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 V.17 No.39 | September 25 - October 1, 2008 

Feature

I'm Not Going to Vote

And here's why

Eric Williams

We here at the Alibi spend a good chunk of pulp every year reminding people to cast a ballot, printing voter FAQs and rallying for turnout at the polls. Troughs of ink go into printing election guides. We put a lot of research and time into interviewing politicos—as does the rest of the nation.

Eric Williams

Reporters thrust microphones into voters' faces as they exit their polling locations. Political thugs gnash it out on news channels. Supporters chant and hold signs and eat up camera time at campaign stops.

But who never gets interviewed? The people who didn't show up. The citizens who choose, actively, not to vote. After taking phone calls and reading e-mails for weeks, I'm convinced: These people aren’t lazy. They’re not apathetic. They just don’t believe in their government or the people running it. They’ve been let down, and who can blame them? To all who contacted me, thanks for going out of your way to explain yourselves.

When politicians go home at night, they should toss and turn a little over why nonvoters don't trust them enough to pull the lever.

"I Never Care About the Party"

I'm not going to vote for a couple of good (to me) reasons: Obama is too inexperienced for the job; McCain is too old and inflexible for the job.

I never care about the party they are with. I look at the person and study on their history. I have always voted that way. (My grandfather always just pulled the Democratic lever, never sure of who he was voting for. I can't do that.) And this year, I can't vote. Both these people, I'm sure, are good people but will not make good presidents. So this year I'm a nonvoter.

—Gary O'Connell

"Skull and Bones or Masons"

I'm not going to vote because it's just a waste of my time. A big waste of time. And why? Why should I vote, because our last few presidents have been either Skull and Bones or Masons? And it's just not even worth it any more. They can just rig it. It's all set up. Goodbye.

—Anonymous caller

"Flip a Coin"

The last time I voted was 1968 for George Wallace. As he said back then, "Tweedledee, Tweedledum, flip a coin, there isn't a dime's worth of difference." Plus, we have more government than we need, more damn laws than anybody can keep up with, and I think the bureaucrats are the cause of the problems and not the solutions.

So, therefore, I think they can take all that campaign money that they're spending—$27 million I think McCain got last month—and help some of these people who've been through floods and tornadoes and everything else, earthquakes, and lost everything they've got. That money would be better spent on them rather than trying to figure out whether Tweedledee's any better than Tweedledum. So I'm not going to waste my time. ...

As far as Congress, if I was to run for legislature, my platform would be to introduce legislation to stop the introduction of legislation and go back through everything they've passed in the last 20 years at least and see how much of that is probably not necessary or a waste of taxpayer money.

—Doug Walker

"It Doesn't Matter Who You Vote For"

... They will say anything they think their audience of the moment wants to hear, and no reasonable person believes for a second that, once elected, a politician will actually keep all the promises they made during their campaign.

That aside, there is something even more sinister. It doesn't matter who you vote for. The ultimate results will be the same regardless of who wins the fabricated race. Government leaders worldwide are controlled by larger-than-life politics that operate clandestinely behind the scenes, and their will will be done, come hell or high water, guaranteed. ...

I am seriously thinking about not wasting my time in November. But, most likely, I'll do what I've always done and drag my unhappy ass to the polls, even though I should know better.

—Jim Rishe

"Congress Has Far More Power"

I will not be voting for a major party candidate for president in the upcoming election. (If he is on the ballot, I will vote for Ron Paul.)

No matter who the president is, he must get his legislation through Congress. If Congress refuses to pass his legislation or if Congress drastically rewrites his legislation, the president can do virtually nothing. Even if he vetoes a bill, Congress can pass the bill over his veto.

Congress has far more power than does the president. The emphasis should be placed on the elections for members of the House of Representatives. Representatives must stand for re-election every two years, hence they are closest to the voters and are the easiest to watch, control and replace. In addition, the Constitution requires that all spending bills originate in the House, thus giving the House full control over spending. I am certain that most Americans would acknowledge that federal spending must be brought under control, and only the House of Representatives can do so. The president cannot. ...

—Steven Dapra

"Another 18 Freaking Agencies"

You might as well be voting for the other company's CEO. I'm totally disenfranchised. I think we have a bunch of authoritarians and none of them—I mean, neither of these guys—is actually talking about reducing the power of the imperial presidency. All they talk about is getting their clammy little hands on the reins.

It's like, Guys, if you really wanted votes from the people, you'd be talking about reducing this nonsense. We have no business, honestly, in either Iraq or Afghanistan. And now these guys are talking about the Iranians as though we need to start running their affairs.

Obama has not talked anything about reducing the power of the presidency itself. Nobody's talked about things like eliminating the Department of Homeland Security. Totally out of line. Every time something happens, these guys come up with another 18 freaking agencies that everyone has to pay for, whether they approve of it or not.

I remember Reagan—everybody talks about, "Oh, it's Mr. Small Government and he's going to reduce the debt." Now what happened with that guy? More government, more debt. All the stuff he talked about, he didn't mean a word of it.

And that's kind of how I feel about these guys. I just don't trust what they're saying. ... I'm almost 50 years old, and I look around me, and all I see is a constantly expanding authoritarian bureaucracy. They want to make decisions about everything in my life, whether it's the Democrats or the Republicans.

—Brian Komen

"Maybe She'll Bring Some Sense"

When Obama won the Democratic nomination, I decided I wasn't going to vote, because McCain and Obama—there's really not much of a choice. But now that there's a woman running with McCain, I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt when I hear what her political aspirations are. I think she might even be better than Hillary. So I may vote for McCain only because of this new gal that's going to run with him. Maybe she'll bring some sense into all this politician stuff.

—Anonymous caller

"This Is Our Pretend Freedom"

Mostly because the president doesn't control the economy, and it's big business that controls the economy. So regardless of my vote for McCain or Obama, I feel that it doesn't matter because it's big business. It's McDonald's, it's GM, just all the wealthy people up there who control the actual decisions. ...

I believe that this government is a terrorist government. This is a terrorist state. We go into other countries like Nicaragua and places like that and overthrow democratic leaders. That's happened with almost every single president.

I don't feel like there's a choice. This is our pretend freedom. They fool the people by saying, "Here, you get to vote for this person or this person."

—Jon Garcia

"He Still Got to Deal with the KKK"

So you want to know why I'm not going to vote? Because I'm a 57-year-old African-American male. And what I'd really like to say is they have 42 percent of the Black people in America in prison, and we make up 12 percent of the American population ... . As an African-American male, I don't drink. I don't smoke. I've been a vegetarian for eight years. I don't see no point in voting. We still living in bad times. He [Obama] not going to do no good for America, because he still got to deal with the KKK. If they kill him before January, the other man going to be president. I don't vote. I know a whole lot of Black people not going to vote at all for nobody.

—Anonymous caller

"I Was Convicted of a Marijuana-Related Felony"

Well, first there's the reason why I'm not, and then there's the reason why it doesn't matter that I'm not—to me. I'm not going to vote because I was convicted on a marijuana-related felony in Virginia, and I'm on probation for it. And as long as I'm on probation for it, I'm not allowed to vote.

That's a real problem. It's a problem all over the country. In New Mexico, it's not so bad, because once I'm off probation I will again be allowed to vote. But in many states, including Virginia, you're not allowed to vote if you've ever been convicted of a felony. That means when you consider the huge proportion, for instance, of Black people who are convicted of felonies relating to things like marijuana (or whatever, it doesn't matter), they are never going to be allowed to vote. Millions of people in this country cannot vote, cannot take part.

However, in the coming election, were I able to vote, I would only vote in local elections. I would not vote in the national elections. ...

I could not accept that George Bush and Dick Cheney and Karl Rove represented Republicans. I felt like they were like some of the militant groups on the far right or the far left. I didn't see them as being actually what Republicans believed or stood for. It certainly isn't conservative.

I cannot in good conscience participate in that kind of an election now. In doing so, I'm legitimizing the kinds of things that both parties have been doing for the last 25 years or more. I'm 60-plus years old, and I watched it change. And I'm way beyond being disappointed in what the American government has become. I see the national government, to a large degree, as a criminal conspiracy. I wish the world court would hold some of our national politicians accountable.

—Alan

"I'm Not Sure Who Really Won"

I don't feel like the system for recording the votes is really up to a point that we can count on. The last two elections have been really close. There's a margin of error and a margin of victory, and the margin of victory has been small and I feel like the margin of error has been really large. ...

There's a lot of stuff that's out of everybody's control, and programs that aren't really that solid and hackers. There's a lot of old people that run these things, and the computers are all new to them. After the election in 2000, everybody ran out and bought computers to do the job.

Before that, there really hadn't been a lot of problems with their counting. Now with these computers, they're funky. They screw up a lot. I don't understand why everybody's so excited about this election, because it's going to be super close, and the last two elections have been pretty flaky. I'm not sure who really won, and I'm not sure why everybody wants to do that again and just hope and trust that the system is working when we don't have any evidence to suggest that it is.

Everybody's all about voting, but there's nothing that is going to guarantee that voting really even matters.

—Justin Bagley

"I Was Told To Be Socially Responsible"

Demographically, I was born and raised in the South; Mobile, Ala. Forty-seven years of age. I was born in 1960. I have never voted. Back when I was 9-years-old, I saw the Vietnam War, and it had a major impact on my life. I had two brothers that went to Vietnam, and fortunately, they came home. As I grew up, I began to—not as a conspiracy theorist but as a rationalist and a realist—I began to look into how the war happened and why we lost face so bad and what was the real purpose behind it.

I discovered that it was big corporate money that funded the war, and it wasn't for anything, and a lot of good people died. As I researched further in my life, in my 20s and 30s, I began to realize that there's a huge political machine in place that doesn't really care about the rest of the population. ...

There's not much that an individual—on an independent scale or on an otherwise scale—is going to do to make a difference. ... You've got the Democrats raising over $400 million to campaign. They're politically backed, if you will, by every single media outlet that there is. ...

We need real leadership, and nobody's willing to stand up to the organizations that have disenfranchised Americans.

I was told to be socially responsible. I was told to be a good businessperson. I was told to help grow the economy by being a smart entrepreneur. That's what I can do in my backyard that is proactive politically to support my local community.

—Scott Thompson

"A Lot of Us Work"

I know that I don't vote—I haven't voted in the last two years—because I know there's a lot at stake. Because of that, it makes it hard to make a decision.

The news outlets on our TVs don't give us any information. They focus on very shallow things, race and whatnot, and it's not what's most important on people's minds. They don't give us meat or substance. They don't say, "This person voted for this, this is this person's track record," and allow us to vote off of that.

A lot of us work. I work two jobs. I don't have the Internet. I can't afford it. So I can't go and look up people's voting records. Where do you go to find this information? To see what these candidates really do with their power instead of just what they say they do through little snippets of commercials?

When we can get that done, I'll vote. Because then I can vote with a good conscience and not just pick somebody based on stupid reasons.

—Anonymous caller

"All These Moral Standards"

The reason why I don't vote is because they're all liars. And, anyway, elections count electoral votes and not popular votes. What's that guy's name who just got busted? John Edwards was going to run for president with all these moral standards, and he's cheating on his wife. They're all liars—all the way down to our local government. Anyways, you have a very nice day, and we love your magazine! Alibi rocks!

—Anonymous caller

Voting? Not voting? Either way, you can read about this year’s national and local candidates in the Alibi’s Election Guide, hitting stands Oct. 30.

 
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