Why vote? It won’t make a difference!
I like facts, because they’re unbiased. Unlike us pesky humans! Grrr!
Let’s face it, as humans we don’t have a good time with facts. The alternatives — compelling stories and well-spoken opinions, are easier to absorb. By nature, humans have no fact-receptors. We are receptive to sensory stimuli, to the environment, to the vibratory energies waving off charismatic people like simmering gas heaters against our butts.
Facts are boring.
So what makes a fact a fact? Well, lets consult Oxford Dictionary:
Dear Siri, please give me the definition of ‘Fact’
A thing that is known or proved to be true.
‘he ignores some historical and economic facts’
mass noun ‘a body of fact’
So basically, a fact has to be ‘known or proven to be true’. Otherwise it’s just a fucking opinion.
But the entire struggle of human civilization seems to be due to one fact — we really, really, really reeeeaaallly like telling others what to do. We paint our own worldviews as if they were facts. Christianity is the true religion, communism is the answer to everything, Jesus did it, Allah is the one true God, Hillary Clinton was the worst Secretary of State. Political correctness is tyranny!
Imagine if we started preceding our sentences with either ‘in my opinion’ or ‘in fact’?
Let’s give this a few tries:
- In my opinion, rye bread is the best kind of bread.
- In fact, the Dalai Llama is not a vegetarian.
- In my opinion, fidget spinners are cool.
- In fact, the iPhone 7 doesn’t have an audio jack.
Woohoo, diplomacy! Above are two statements that are unavoidably opinions. I like rye bread and fidget spinners are cool. The other two statements are facts.
Okay, now what happens if I switch them around?
- In fact, rye bread is the best kind of bread.
- In my opinion, the Dalai Llama is not a vegetarian.
- In fact, fidget spinners are cool.
- In my opinion, the iPhone 7 doesn’t have an audio jack.
How stupid is that? How can it be a fact that rye bread is the best? How do you quantify the goodness of bread? Is it the fluffiness? The level of carbohydrates or gluten? How good it tastes with avocado and a flat white?
And how can iPhone 7’s lack of audio jack be an opinion? It either does, or it doesn’t.
This may sound like the obvious, but we know that in politics, there’s a pretty big crossover between facts and opinions. And I’m not talking about all the bullshit we hear on the news, from political pundits, commentators and politicians themselves who can’t seem to agree on what colour the sky is or whether boys have penises and girls have vaginas:
I’m talking about something much closer to home: an opinion we hear from cynical members of the public, with all the conviction of a big, fat, sloppy fact. Drum roll please…
‘Voting doesn’t make a difference.’
As per the mighty Oxford dictionary, (seriously, it’s the best dictionary of the English language. Buy one, and when all your friends ask you why you own a dictionary, you can explain to them that it’s the best dictionary and that they should buy one): in order for something to be a fact, it must be proven correct.
Yet facts are binary, they’re either right or wrong. There’s no such thing as ‘sort of lying’ or ‘pretty legal’. Saying ‘voting makes no difference’, is frustrating because it’s so clearly wrong. I mean, here’s how elections work: If everyone votes Party A, then you’ll get Government A. If everyone votes Party B, you’ll get Government B. That right there is a difference.
‘But every political party is the same, they’re all only interested in the retention of power.’
Sure, but here’s the problem: It’s scientifically impossible to prove or disprove that. Parties change and evolve throughout the years. That party that wasn’t elected 10 years ago, well, we have no idea what kind of change in policy or law they would have made. In order to quantify the results, we would need two duplicate worlds running simultaneously, one where everyone votes, and another where only a small majority of the public votes. Sure, we could run simulators like that ‘Democracy’ video game, but those would never come close to the trillions of variables occurring across the planet which affects the human race and their voting habits.
Wow! You just responded with an undeniable fact. But people aren’t motivated by facts. Repeat that over and over again until it becomes a fact in your brain. You’re gonna need to try a bit harder before you can help a brother to the ballot box.
You can’t respond to opinions with facts. That’s like fighting fire with petrol. The world just doesn’t work like that. Facts only respond to other, more compelling facts, and opinions only respond to better, more well articulated opinions, preferably voiced by sexy, charismatic people. That’s why an argument between two scientists is so much more boring than an argument between a Muslim and a Christian. So if in your opinion, voting makes no difference, well, here’s my opinion:
By not voting, all you are doing is resigning yourself to nothingness. You’re not protesting anything. A protest requires actually doing something, so shut up. Stop making yourself out to be some disillusioned, world wary soul. Life sucks, we have to do awful, soul-crushing things like vote every 3 years. Gosh, when will the nightmare end?
Let’s imagine something. Your local representative is the sleazy Minister Richard Dickhead of The Dickhead Party. Richard is literally the spawn of satan. He has devil horns, a Hitler moustache, and he rides a chariot of slaves. Also, he’s a killer clown from outer space who touches people inappropriately, apologises, but you can tell he doesn’t really mean it.
But despite all this drama, Dickhead was re-elected in a landslide because lots of people, including you, chose not to vote. You could have voted for Mother Teresa, who had risen from the dead and ran as a candidate in order to warn everyone against electing Dickhead.
Well, do you think Minister Dickhead is sitting in his castle of terror, looking at the election results, disappointed over the low voter turnout? Do you think he’s sobbing, absorbed in grief, thinking ‘oh why ye constituency hath little faith?’
No, he’s thinking one of two things:
- They’re not voting because they’re satisfied, so I must be doing a good job.
- Who gives a fuck? I won.
So you don’t think voting will make a difference? Well, I’m not gonna respond with lots of facts. Instead, I’ll chuck you another analogy:
Political parties are just like business. Imagine The Dickhead Party is Coca-Cola, and their main rival, The Not As Dickish Party, is Pepsi.
- People who already drink Coca Cola (most important customers, as they need to be nurtured so they will continue drinking Coca Cola, which ensures steady cash flow.)
- People who don’t drink Coca Cola, but would if persuaded (also very important, as this is an opportunity to generate new business and create loyal customers)
- People who drink Pepsi, but may switch over to Coca Cola (super important too, as it would cripple the competition and make Coca Cola the undisputed king of soft drinks for centuries to come)
Coca Cola succeeds by focusing all their marketing efforts on these 3 groups. Targeted demographic marketing.
So who does that leave? What kind of people does Coca Cola avoid?
The health freaks. People who would never drink Cola. People who only drink green tea, or kombucha, or organic feijoa juice, or a blended mix of wheatgrass and David Wolfe’s hair.
Sure, Coca Cola could meet this market by making a healthy coca cola, packed with vitamins and minerals, maybe they could run an expensive ad campaign trying to convince the world that Coca Cola is healthy. But why bother? They have plenty of customers, potential customers, and converts to focus on. That’s where the money is! Not some gluten-free hipster like me who is so cheap that he keeps creating new email addresses so he can keep getting Netflix trials for free.
Political parties are just like major soft drink corporations, but instead of selling sugary water, they sell policies, visions, plans for the nation, and kisses on babies who never actually gave consent. But at the end of the day, they still need to make money, and a very good way of doing that is to win elections.
If you don’t vote, Richard Dickhead doesn’t give a crap. As long as enough of the constituency, which meets their target demographic, votes for him, he’s got exactly what he needs to continue his reign of baby-kissing terror.
So let’s say Richard Dickhead is a conservative (which would explain his surname). He realises that your electorate, let’s call it, Dickheadville, is made up of a large amount of middle-aged homeowners with conservative views. His campaign team have concluded that that demographic makes up enough votes to win the election. So based on that, Richard doesn’t care if you don’t vote, because he knows that young, jaded and cynical people like you won’t.
On the other hand, rich, conservative baby boomers literally have nothing to do but vote. Richard knows where the money is, and it’s not you. They know you aren’t going to play your part, and they know you won’t need to. Why try to win you over if they already have enough to win? Just like Coca Cola, The Dickhead Party can succeed by focusing on a specific demographic:
- People who already vote for The Dickhead Party (most important customers, as they need to be nurtured so they will continue voting Dickhead, which ensures elections are won and donations continue.)
- People who don’t vote for The Dickhead Party, but might if persuaded (also very important, as this is an opportunity to generate new voters and create a larger constituency, which leads to more seats, which leads to more money and power.)
- People who vote for The Not As Dickish Party, but are considering changing their vote (super important too, as it would cripple the opposition and give The Dickhead Party enough seats to govern alone, which leads to more money and power.)
Just like Coca Cola, The Dickhead Party doesn’t care about you. As far as they’re concerned, you don’t exist. You don’t matter, you won’t change anything, you won’t make a difference. You’re not even human. You’re basically a tomato.
And it’s not because the game’s rigged that way, it’s because you’ve chosen not to play it. You’re a statistic that politicians use to their advantage. You’re not rejecting a flawed system, you’re creating a flawed system based on the degradation of elections into marketing campaigns where politicians can begin selling policies that are racist, bigoted, illogical, hateful, xenophobic and infringing on human rights, knowing simply that as long as enough of the voting constituency doesn’t have a problem, effectively there is no problem.
Like the giant corporation that exploits bad tax policy, is it really their fault? They’ve found a weakness, and they’re exploiting it. And sure, they’re greedy, they’re selfish, they only care about money and power, they‘re all these horrible things that you claim to hate. but guess what? They probably vote too. Get with the program. Why should you vote? Because fuck you, that’s why.
That’s just my opinion. No facts were harmed in the making of this post.