Best-Of Advice

On your disillusionment

I feel completely disillusioned by the American government (the 2 party system, electoral college, etc) and in a broader sense, capitalism. So much so that I don’t want to vote in any elections and thus condone our shitty system. I’m into civil society associations and other discourse along those lines, but I’m experiencing cognitive dissonance. I feel like by not voting I’m lumping myself into a group of unengaged, nonpolitical people and it doesn’t feel good. Thoughts?


Fuck your disillusionment. It’s boring. Of course the system is shitty. The system has always been shitty, and the system will always be shitty. That’s the very nature of the system, and the system will do all it can to resist change. It takes ridiculous amounts of energy to force progress onto the system — the collective will of entire generations sometimes isn’t enough.

Maybe, if we’re lucky, we can make the system grow a tiny bit less shitty over the course of our shitty little lives, but there’s no guarantee of that either. So I say again, fuck your disillusionment, because disillusion breeds apathy, and apathy is how entropy and ignorance win, and that’s how things get even shittier.

As a citizen, you are obligated to engage in the system. It’s your civic fucking duty. It doesn’t matter that the system is shitty, because engaging with the system isn’t the same thing as condoning it. If you want to manipulate the system, you have to participate in it, and the very fucking least you can do is vote.

Seriously, vote. It matters. It literally counts. People who go around saying your vote doesn’t count are enormous gaping assholes. That goes double for the mealy-mouthed shit sacks who insist there’s no difference between the two parties. Fuck that noise. Every single decision we make in this shitty world is a choice of lesser evils, so suck it up and choose.


18 thoughts on “On your disillusionment

  1. Tillzilla says:

    Australian here. Voting is mandatory. I’d be surprised if anyone was particularly familiar with the current policies of our government, but we’re in the Bush years. We have another election coming, and the Liberals (your Republicans) will get voted in again. Even in spite of the awfulness of our government, I’m still grateful to live in a country where I can vote, and where this has a genuine impact on what goes on in parliament.

    I’ve never understood why Americans don’t vote. Saying that you refuse to participate in the system because it’s broken doesn’t dismantle or deny it whatsoever–it merely perpetuates it, and even encourages politicians to act with less liability. If they’re given grounds to assume that the populace at large is apathetic, they feel they have more freedom to answer to whomever will benefit their interests most. Fuck that shit. Make ’em squirm.

    P.S. – If I could vote, it’d be for Sanders.

  2. I think that the feeling of doing something being more important than dwelling on things being shitty is definitely a valid one, however my own turmoil is when I have to play within the system to try and override it. It is, as one of my favorite artists and for me, philosophers once said: “Posing as the enemy to infiltrate the mechanics of the empire.” That was Kurt Cobain. I believe that we must think even further outside the box and start to actually journey inward, to where we actually question what we truly believe is to and wrong. Is it right that even when we find most of our ideals fulfilled by one candidate and therefore because of “civic duty” as you, rightly, put it, we should therefore vote for them even when there is a pivotal point of disagreement within ourselves, within our souls? It’s truly hard for me to know what the right thing is, because for example I truly believe in Bernie Sanders and yet I hold my breath that he doesn’t just join hands with Hillary Clinton who I did not vote for when she was up against Barack Obama for the Democratic candidacy because she is a war monger. I cannot vote for her in the good conscience of my own heart, for innocent lives lost in the war in Iraq that she voted be waged. I hope we can all find the answer together because I feel it is close. Thanks for writing this.

  3. Ava says:

    “Every single decision we make in this shitty world is a choice of lesser evils, so suck it up and choose.”

    Didn’t realize I even felt this way, but I do.

  4. Perspectivator says:

    Just consider this. If Trump won, it would be your fault for “not condoning the system.”

    Do you want to be considered smarter than people who would vote for Trump?

    You can only subvert a system by working within its paradigm. Please don’t dream that you’ll ever replace that system without sacrificing entire generations to war.

  5. KAR says:

    I was like the OP when I was in my 20s. Every single argument, that could have been me back then.
    Then I dated a Hungarian who opened my eyes to a system where there was NO freedom, and boy do I vote.

    I even vote in the small local elections, which not nearly enough people do.
    Thats where your change happens people, at the local level.
    I went from cynical and disillusioned to really f-ing rah rah, and so should you.
    Either you can complain or you can do something. Don’t be a complainer.

  6. compagno says:

    Voting for the “lesser of the two evils” legitimates the system.

    We use paper ballots here in Italy, so I can vote for “none of the above” with a cross on the ballot or I can write in candidates, such as Karl Marx and Rosa Luxemburg.

    • RocketGrunt says:

      Refusing to vote is to surrender what little power you have to the system. Doing nothing legitimizes a corrupt system more than voting for the lesser of two evils ever could.

      As an extreme example: voting for someone other than Hitler would have been a far more powerful act of resistance than doing nothing.

      • compagno says:

        “The performance of our elected officials has led many people to wonder whether we might as well just pluck people at random and send them to Washington. For a small but fervent group of political philosophers, that’s not a joke—it’s a serious idea. They argue we’d be better off if we scrapped congressional elections altogether and instead filled the House of Representatives with 435 Americans selected lottery-style from the population.
        Elections may be deeply intertwined with our conception of democracy, but these thinkers argue that when it comes to much of what Congress does, they aren’t always necessary, and can even harm a democratic state.”

  7. Julie says:

    Rarely do any of us vote for a candidate as much as against the other candidate. That said, I will vote enthusiastically for Bernie Sanders.

  8. J Lynn says:

    FYI, in case anyone doesn’t know, to vote for Bernie (or anybody else) you have to be registered to vote :as a Democrat: in time for the primary election in your state. You can’t be registered independent and vote in a primary in most states.

    Now that I think of it, maybe a few states allow it? But best to check.

    Two important differences between D and R, even if you think both are corrupt, etc, etc. 1) keep abortion and contraception legal 2) because the president nominates federal judges, especially the Supremes.

  9. Texan says:

    It’s not a two party system. You can vote for a party that respects everybody’s rights. The Libertarian party of course. Let my daughter protect herself with an assault rifle, my son convince his girlfriend to abort their child, my male colleague to marry his boyfriend. Respect everybody’s rights.

  10. Nicole says:

    Hi, I left this question awhile back and finally got around to reading the answer/comments. I feel a need to defend myself a little bit. I’m a very involved person. A political science major (which has caused a lot of my disillusionment) and I worked on political campaigns from the time I was in high school. I get it. I’m not a lazy non-voter who doesn’t care who gets elected. That being said, I think there is something to a box on the ballot with “none of the above” because sometimes a message needs to be fucking sent. I realize that one person not voting out of protest really doesn’t do much at all, but a collective group such as the Black Lives Matter movement refusing to endorse a candidate says something. But also, the more I study our particularly fucked up system, the more I start making plans to completely abandon this shit and head to Denmark. Seriously.

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