by Mark E. Smith
Michael Moore, Daniel Ellsberg, and Noam Chomsky are among the many war
criminals who urged people to vote in elections they knew would result in war
crimes. No matter how you vote, when you sign your name at the polls or on the
envelope of your mail-in ballot, you are authorizing whoever wins to do
whatever they want in your name. It is idiotic to deny that you know that the
US government is guilty of war crimes, global pollution, and economic
imperialism–Michael, Daniel, and Noam have written, spoken or produced films
about these very topics. They knew exactly what they were consenting to when
they voted–more wars, more bailouts, and more nuclear wastes.
It is the lamest of excuses to claim that just because you voted for somebody
you knew couldn’t win, you were protesting the government you voted for. You
voted, so you demonstrated your faith and belief that whoever won would be
best suited to lead the country and that you personally supported whatever
they might do.
Ever notice that you don’t sign your name on your ballot? That’s supposedly
because of the secret vote, so nobody will know how you voted. But in a
winner-take-all electoral system like the United States, with no proportional
representation, how you vote is totally irrelevant; the only thing that
matters is that you voted, and that’s what your signature proves. The easily
hacked and totally unverifiable central tabulators will take care of the rest,
if the Supreme Court decides to allow the popular vote to be counted at all.
There’s no real reason for you to have to sign your name. Once you prove to
the poll worker that you are the person listed on the voting register, they
could simply cross off your name and allow you to proceed to the voting booth.
As for mail-in ballots, there’s no way to know if the person who signed the
envelope was the same one who filled out the ballot inside. The signature
proves one thing and one thing only, that the person whose signature it is,
had enough faith in the system to sign their name endorsing it.
Once you sign your name, you cannot withdraw your vote. You cannot say, “My
candidate didn’t win, so I am withholding my consent from the winner and they
cannot claim me as part of the voter turnout that gave them the right to say
that they were democratically elected and represent the will of the people.”
If you voted for Jill Stein, Gary Johnson, Rocky Anderson, Nobody, None of the
Above, wrote in your own name, or smeared graffiti all over the ballot, your
vote still counts as part of the mandate of the winner: that’s what winner-
take-all means, that the winner takes all the votes, including yours.
As Obama falsely declares Israel’s unprovoked, truce-breaking bombardment of
Gaza a matter of self-defense, proceeds to cut Medicare, Medical, and Social
Security, and continues to have Occupiers arrested for peaceful assembly, many
voters are already protesting the results of their votes. Did they really
believe the old canard that, “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain,” and cast
their ballots merely so that they could complain? Perhaps some ordinary voters
did, but intellects like Moore, Chomsky, and Ellsberg? That’s hard to believe.
Do they think the Declaration of Independence was illegitimate because it was
a long list of complaints against a king who didn’t allow the colonists to
vote, and that only those who vote have the right to complain? Nonsense!
We have to start holding voters accountable for their complicity in whatever
the US government does, and particularly those who are public figures and not
only vote in elections they know will result in more war crimes, but urge
others to do the same. How can we even think about holding elected officials
accountable if we can’t hold ourselves accountable for voting?
The Election Boycott Movement is an effortless, nonviolent, effective way to
withdraw the consent of the governed from a government that doesn’t represent
the will of the people. In Italy, when a 2012 election turnout dropped from
67% in the previous election to only 47%, even the New York Times
and FOX News
acknowledged that a majority of Italians had lost faith in their government,
and didn’t write it off to apathy.
As for averting the mythical catastrophe of a greater evil in Mitt Romney, as
evil as Romney is, he is no more evil than Bush was and equally beholden to
big corporate donors he would dare not disobey. Replacing Republican Bush with
Democrat Obama resulted in six more wars, trillions more in bailouts, more
immigrants deported, more Blacks killed and imprisoned, the greatest reduction
in civil liberties that the free world has seen since the 12th Century Magna
Carta–the elimination of due process, the first new nuclear plants in thirty
years, and we now face cuts to social programs that not even the most evil
Republican would have dared. When both parties are dependent upon the same
corporate donors, there is no greater and lesser evil, there is only
It is time for voters to stop whining about and protesting the results of
their votes and stop voting for a government that is doing evil things in
their name, and to stop signing their names to a blank check that allows the
government to do whatever it wants. If you really don’t want evil perpetrated
in your name, then don’t sign your name: don’t vote.