Opinion | Don‘t vote

By Adam Gorcyca, Columnist

Nowadays there is no larger fault in the public eye than apathy. We’re forced to constantly form opinions on every topic despite our interest or expertise. This holds especially true in the realm of politics.

The apolitical have become a sort of boogie man to both sides of the aisle. Republicans and Democrats alike have convinced the public that by not voting you’re refusing to uphold the responsibilities of an American citizen, thereby destroying our country as a result.

This political peer pressure cannot continue any longer. It’s OK not to care. It’s OK not to vote.

Due to the theatrical nature of politics, it often seems as if the only way to positively impact our lives and the lives of others is through the support of our politicians — whose entire objective is to get your vote. This downplays the effect individuals can have on their communities.

Instead of spending countless hours supporting a candidate who claims they’ll use their position to fight the homelessness epidemic in American cities, it’d be far more beneficial to go out and volunteer at a homeless shelter.

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By making a direct contribution to your community, you can make sure that your efforts are actually being put toward issues you care about. In politics, on the other hand, billions of dollars are wasted every year on duplicative and frivolous spending. 

In the final two days of 2018 alone, 67 federal agencies were responsible for wasting your tax dollars to buy over $300,000 worth of alcohol, $4.6 million worth of lobster tail and $600,000 worth of golf carts.

Why should it be a moral obligation for citizens to vote for the people responsible for overseeing and appointing the heads of these wasteful agencies?

Taking a break from politics can also be beneficial for individuals’ mental health.

According to a study conducted over the last election cycle, Americans are reporting politics as a significant source of stress in their daily lives. The 2020 election increased stress levels, sleep deprivation, political anxiety and suicidal thoughts — especially for those who are young and politically active.

It’s far more important for Americans to worry about and take care of themselves before getting in a fluster over the latest political gobbledygook. The stress and anxiety of your own life is potent and can spread to those around you. 

Constant stress causes meaningless fights and damages relationships with the ones closest to you. Nobody wants to go to Thanksgiving with Uncle Joe spewing anti-vax conspiracies and Aunt Carol spouting her Communist manifesto while everybody else just wants to enjoy their turkey.

Despite not having strong emotions toward politics, many Americans still feel peer pressure to vote to show everyone they’re a “good citizen.” But voting without political knowledge actually hurts our democracy.

This is because it allows politicians who run on empty promises to gain power. Politicians who promise the world seem very appealing at a glance, but under scrutiny, their promises fall apart.

Deciding to vote without informing yourself about all the candidates contributes to the continual propping up of these political con men. The more unskilled politicians in power, the weaker our government becomes.

This is not to cast any judgment on the politically uninformed. Some may say it’s a duty, even a moral obligation to politically educate ourselves and cast judgment on those who vote blindly, but this is easier said than done. 

It’s not so simple to watch hours of candidate debates and the talking heads’ political analysis for those working monotonous jobs for over 40 hours a week to keep a roof over their heads.

If you still have reservations about not voting, just remember you won’t be alone. 

It’s easy to convince yourself that by not voting, you’re casting yourself to a fringe group in America, left to be judged by all of those “good citizens.”

This, however, is the opposite of reality. 

Non-voters are not a fringe group, far from it. For decades, voter turnout has hovered around 60% in America. This means that by not voting, you’d be joining the largest political movement in America, far outnumbering both Democrats and Republicans who struggle to capture even 30% of the electorate.

The phrase “knowledge is power” gets thrown around a lot. It’s used to emphasize how you need to be well informed and engaged if you want to be someone that makes a difference. But let’s not forget how this phrase ends.

“Ignorance is bliss.”

Sometimes, if all you want is happiness in your life, it’s best to just turn away from all the political turmoil in our country. And, after all, who would want power in a miserable world?


Adam is a sophomore in LAS.

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