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Monday, Feb. 26, 2024
The Observer

Don't feel obligated to vote

Whether it’s to prevent the worse of two evils from getting inaugurated, engage in public duty or display honor for those that have perished for this right, many clubs and organizations on campus have pushed to ensure the largest turnout of votes possible in the upcoming election. My response is this: If neither candidate has convinced you that the world would be better off should they make it to office, then don’t make it an obligation to choose.

This position does not come from a place of apathy — otherwise I wouldn’t take the time to write this. I’m also not advocating that we throw away local ballot cards. I want to address the illusion of choice that we are given in the coming months. Whichever candidate you choose (even third party), you answer: 1) Who is more deserving of this authority, and 2) By which rules should we be compelled to follow? These questions are convenient in that they replace discussion about the justification of authority in this instance, and declare that we cannot and should not be in control of our own lives or communities. They are reflective of a society that only encourages open discussion so long as it serves to perpetuate the existence of the state.

Voting, in this case, is not an action undertaken to improve our lives, nor is it a redeemed responsibility. It’s the opposite. It’s an acceptance of the idea that others — the social and economic “elite” — should determine the conditions of our life and the world around us.

This is not an attempt to deride those who are content with this type of society. For the rest of us, either disillusioned by a product of such a system or who have desired an entirely different one from the start, don’t feel guilty for refusing to vote. If anything, it’s contradictory to consider the lives lost or destroyed as a result of this system, and then to discount direct action, which historically has proven more effective as a means to effectuate lasting social change.


Daniel Esparza senior

Sept. 20

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.