Offbeat Academia: America’s new most wanted are non-voters

Today, not voting has become a crime. But isn’t not voting as much a right as the right to vote?

What if I didn’t vote today?

You might call me unpatriotic, maybe even treasonous. Maybe you’d tell me how I’m wasting an esteemed privilege that comes with adulthood. Some might even say I don’t deserve citizenship. Most of you would probably tell me I’m making the wrong decision.

The power to vote is often seen as a gift. The miraculous system of democracy is giving me the chance to choose my president – granted that the majority of the country is with me. Denying this gift has become almost criminal, especially now that we are at this pivotal point of potential “change” and newfound “hope.”

I fear the loss of friends if I don’t go through with this patriotic duty. It doesn’t make sense, though. You wouldn’t abandon your alcoholic friend just because he’s made a few bad choices. Why has the opportunity to vote become such a blessing and not to heed it become a sin?

“Sarah, this is your undeniable, constitutional right,” I can hear you telling me. “Democracy requires your participation in order to work properly.”

You might even try to give me incentive because you’re getting desperate: “You can’t complain if you don’t vote.”


I do have the right to vote, but also the right not to. The choice not to vote is a choice nonetheless. You’ve given me two options, and I’m going for neither. Maybe I don’t like vanilla or chocolate ice cream, but prefer strawberry (and please don’t pin the race card on me, it’s just a metaphor). No comment is a comment.

Thus, democracy will not stop working if I don’t vote. Furthermore, I will still be able to complain after the election, no matter who wins; I didn’t like either of them anyway.

So now that I’ve answered your questions, let me bring up some of my own.

Is the country really divided into two categories? Are we really either conservative or liberal? These two parties only present two extremes, and most of us are somewhere in the middle. However, we’re encouraged (or obliged) to vote Republican or Democratic.

The United States doesn’t fit into a two-party system. We’re the melting pot, remember? We’ve got diversity (surely Temple can vouch for that). Our political system, however, represents us as only elephants and donkeys. I always thought I was more of a kangaroo or any marsupial, really.

Whatever happened to that Founding Fathers’ idea of demanding what you want in a leader? We should be completely rational in saying “no thank you” to Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain in exchange for a candidate who better suits our collective needs, rather than dividing the country into two opposing halves.

And do we really even need a president? Just kidding, I won’t go into that. I’ll just plant the seed.
Now don’t get huffy. I’m speaking completely hypothetically. As of the publication of this issue, I still haven’t made my decision yet. I’m just exploring alternatives.

I’m going to conclude this third and final installment of my Election Recovery Plan by saying that not voting is not a crime. Please don’t verbally attack those (especially your friends) who decide to voice their opinion passively. If you learned anything from our Democratic system, it should be to respect others’ opinions, as well as how they act on them. No one likes to be told what to do.

The last stage of recovery is acceptance. So after today, I want you to put this catastrophe behind you and begin to pave your own way to harmony and peace among your friends and fellow citizens, even if they vote for Nader.

Sarah Sanders can be reached at


  1. If you have such an issue with the political system, try doing something about it rather than preach acceptance of apathy. And anyone that does tell someone who doesn’t vote that they don’t have a right to complain is absolutely correct.

  2. We have the right to vote but we shouldn’t feel compelled to vote just because other countries lack this freedom.

    Writing about it is doing something…

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