It's that time again and I am feeling the same old stress:
Probably, the most responsible thing for me to do is to NOT VOTE.
I like to think I am a responsible citizen. Absolutely I love America. Absolutely I recognize that if I don't actively support democracy I don't deserve it. Etc. Etc. I'm all for voting. It's just that--just that--
I HAVE NO IDEA AT ALL WHOM I SHOULD VOTE FOR.
Now, I know that the responsible solution here is to EDUCATE myself about the issues and the candidates. But, really, how realistic is that? Does anyone really know whether a certain candidate is better than another unless they either: a) know at least one of them personally, or b) support one party without variance or question?
I admit that I don't read the newspaper as I should. But I stopped believing long ago that the newspapers really tell how things are. You can't put a certain congressperson's reasons for voting a certain way into one tight little op-ed piece. Issues are really complicated. A person might vote against a proposal that seems to be for what that person believes in because it doesn't go FAR enough, for example. You just can't tell from soundbites and voter records what anyone really believes. And you can't tell from their simplistic little campaign statements either.
So how CAN anyone tell anything?
And since I can't tell, how can I go vote? Wouldn't it be better to leave the voting to people who know more than I do about the issues?
Of course, some issues are no-brainers, like more money for education. (But then again, how can I be sure that a vote for more money for education doesn't translate into a vote FOR that stupid, brainless "no child left behind" fiasco?)
I wish there was a way that I could show up and do my civic duty without having to commit to supporting someone I don't know, or something I know nothing about.
I wish there was a trustworthy (yeah, right) website that described objectively and simply the differences between candidates, their honesty and their stances.
I hate to go and just sort of randomly (and that's all it ends up being, really) mark names. It feels so terribly irresponsible. Thus my assertion: it may be more responsible for me not to vote.
Except to vote out that terrible judge I read about in the paper. (Because, of course, the paper is always right.)