Everyone knows politics is uncharitable. This is especially so during the elections. Politicians get by blaming unkind words on supporters, not in so many words, but by implication. Al Gore would never say George W Bush ‘stole’ the elections from him, but his supporters cry themselves hoarse doing it. Today’s crop of Republicans generally want to paint Obama as radical (black lib theo), extremist (Rules for Radicals), Islamist (Hussein), socialist (Obamacare), a liar (birth certificate) and many other things.
Be this as it may be, I have wondered why we should elect into public office people who are so ruthless in the first place. About election time, a bunch of politicians and others would urge us all to get out there and make our voice heard. Why is it so unpatriotic to not let my voice be heard? To step away, not from the political process, but from casting my vote for people I find difficult to approve? Is it because it shows we have lost faith in the idea of this nation? Isn’t that a naïve conclusion? Maybe those of us who are intentionally silent are the ones who love the idea of this nation more than anyone else, who demand that the current state of affairs must change.
Democracy has always been about a little compromise. I may need to trade away some cards to push for things I care about. I get it. But sometimes silence could resound loudly. Indian voters have an option known as NOTA, standing for ‘None of the Above’- meaning it is a vote for a candidate who is not on the ballot, registering formal disapproval for the ones who are. I think this should be mandatory in all our elections in the US. It will not get anything done except to drive changes in the system itself- the big money pouring into it, the divide and conquer policy, the half-truths and accusations, the uncouth debates. I’m really tired of the charade, and especially of the faithful millions screaming inanities about their candidate and insults about others.