Uptown Bourgeois is a word-focused blog created by new York-based freelance writer Jefferey spivey. UB explores universal themes through a black, queer lens. 

Choosing Not To Vote Means Choosing 4 Years Of Silence

If you don’t vote, you lose your right to have a political opinion.

While Facebook rants can be fun and drum up support for your beliefs amongst family, friends, and random people you friended because you felt bad rejecting them, voting is really the most official way to prove that you give a shit.

The only people I know who actively choose not to vote are the conspiracy theorists.  The ones who still hide their money in their mattresses because they don’t trust banks.  The ones who think 2Pac is vacationing on a private island somewhere. The ones who believe Beyoncé and Jay-Z are part of the Illuminati. 

I won’t deny that there are various precincts across the country where voters are sometimes disenfranchised for dubious reasons.  I also won’t deny that the one time I sent in an absentee ballot, I couldn’t help but think some disgruntled poll worker threw it out with their lunch.  But still, this will not stop me from going out on April 19 to cast my vote.  Because getting involved matters more now than ever.

“If you think about it, what system isn’t flawed?”

I mean, if you think about it, what system isn’t flawed? Do you think officials actually tabulate EVERY single vote on The Voice?  Or that your neighbor’s eight-year reign as PTA president was the result of unequivocally fair and unbiased voting procedures?

No process is perfect.  But just because it doesn’t meet your impossibly high systemic standards doesn’t mean the entire electoral process should be null and void.  Take caucuses for instance. I thank God every day that I live in a state where caucuses don’t take place.  I could only imagine the UFC-style championship that would take place in a room full of New York voters trying to convince each other to vote for their favorite candidate.  ‘I can’t believe you’re votin’ fa Trump. Fuck outta here!”  I think that political caucuses have to be one of the biggest wastes of time and energy.  And I think they encourage small scale mutiny.  But I don’t want to abandon American politics altogether because of this. 

In a sense, I think choosing not to vote is a vote.  Clearly, if you don’t participate, you are choosing to accept whoever is chosen as your party’s candidate.  And ultimately, you’re choosing to accept whoever lands in the White House as the country’s next fearless leader.  If that leader ends up having orange skin and a painfully obvious toupee, you’ll just have to shrug your shoulders, SMH, and keep your mouth shut.  Because you had a chance to speak through your vote and you opted out.

“Choosing not to vote is a vote.”

GIPHY

GIPHY

You see, most people I’ve encountered who don’t want to vote are also not well versed in politics.  By no means are they ever activists who feel they can influence government decisions by other means.  Either they’re intimidated by the complicated nature of politics, or they don’t believe in its ethics, or they’re too concerned with the number of likes on their latest selfie to care.  The best excuse is when someone is too busy to vote.  Unless you’re one of the candidates, there is nothing more important than getting to your polling place.

If you sit on the sidelines during an election, you’re pretty much solidifying your right to silence for the next 4 years.  Any time you challenge a policy or roll your eyes at a government news story or even take to Facebook to share your opinion, it simply won’t matter.  Because even though you think no one care hear you even when you vote, your voice is especially muted when you do nothing.  A tweet doesn’t count as doing something.  Voting does.

Regardless of what you believe or who you support, the most American thing you can do is head to the polls on your primary date.  And again during the general election.  The only true way to be a part of the conversation is to put your vote where your mouth is.

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