This is an open letter to all of the newly enfranchised eighteen-year olds who happily cast their first ballot on Tuesday.
Please stop voting.
The issue isn’t that your votes are useless. It’s just that they are bad. Don’t take my word for it. Trust Winston Churchill: “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”
Having an affinity for numbered lists and rhetorical questions, I’ll give all my critics five questions to ask themselves.
- Can you spell the names and the positions of the two gubernatorial candidates on at least three unrelated issues?
- Can you name a single issue on which either of the candidates does not vote along party lines? I.e. where you cannot simply assume that all candidates behave as their party dictates?
- Can you cite at least three policies your non-arbitrarily chosen party has implemented in the past one year?
- Have you read at least one political affairs newspaper or magazine (if online, more than three articles) in the past month?
- Do you really, honestly, have more than a passing interest in the outcome of this election?
If you see these questions and respond with a resonant “no,” then please heed my advice and stop voting. The U.S. is better off that way.
But if you responded positively and enthusiastically to the above, then here’s a request: don’t stop voting. Never stop voting. It’s voters like you, voters who care and understand the issues, who invest time into understanding the political process, that have shaped the United States in the way it should be shaped. It’s voters like you who over the past few decades have maintained the nation’s respect of liberty and peace. It’s voters like you who have prevented rampant emotionalism from infecting our politics and stopped glorified public speakers and demagogues from overturning our ideals.
This past election, we had a very low turnout of around 16% for youth voters. We had an abysmally small effect on the election. To some degrees, this is good news and indicates that apathetic and ignorant voters didn’t soil the meaningful ballots. But in other ways, it indicates the failure of our system. It shows how our educated youth do not feel the fire of democracy in their veins and the excitement that comes with shaping the nation’s future.
So this is an open letter to all newly enfranchised eighteen-year olds. More specifically, it’s a letter to the few who actually care and know what candidates stand for. Thank you for caring, and thank you for voting. Thank you for taking the time to research the truth and take action on it. But for the future, don’t just continue your normal voting routines. Encourage your peers to learn the process and the issues. Ignite in them the same lust for knowledge and change. The future of the nation depends on your efforts.