Young: When you ‘vote for Nobody,’ you vote for somebody (column)
November 4, 2016
If you ever have the "America blahs" and want to shake out of them, teach a citizenship class.
I have. I've looked into eyes that came here from Iran, from Mexico, from Saudi Arabia, from China, from Sudan. The eyes have it.
They can't wait to be Americans. Particularly, they can't wait to vote.
Oh, and they understand exactly what voting entails: making a choice. Sometimes you hold your nose, but you choose.
I would have liked to have seen the faces of those citizens-to-be when they read in these pages about a "Vote for Nobody" campaign among collegians.
I saw it in USA Today, one of the proponents proudly wearing a "Vote for Nobody 2016" T-shirt. Precious.
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I realize this is mostly a laugh. I don't assume that these students will flat-line when it comes to a right for which their forebears — wave after wave of them, young, vital Americans of college age — fought and died.
Sure, nobody's going to die if a 20-something skips out on Election Day. But understand: When you vote for nobody, you are voting for somebody.
Most pertinently: If you don't vote because you think your two chief choices are odious, what you make possible is that the more odious of the two will govern you.
The "Vote for Nobody" effort, as Colorado State University student Matthew Nagashima explained in the article, is motivated by two leading presidential candidates who he says "aren't viable."
I get what he's trying to say, but whatever one might think of those two candidates . . .
Give either of them that desk in the Oval Office. Watch him or her be viable.
Give him or her command of the armed forces. Viable.
Put the power of executive orders in his or her hands. Viable.
Give him or her the power of appointment, the vastness of the Executive Branch. Viable.
This presidential election has become a cavalcade of embarrassments. Not to be flippant, but in the name of all who died to make this election possible, do you know what this means? It means you choose which candidate would be less embarrassing.
For some, that will mean voting third-party. All right. However, some recent history: It's a safe bet that at least 537 Florida voters — the margin by which an Electoral College victory went to George W. Bush in 2000 — would have requested a do-over for voting for Ralph Nader.
(Green Party voters thought Al Gore and Bush were symptoms of the same disease. That was always an odd claim. It was made more so when Gore won the Nobel Prize for climate activism.)
Jill Stein and Gary Johnson have conscientious supporters. However, they must acknowledge that neither has any chance of appointing someone to the Supreme Court over the next four to eight years. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump do.
To the "Vote for Nobody" crowd: The Supreme Court makes crucial rulings on civil rights, LGBT rights, reproductive rights, the all-consuming role of corporations (particularly in politics), the environment, health care, schools — all of that. Which candidate do you want appointing the next two, or three, or four Supreme Court justices?
Go ahead and vote for nobody, but somebody is going to get the power you punted away.
I know of people who died to give you that power. I've also come to know some people who are just dying to have it.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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