Protest (Photo: Niek Verlaan/Pixabay)

(Photo: Niek Verlaan/Pixabay)

For the next few elections, I am proposing something new: don’t vote. Now, to many this may sound blasphemous or unpatriotic. They will say you are not doing your civic duty and such actions are un-American. Growing up, I was indoctrinated over and over by teachers, family, friends, media, etc. to vote; even if you are not happy about candidates or the platform, still vote. This is the power of the citizen. This is how our Republic functions and this democratic experiment continues.

Well, I have news for everyone; we are no longer a Republic. Try oligarchy, at best. The corporations’ control our representatives; lobbyists have legitimized their ability not to “influence” but out right buy politicians against our interests. I am sorry to break this to everyone, but your vote does not matter.

I do not say this proudly but with a bit of heartache and dismay. I grew up believing we were this nation that exhibited exceptionalism. Those beliefs were shattered as I began to see what was truly going on.

I am not going to say that all our representatives are bad or have sold themselves out; some have maintained their integrity, this is without a doubt. One of my personal heroes is Dr. Ron Paul, who was one of the few consistent voices in Congress.

So back to the main point, why not vote?

The notion that has been systematically indoctrinated into me and millions of my fellow citizens was if you don’t vote then you can’t complain. Simultaneously, we saw the “Get the Vote Out” campaign marketed by famous actors, athletes, etc. Here is the problem: if I vote then I can’t complain because I legitimated the system, gave it mandate, and chose one of the two candidates who in reality are almost always monolithic but use social issues as a wedge to fool the masses.

If I do not vote, then I have all the right in the world to complain. By not voting, I am dissenting not to an issue or topic or war but to the system and mechanisms that have institutionalized corruption and the business oligarchy.

Howard Zinn, not Thomas Jefferson, once said that dissent is the greatest form of patriotism. By withholding our votes we are sending a message that the masses have finally awaken from the stupor and state of ignorance.

Today our system is made of two parties, the Democrats and Republicans. What we can attribute as difference between them is what their stance is on social issues, which in reality should not affect us on a national level. This should be a local/state issue. Yet, these two parties have ingeniously spun the political process around such issues instead of matters of the economy, foreign affairs, and other urgent and national issues. They have shut out all third parties for ever having a chance in national stage. So, how will not voting help?

The recent ascent of the Republicans into control of both Houses will not be any different than what we have seen before yet people think somehow change will come. Sorry, it is more of the same.

It will steal the claim, which all candidates of both sides always mention, they have a mandate. No longer will they have a mandate. When turnout is low, they cannot claim anything and when this continues for a few election cycles, then they will realize change is needed. The system they claim to have been leading will no longer exist.

Democracy has not failed; instead it will be thriving because we are using the ballot box to express our frustrations and anger by eliminating their purpose and “mandate” for existence.

Again, if there is a third party candidate in your area, vote for them rather than a Republican or Democrat. If any third party candidate shares your ideology, be it Libertarian, Green party, etc. vote for them. When we kick the bums to the street and take away their raison d’être they will have no choice but to change. The people will be able to retake their country and put America on the principles that made us great.

So as for the 2016 election, think about the candidates and ask if they are truly your representative; does he/she represent adequate views for the interest of your family, society, and country? Or is he/she another prostitute of the lobbying mechanism that has not only embedded itself in the system but institutionalized itself like a 4th branch of government without any checks or balances upon it.

As we come to this election, think about the founding philosophy of this nation, how the founding fathers despised politicians and making politics a career rather than a public service, for a limited term, to better one’s nation.

They did not believe in foreign entanglements yet we have weaved a web of foreign interactions all over the world.

Look at your candidates and right away ignore the ones from the two main parties. If none are to your satisfaction then stay home, dissent.

This grassroot and peaceful revolution will allow us to take back what was granted to us by the founders of this nation. The continuation of one of the greatest experiment in mankind that began 238 years can still go ahead but it’s up to us.

Don’t vote!