Voting is one of, if not the most, important fundamental rights of a citizen living in a democratic society. It is the most direct and common way of political participation and, in many cases, is taken for granted. Voting is also the most powerful tool citizens can use against their government in a time of disillusionment and discontent — much like the situation we are in right now.
Nonetheless, voters in our current election cycle are almost willing to vote en masse for a candidate whom they are not very fond of, yet are willing to instinctively defend.
On top of this, President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney would like you to think they are two completely different candidates, ideologically and functionally. Romney’s rhetoric seemed to indicate this, at least up until the foreign policy debate in which Romney admitted he agreed with Obama on almost all issues such as the Afghan war, American-Israeli relations and the U.S. approach to Syria. In result to this, Vice President Joe Biden now continuously declares, “I wasn’t sure if Romney was there to endorse Barack Obama or debate him.”
Romney and Obama’s policy similarities are even more fundamental when further examined. Obama tends to proudly claim he stole a lot of Romney’s ideas for the Affordable Care Act, prompting Gov. Tim Pawlenty to coin the term, “Obamneycare,” during one of the Republican primary debates. During a 2010 interview with FOX News’ Neil Cavuto, Romney admitted the Obama-supported bank bailouts were, “the right thing to do.” Consequently, both candidates’ campaigns are heavily funded by Wall Street.
The lack of difference between the two parties is not a new phenomenon. Republican President Richard Nixon founded the Environmental Protection Agency and ended the Vietnam War. President Bill Clinton supported the conservative push to basically end any valuable Wall Street regulation through the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act. President George W. Bush campaigned on reducing the size of government, yet oversaw the largest expansion of executive power in the history of the office and drove up deficits to record levels. And now, the “leftist” and “liberal” President Obama is overseeing the assassination of American citizens overseas, a business policy which caters to the extremely rich and a level of secrecy that rivals his predecessor.
In reality, it doesn’t matter which candidate you vote for. A President Romney would make very similar decisions to a re-elected President Obama. So, if you are like me and you are tired of being forced between one of two bad candidates, then don’t vote for either of them. The great part about the general election is a completely filled out ballot is not required. You can vote for all of the other races and ballot measures you haven’t been paying attention to without voting for a presidential nominee.
Many voters are choosing between the best of two evils. Any attempt to avoid doing so results in the support of third-party candidates who will definitely not win like Rocky Anderson or Tom Hoefling. Never heard of Anderson or Hoefling? That’s exactly my point.
Also, you could always be that person who writes in “Optimus Prime.” The Cybertronian leader of the Autobots has qualities resembling both Obama and Romney given that he is a robot who can transform into whatever he wants and uses indiscriminate violence to solve international problems. A vote for Optimus Prime also almost guarantees a picture of your ballot will end up somewhere on the Internet.
Either way, deciding not to vote is the choice to make a stand against the duopolistic control Republicans and Democrats have over the American political system. Voting for a candidate you do not really like or agree with only encourages the broken and gridlocked state of affairs we are all at the mercy of. The lesser of two evils is not the candidate you don’t like the least, but rather the judgment to refuse participation in a process that is dysfunctional and produces almost no change.