Why I Don’t Vote

In a previous post, I mentioned liberty requires we exercise our rights. Specific examples I had mind when writing that include speaking out against injustice, not granting law enforcement permission to search your property if they request to do so without a warrant, and exercising your right to remain silent when the cops tell you anything you say “can and will be used against you.” My list does have one glaring, yet deliberate, omission: voting.

I’ve explained why I don’t vote in the past, but since we’re upon the latest edition of “The Most Important Election Of Your Lifetime,” I thought now would be an opportune time to expound on the topic.

Personally, I believe in checks and balances, free markets and private property, free speech, freedom of religion, a presumption of innocence, probable cause for searches and seizures, due process, peace, and the freedom of people to live their life as they see fit as long as that person “neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

You be the judge if the following stories show a government reflecting these values:

-Depending on the source, anywhere from 60% to 80% of government spending is not subject to congressional approval.

-Do either the Democrats or Republicans see a problem with a government, over $17 trillion in debt as of this writing, operating where a majority of its spending is on autopilot? The Democratic leadership says there are no more cuts to make. Sound familiar? It should: Republican leaders say the same thing.

-The Executive Branch claims the power to indefinitely detain citizens, engages in dragnet surveillance, argues in favor of renditions, secretly operates its drone war in the Middle East, and in general routinely violates federal law. The courts are not providing a meaningful check to the Executive Branch. Neither is Congress.

-The Internal Revenue Service violates basic constitutional protections via its everyday activities.

-Opposition to religious freedom comes from both the left and the right.

-Conservative opposition to eminent domain use for private interests proves to be more cosmetic than substantive.

-Bipartisan support for criminal justice pork has further militarized domestic law enforcement.

Police misconduct is enabled by the “blue code of silence” and apathy from those who should provide oversight. If anything, current policies actually ENCOURAGE misconduct. Qualified immunity and “good faith exceptions” further protect bad actors.

-Qualified immunity also explains how prosecutorial misconduct is allowed to run rampant. As the link explains, instead of providing a check on misconduct, courts often pass the buck, claiming bad prosecutors will face sanctions and disbarment when, in fact, this rarely occurs.

Does voting for elected office have any discernible impact in reining these problems in? Or do the men and women seeking higher office, more often than not, SUPPORT the very policies and actions cited above (particularly when their side is in power)?

For me, a vote isn’t just an endorsement for a particular candidate. My vote gives the entire war-making, binge-spending, overregulating, Bill-of-Rights-be-damned, crony-capitalist, rent-seeking, consolidation-of-power form of government my seal of approval. A vote for federal office reinforces the status quo.

Everyone needs to follow their conscience. If you think your vote legitimately changes the status quo (or if you support the status quo), then go out to the polls, cast your ballot, and wear that taxpayer-subsidized “I Voted” sticker with pride. For the sake of my conscience, I will once again stay away from the voting booth on Election Day, as I can’t give sanction to the results that are guaranteed to follow.

**UPDATE 10/22/14: Another issue not covered during any election cycle: being punished for crimes you aren’t convicted of.

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