Why I believe you have a moral obligation to vote, if you legally can, even if you don’t truly support either candidate
No one is the perfect leader. And the politicians we see today least of all. I’m positive there is a laundry list of reasons why one might feel morally opposed to supporting a given political candidate, or possibly even all of the political candidates who’ve been nominated. But I don’t believe that is an adequate reason not to vote, and here’s why.
(A practical & moral reasoning.)
To streamline this, let’s say we’re talking about the US presidency. There are 2 candidates who actually have the chance to win. Perhaps you are morally opposed to supporting either of them for good reasons. Perhaps it has to do with political torture the lesser-of-two-evils supported, or perhaps it’s something else that is also a perfectly justifiable reason to feel uncomfortable voting for the person. Well, here’s where I am going to be that practical asshole who tells you you should vote anyway.
One of these two people will be president for the next four years. Your personal act of political protest will not change that. And US presidents have a lot of power these days. In fact, they have much more power than presidents did when the nation began. Presidents play a significant role in shaping the way the country functions, and their actions affect the lives of all the citizens (arguably nearly all people in the world). The 2 candidates also likely have many opposing views & plans. Thus, the country will look quite different under each of these two people. To put the two points together, the lives of people across the nation will be affected in very different ways depending on which person becomes president. This is why I strongly believe that one must think about which candidate would cause the least harm to people, and vote for that person. I feel a moral obligation to vote for Obama because I strongly believe that many people’s lives will be worse if Romney becomes president (mine included). Not would be worse, will. Because one of them will be president, like it or not.
NOW, what I have to say to anyone who does feel uncomfortable because they don’t truly support either candidate is that you then must think about how these two people got to be the two main candidates. These people became the major party candidates for certain reasons, because our political system is set up in such a way as to support certain kinds of people, as to allow certain kinds of people to reach the top political contest in the country. So if you do not support either candidate, I think you must think about how they got to be where they are over other people, and work to change that. I know that such a change is not a simple, nor easy thing, believe me. But I do believe that as a citizen with not only the power of the vote, but also the power to campaign and lobby and fundraise and write and hell, even run, if one does not like the way the process is going, one has an obligation to work to change the system.
As a caveat, sure some people may have disproportionate power. Sure, you may have less loud of a political voice for reasons that have been out of your control. You may even feel that the political system makes you disappear for reasons fundamental to your identity. But as a citizen of a democracy, you are part of the political process now. You are the political process. Together, we make it what it is. And I do believe, I have to believe, I do believe that we can change it. No matter your situation in the political sphere, if you are a citizen you have the rights to participate in the political process and change it, and if you don’t like how it is, I think you have to use those rights.