What if they held an election and nobody came?

I first saw that question posed by Billy Beck some years ago on Usenet, and have seen him pose it a few times since.

I live in California, so there’s an election today. Just rounding the corner for the homestretch of my morning walk with Rotor, I happen upon my next-door neighbor, Brian. He’s on his way back from the elementary school the next block over where he had just cast his ballot. We exchange the standard set of pleasantries, and then he asks me if I’d voted yet.

“Nope. Not going to.”

“Oh yeah? How come?”

“For one, it’s not worth my time. For another, I find it more than a bit pretentious that I should go and advocate a set of things I wish to be imposed upon others at the expense of others. I prefer to pay my own way.”

“Hmm. Well, I don’t think you’re ever going to see that.”

“Indeed. I’ll tell you this though. I might someday be persuaded to vote again if they ever put ‘none of the above’ as a choice on every office and issue.”

“heh heh—I don’t think you’ll ever see that one either.”

And then, after that whole exchange, this:

“I just still go and vote every election.”

Wow, what a ringing, enthusiastic endorsement for exercising one’s “franchise.” It’s like, ‘yea, I know it’s one big waste of time, futile, and it’s not going to change a damn thing, but I’m just going to go do it anyway because I can’t think of any other choice.’

I would simply point out to those unhappy with the trend this nation has taken that the whole logic of its course begins at the ballot box. Once you accept that democratic vote is the last word in public policy for a nation, you have already lost the battle against that nation’s ultimate demise.

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