What’s American? Not voting.

Ted Hamilton

The right to vote – as American as apple pie, baseball, consumerism and country music.

The right not to vote – as American as mom, Kraft Mac n’ Cheese, pick-up trucks and Uncle Sam.

From the cradle to the grave, Americans are told how their right to vote is “so important” and what a necessity it is in our democratic process. Voting becomes this mythical, magical weapon that can take down the most vile beast – or scandalous politician.

While some may argue, and perhaps rightfully so, that their vote does not mean anything, we still count our right to vote as one of our most important. You just have to sit in the Student Center for five minutes to overhear the heated arguments students get into about their favorite candidate.

But what about our right not to vote? Last week my friend was sitting in the Student Center, eating her dinner, when a “politically aware” student came up holding a clip board. I think we all have seen that. The students with their clipboards clutched tightly to their chests like shields. As if it is a direct link to politics, and, like many politicians, it makes them self-important. With four exams in the coming week to focus on, an “Are you registered to vote?” while her lunch was interrupted annoyed her. She told the girl it was “none of her business” and went back to eating; however, the girl did not leave.

“She tried to tell me she was helping me,” my friend said. “I told her I could help myself just fine, thanks, and to have a nice day. I don’t know what she said after that because I just ignored her and went back to my dinner.”

My friend actually is registered to vote and was pretty active in the primaries, but she does not feel like sharing anything with some stranger.

While the right to vote is essential to our form of government, the right NOT to vote is just as important. People have the right to abstain from voting if they see fit. Whether if it is because they do not feel like they’re informed enough, do not like the candidates, dislike the democratic system or do not feel like their vote counts, they have the right to ignore the rat-race that has become our political system. The staggering amount of people who do not vote might be voting in their own way – by casting a vote of dissent and saying they do not want to contribute to a totalitarian system.

“What? This is a free country!” you might be thinking, but is it really that free? Medicinal marijuana, no matter how many tests proves its usefulness against debilitating diseases (like post-polio syndrome), is still restricted in most of our states. We are taxed for the work we do to live, even though it is unconstitutional, and the government reads our e-mails.

Choosing to not validate a corrupt political system should not be looked down upon, especially one that only offers us two choices – and that’s if you consider the parties that different from each other.

Ted Hamilton is senior magazine journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].