Libya that a Black, “Liberal,” peace prize winner was occupying the Whitehouse when their affluent and well run nation was substantially destroyed with that peace prize winner’s administrations’ help? The modern and bustling Libya of President Gadaffi has been replaced by down-town slave markets in its capital city Tripoli. It doesn’t matter to the people of Iraq, Libya, Venezeuala or anywhere else, including the USA itself, which US party holds power – the outcomes are aways the same.
The elites who take the decisions to destroy nations such as Libya or Iraq have no interest in the welfare of ordinary Americans – the voters. They only do what benefits them, decade after decade.
The elites are slowly losing their grip over ordinary people. Eventually, their grip over our minds will be gone. This might sound great if you’re someone who thinks your society is in need of an overhaul. The huge problem that would result from American elites losing control over society is, “who or what will replace the elites?”
A rapid release of the control of the elites over society would create an anarchic scramble for control by one or more of the “we’re always 100% correct” groups mentioned above. There would be chaos as attempts were made to fill the void. Perhaps even a minor civil war would eventuate.
So the elites grip over us must be released slowly and in a controlled manner. In a way that doesn’t create ever more conflict between tribes, who are all sure they are the answer and want to be in charge. Because of course, none of the competing tribes in the world are the answer, in and of themselves.
The void created by the demise of the elites, when it comes, must be filled slowly and controllably.
The control of the elites therefore must be released slowly and controllably. So that the majority of people have the time to see what is happening to their society and why.
The best way to slowly loosen control of the elites in a calm, but highly aware manner, is to excercise your right to peaceful civil disobedience. Right from your own couch in fact.
On every election day, STAY HOME – don’t vote.
Taking decades for mindful individuals to slowly reduce the voter turnout, cycle after cycle, creates the time and space for everyone to increasingly ponder and discuss calmly, “why is this happening”?
Voters, pundits, politicians, maybe even America’s historical non-voters will have the time and opportunity to discuss why voter turnout in the 2040 US Presidential election was 26% for example.
At this future point, a 26% voter turnout, everyone would be required to engage in the question, “what is wrong with our system of democracy?” There would be no propaganda, no political double talk or false media analysis that could answer this question.
The question of what is wrong with American democracy would have to be faced head on at long last. And it could be done peacefully and respectfully.
Well, that is the hope. A leopard doesn’t change its spots, but maybe a slow series of genetic mutations, created over time, might have the same effect as it changing its spots.
It might seem contradictory to support democracy by not voting, but I believe it is the best way to overhaul a broken democracy, such that America’s surely is.
It won’t happen overnight, but with clever thinking and respectful conversations, it can eventually happen. And if America can tackle its myriad of complex issues – peacefully for once – it can actually be a society to emulate.
But sadly, we’re a long way off from that point. For the sake of the American people themselves I hope they start fixing their democracy by “not voting” straight away.
Otherwise, there won’t be much left to fix.