Why I Did Not Vote On November 6, 2012
By Ed Ciaccio
November 17, 2012
"It is what you do that makes you who you are."
- Barbara Kingsolver, Animal dreams
"Empire abroad entails tyranny at home."
- Hannah Arendt
Now that the elections are history, for those who may be interested, the following is an explanation of why I did not vote. I had originally intended to post this essay before the elections, but then I realized I had no right to even attempt to influence others in how they should vote. It is up to each citizen to be well-informed and decide what she or he will do on Election Day. My decision is solely my own.
Superstorm Sandy only further confirmed my decision not to post before the election by knocking out the cable connection to the Internet, but not our electricity, so I could still use my computer to write, revise, and edit, but not to get online.
So, what follows are my reasons for not voting, well-considered long before Election Day. If they enable the reader to at least understand my decision not to vote anymore, regardless of whether or not the reader agrees, this essay will have succeeded.
Romney's Choice and Obama's Record
Once Mitt Romney chose Paul Ryan as his running mate, many liberals opined that the choice for voters could not be more clear: with his choice, Romney did not merely certify his extreme, right-wing,Tea Party credentials, but further distanced himself from Barack Obama, the (by comparison) "liberal", supposedly-safety net-supporting candidate.
We already know Romney's record as governor of Massachusetts, a relatively liberal state where Romney had to pretend to be a moderate Republican, complete with "Romneycare", the model for "Obamacare". We also know Romney will say anything to get elected (as did Obama in both 2008 and 2012).
We also know Paul Ryan's record in Congress as the author of one of the cruelest budget proposals in recent memory, unless you love the top 1% and want to do everything you can to increase their already-obscene wealth.
But now, after the three televised "debates" (actually over-hyped joint press conferences), during which neither the existential threat of catastrophic climate change nor increasing U.S. poverty and inequality were ever mentioned, especially the third debate on foreign policy, in which Romney essentially agreed with Obama's violent, imperialistic foreign policy (the foreign policy of every President), and after more than three-and-a-half years of Obama's presidency, we have an extensive record of Obama's actions, not merely his fine-sounding rhetoric, by which to judge him.
And, the morning after his re-election, and a week after the devastation of Superstorm Sandy, Barack Obama further confirmed my low opinion of him by talking about the deficit and working with Republicans, with no mention of unemployment, poverty, inequality, or catastrophic climate change. As a lame-duck President who no longer needs to worry about re-election, this was his chance to set a better, more human-focused tone for his last term. Instead, he chose to mouth platitudes comforting to Wall Street, not Main Street.