Elections are not embraced by all

Last Tuesday was Election Day. It is hard to miss it what with all the celebrities blathering on about voting or dying and rocking the vote, not to mention the “I Voted” stickers people wear.
For politics nerds such as myself, election days are usually full of speculation and even more exciting than usual C-Span coverage.
Election Day is one of the few days of the year where the average person pays attention to politics.
Yet among all of this hubbub and excitement, I did not vote. I am certainly an ideal voter since I am politically-aware and informed more so than the general public.
I am registered to vote and I even walked over to the polling station to hand out books, so I am certainly not too lazy to vote.
I run an active political club on campus that hosts educational events and work to distribute hundreds of educational books I have stacked in my closest, but I did not vote and since voting is portrayed as some kind of sacred duty in this country, I shall explain myself.
My reasons for not voting are manifold but I will only cover two here. At the most basic level, I did not vote because my vote is meaningless. The odds of my vote impacting the outcome of an election are small.
As the recently-deceased economist Gordon Tullock said “It’s more likely that you’ll die driving to the polling booth than your vote will change the outcome.” The more people who vote, the less of an impact your vote has on any decision that is made.
Often times voting is not portrayed as a way to make a difference, but rather as a patriotic duty that is every individuals way to make a difference and contribute to solving society’s problems.
However, I contend that this mindset is harmful and contributes to the problems that society faces rather than does anything to solve them. The ability to vote comes with almost no responsibilities.
One merely needs to register, show up, push a few buttons, and then go home. This means that everyone from Ph.D.s to the politically illiterate can show up to vote without any obligation to have any idea of what is going on in the world, let alone any sensible way to solve problems.
Voting is easy. Voting costs very little. That is why there is a difference between voting and actually doing something. Doing something is not easy. Doing something has a high cost. Doing something means becoming educated and informed about issues.
Doing something means recognizing that problems cannot be solved by pushing buttons that send people to make decisions for you. Doing something is hard work.
People have been voting in this country for quite a long time and where has that gotten us: an out of control federal debt that is leading the country to bankruptcy; a massive domestic surveillance network; pointless wars in the Middle East that just continue the cycle of violence; Economic busts.
Would any of these problems really have worked out differently in the past or be solved in the future just if more people turn out to vote? Of course not.
Voting is looking to politicians to solve our problems and if history has taught us anything, it is that politicians create more problems and make existing ones worse. Real social change comes from changing the minds of the public through education. Real change takes time and is slow and bitter work. Real change comes from putting new ideas in people’s heads and getting them to change their minds about things.
I did not vote because I know that my vote is meaningless. I did not vote because I know that actually doing something about the problems we face requires hard work rather than just pushing some buttons.
I did not vote because I know that affecting real societal change is an organic process that can only happen by educating people and changing their minds.
If you too want to actually do something to change the world rather than engaging in meaningless symbolic gestures like voting become educated. Pick up a book (the Mercyhurst Liberty League has hundreds if you need some.)
The world is not going to get fixed by itself and it certainly would not get fixed by voting for incompetent, bumbling, ignoramuses every other year.