“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
The big presidential 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, then we might believe we have only two choices: Democrat vs. Republican.
But believing there are only two voting options is like assuming we have only two beverage choices: Coke vs. Pepsi. Clearly, this point of view is flawed. Sure, you might enjoy the taste of one over the other, but they’re both essentially the same thing. That choice is a faux-choice and thus is really not a choice at all.
The truth is that 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 main 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.
Aren’t we just throwing away our votes then?
If you follow your heart, it’s never in vain. Sometimes you have to follow your heart even when you know you’re going to lose. That goes for relationships, health, politics, or any other area of life. Because if you follow your heart, you can lose only once. But if you don’t, you may lose a thousand times, a trail of scattered regrets strewn throughout the landscape in the rearview.
I have no interest in propagating my own political views here. Rather, I simply want to encourage you to be true to yourself. Drink your pop and vote the party line if that’s what your heart tells you to do. But if it doesn’t, then there are always other options.