Dangerous Compassions

not voting

I don’t vote–I stopped voting a couple years ago.  I’m a peaceful anarchist, the non-gun kind.

First I felt like no one represented me.  There was no good choice.  I tried to find someone who represented me but not even close.

Then I was like, well, I volunteer a lot.  I feed the hungry.  I help run a Catholic Worker house.  I help run an interfaith peace organization that puts on events bringing new and old activists together to make peace and transform lives, politicizing people in the beautiful Mojave desert.  I run a radical mental health collective.

I heard the idea that we vote with our actions.  So when I feed the hungry, it’s like voting–I’m doing something to change the world.

I’ve also heard the idea that we vote with our dollars.  It’s hard to buy local in this city.  There are some farmers markets but not close to where we live.

The quote, “If voting changed anything, it would be illegal,” sticks with me.  Seems like an exercise in futility.  Especially with a two-party system.  I am far, far from being a Democrat or Republican.

But I have friends who are really into voting.  I see their messages on facebook saying stuff like the suffragists devoted their lives to your right to vote, and you aren’t going to use it?  Or there’s the idea that if you don’t vote, you can’t complain.

Voting takes just a few minutes, usually.  I guess it depends.  I feel weird about people’s smugness about it.  The “I voted” stickers.  As if doing an hour of research and then going into a little booth for three minutes makes you a hero.

Well, I used to like it myself.  I thought it was my duty.

Now I think it’s a charade.  Busywork, a distraction.  Big decisions are made without voting. 

I protest at a peace vigil at the federal building once a week, holding a sign.  And I demonstrate at the test site and Creech Air Force Base.  So that’s a way of expressing myself too.

If a vote is expressing yourself, I do that all the time, making zines and everything.  The blogposts I make.  The bumper stickers on our van.

I don’t necessarily want to dissuade anyone else from voting.  I think it’s a waste of time and resources and energy, but I’d like to be wrong.

I think the last time I voted was for marijuana being legal.  I don’t use it at all, nor do I drink, but I thought it would be a good idea because it’s a freedom.  It would mean less people in jail.

Well, it’s 2:15 in the morning.  I should go back to bed.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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