“There is no such thing as not voting: you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some Diehard’s vote.”
—David Foster Wallace
Another big election is peeking its gigantic, mass-mediated noggin around the corner. It’s almost here, and if we rely solely on the U.S. media for our info we might believe we have only two choices: Democrat or Republican.
Believing there are only two voting options is like assuming we have only two beverage choices: Coke or Pepsi. You might prefer the taste of one over the other, but they’re essentially the same: it’s a faux-choice, and thus not much of a choice at all.
The truth is we have myriad options—not just Coke or Pepsi, not just Democrat or Republican. We can choose to live more consciously, realizing and understanding our options. Instead of cola, we can drink water or green drinks; instead of the dominant political parties, we can vote Libertarian or Green Party (or write in Ryan Nicodemus). Irrespective of our choice, we can ignore what we’re “supposed” to do and, instead, follow our hearts.
Some people might argue you’re throwing away your vote, but if you follow your heart, it’s never in vain—even when you know you’re going to lose. That goes for relationships, health, politics, or any other area of life—if you follow your heart, you can lose only once; if you don’t follow your heart, you may lose a thousand times, a trail of scattered regrets strewn throughout the landscape in the rearview.
We have no interest in propagating our own political ideologies here; rather, we want to encourage you to be true to yourself. Drink your cola and vote the party line if that’s what your heart tells you to do; if it doesn’t, there are always other options.
Read this essay and 150 others in our new book, Essential.