Some people say, "if you don't vote, you can't complain." Actually, the first and most important right we have is the ability to say no to all options given to us and go so far as to decide all new candidates or even create a new government if the people so will. And people who say that, not only fundamentally misunderstand the reason we vote in this country, they are probably too ignorant to be voting responsibly themselves in all likelihood, for that reason. Especially if they will sell out their morals for such a flimsy fallacy.
I think the truth is, some people would rather just shift the blame. It's easier than to admit the only reason someone would say something like that is because they know their own choice sucks. So they present the situation in a black-and-white, or false dichotomy, scenario in order to justify that they themselves are selling out their own beliefs, and they know it. The truth is, the right NOT to vote is an important piece of what makes our democracy actually work. No one has to vote for a 'lesser of two evils,' because no one really has to vote at all. And if candidates know the strongest votership demographic is people who won't waste their vote on their hot-air, they'll have to do something about it, because in a scenario like that, only the person with the most integrity will win. Guess what, that's exactly how it's supposed to be. Not voting tells the entire system to get better or we're not playing anymore. So if you are dissatisfied with every choice this election cycle, like I have been for a while now, then join the resistance, and just say no. After all, the greatest check and balance to the system is and always has been exercising our freedom. We know it. It's why we're all in this country.
Granted, that is not written in the Constitution. It is in the document that precedes and gives power to the Constitution, for without it, there would not be any of these things, to include the right to vote, at all. That's the Declaration of Independence, which states- "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever ANY FORM of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, "---that is, the Constitution installed the amendments for this reason, instituting the precedence that allows Americans to say, No. Stop. It's time to change.
It goes on--- "and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. "
Last election, we showed the political establishment that we have forgotten, and would even rather be openly lied to and worse, that we don't care anymore about the integrity of our leaders, and thus willingness of leaders to represent our interests. We told them we will elect whomever will tell us the most lies, because we told ourselves we had no choice. No one had to cast a single vote for HRC or Trump. Ever. Not one person. That's the truth. The only way to get back the America that means what our Constitution, our Declaration of Independence, and that Flag really mean, is to stand up for the right to refuse anyone at all who would lie, manipulate voters, wheel and deal, manipulate elections, or otherwise do anything other than represent the interests of the voting public in order to get into office.
Some say that doesn't exist. Well, it used to, just not anymore, and that's because we the people gave up on it in favor of ear candy, willful ignorance, and pandering narratives, over demanding factuality and objectivity in the information we give attention to. There are people that stand up for what's right, but they don't run things because this is a representative democracy and it's therefore us who won't let them, creating the self-fulfilling prophecy that our vote doesn't matter by voting for people that don't matter, who argue in falsehoods that diminish our freedoms, with precisely that kind of doubtful rhetoric, this idea that our rights are weak, obsolete, don't work, or aren't worth it.
My friend, you're saying to your leaders YOU'RE not worth fighting for. And I refuse to believe one person is more important or less important than another, but that everyone should have an equal say, because I am an American. That must mean, we have an equal right to say no. No to liars, no to shady businessmen running for office to supposedly solve the problem of shady businessmen running for office. No to people who won't take responsibility for their words and actions when they are caught. No to politicians who would rather use politics of division, with black and white rhetoric and the spread of ignorant, divisionist, racist policies posing as champions of the people. No to the idea that our government, our nation, wouldn't exist without immoral people representing us. No that we are too weak and stupid to govern and decide for ourselves. Culture and ideology are one thing, and our rights protect those, but lies and propaganda coming from news sources and the very White House? It's our fault. Because it's our choice.
I don't care if there are a thousand candidates on every side, I will not vote for someone with no integrity, because I matter, my vote matters, my neighbor matters, America matters, far more than the size of a candidate's bankroll, their resume, more than their level of experience in a corrupted system that is corrupt because they are there and we put them there.
Those same liars always draw the distinction between democratic and republican values. But by definition, a republic is a representative democracy, and no matter where we put the emphasis we are more alike than different. And none of us stand to benefit from the wealthy and corrupt elite, no matter what any of them say. Liars don't mean what they are saying.
We need to stop electing people because they're rich or tell us what we want to hear and elect people who tell us the truth. And if America can't self-educate, if America is so illiterate and ignorant that we can no longer tell or care when someone on a screen is lying or telling the truth, or even be able to distinguish manipulative rhetoric from honest political discussion, then we need to see to that first. A representative democracy is only as corrupt as the people that elect it to office, and if Americans are tolerating ignorant, corrupt, manipulative, elitist sellouts in their votes, then America IS a nation of sellouts and elitists, and we are really voting for what we know and see in ourselves so as to justify our own selves, and we need to own that.
But the change starts with what I do. And if America stops voting for, giving its attention to, and in all otherwise enabling escape artists like Clinton, division artists like Joe Biden, lackeys like Trump, then maybe, just maybe, we'll actually get the leaders America deserves. But if the American people don't start trying, don't start informing and valuing their vote and learning to be responsible, intelligent, and honest again, then American leaders will continue to have no reason to change, because no one is telling them "No." My name is Matthew Claybrook, Armed Forces veteran and part owner of America, I am declaring my Independence and my pledge to maintain my responsibility towards the same, and if America decides I am no longer American for saying so, then so be it. I am a human being that matters regardless of my status, and I approve this message.
reason. Like my readings of Robert Louis Stevenson, after I did my due diligence on the author, I quickly found myself reading the book to myself in a Dublin accent, whereupon the book truly came alive.
Amplified by the freshness of tone only given by someone native to his referents, Eoin is perhaps uniquely qualified to write such a story, making consistent, and proper throwbacks to old Eirann, the original land of the fairy tale. He doesn't stop there, however, adding bold twists on the tried and true favorites of the fantasy genre, while preserving the important details, and masterfully keeping the pacing and dialogue captivating for the often fickle and hard to please teen audience. I love getting to tell people when I think a book is truly well crafted.
My only negative is that the main character is a bit larger-than-life for a young person, and tends to come across a bit unrelatable, and that's just my opinion. His anti-hero charisma is still refreshing compared to some. Still I was hit hard by the substory about his mother, and without that there wouldn't be any reason for Artemis' coldness. Despite his father's influence as a criminal mastermind, on a psychological level he realistically would have sought influences elsewhere to find his way, but because of his mother he realizes he is alone, and has determined to thrive the only way that probably seems possible to him.
The problem with that thinking is that when someone learns to thrive in the darkness, they become a prisoner of the light. His genius is, as you will read, only another product of the wreckage behind the scenes. I don't include spoilers in my reviews, so if you want to find out why you should check it out. Happy reading!
Read Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
M. G. Claybrook holds a B. S. in Theology. Matthew's books include: Mabby the Squirrel's Guide to Flying, and coming soon, The Voyage of Gethsarade.