Thank You for Not Voting

Why your vote is not only meaningless, but downright harmful to this great nation.


Every four years Americans are asked to cast their vote for a presidential candidate, and every four years the media teams up with eighth grade civics teachers to make us feel guilty for staying home on Election Day. Well, I’m here to tell you it’s your patriotic duty not to cast a ballot.

Those of you who insist on heading for the voting booth are right to hide behind a curtain, because you’re letting your countrymen down. Here are some simple reasons why:

  1. We’re too stupid. You’ve seen the newspaper polls, heard the NPR reports, and watched Jay Leno quiz the man on the street. Most Americans aren’t even sure who won the Revolutionary War, let alone the intricacies of the modern American political system.

  2. Voting is bad for the economy. A study conducted somewhere by someone would almost certainly establish that every hour American workers stand in line to vote, our nation sacrifices $42 billion in gross national product, the biggest loss of production since pornography hit the Internet. No self-respecting capitalist should even consider participating.

  3. Voting is harmful to the environment. Do you think for one minute that those little pieces of paper punched out of ballots are collected and recycled? Don’t kid yourself. A vote for anyone is a vote against Mother Earth.

  4. Our children’s health suffers. Do you realize that a huge number of voting stations have been established in elementary school gymnasiums and auditoriums? That means that on Nov. 7, millions of students will miss out on kickball, dodgeball, rope climbing, and other activities designed to shame them into physical fitness. Go ahead and close the gym for a day. And while you’re at it, pass out a few packs of Marlboros so Tommy and Susie can dig their graves a little faster.

  5. Political participation contributes to viewership of Sunday morning talk shows. What happened to the good old days when violent cartoons and crooked preachers ruled Sunday mornings? Now every channel features some blowhard rambling about war in Azerbaijan, Bosnia, and East Tiramisu. If we stop caring about politics, it won’t be long before John McLaughlin, Sam Donaldson, and George Will have to pound the pavement in search of real jobs.

  6. Your vote is meaningless. Every so often a cute little article in the popular press details all the elections that were decided by one vote. I’ve got news for you: It ain’t gonna happen this time. It’s one thing to tally up a handful of votes for a zoning proposition in Nebraska, but this November your vote won’t add up to a damn thing: If you live in a small state like Rhode Island or Maine, your electoral votes are routinely ignored. If you live in a big state like New York or California, your vote is just one of millions. And if you live anywhere in the Midwest — well, there’s not much that politicians can do to help you anyway.

  7. Apathy rules. Pollsters estimate that millions of registered voters will stay home this Election Day. Can millions of Americans be wrong? If your answer is “No,” then you shouldn’t be voting. And if your answer is “Yes,” then clearly none of us should be voting.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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