One of my teachers, the late Bob LeFevre, first advised me more than 30 years ago to “abstain from beans.” By that he meant “refuse to vote.” In ancient Athens, you see, the electorate would drop various colored beans into a box.
I’ve abstained from beans on principle since coming of voting age in 1972, with the exception of just one election in the 1980s. I still shake like Janet Reno when I think back on that particular election day.
Anyway, when campaign time rolls around, I’m predictably challenged by ballot-addicts. I draw them like Democrats to a Barbra Streisand gig, because around election day, I sport anti-campaign buttons. One says “Vote for Nobody.” Another reads “Democracy Works: Ask Any Idiot.” My favorite, which refers to the eldritch gods of H.P. Lovecraft’s classic horror tales, declares: “Vote for Cthulhu. Why Settle for a Lesser Evil?”
I can shrug off all the accusations about non-voters being unpatriotic and apathetic. But the slur I won’t stand for is that we’re lazy.
In response to one of my recent anti-electorate essays, I heard from an exasperated reader. He called my piece “a preposterous trivialization of the most important of all rights.” Okay. He said that “to refuse to vote is to abdicate power.” Fair enough.
Then he used the L-word--lazy.
That made me mad. Mad enough to dash off a short list of better ways to spend your time than voting this November 5. Each activity requires a little effort, so doing any one of them proves you’re not lazy, even if you choose to stay away from the polls.
- Read the Declaration of Independence.
- Meditate on 1 Samuel 8:6-20.
- Take an elderly neighbor shopping.
- Read Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Self-Reliance.”
- Promote your business.
- Rent and view “Free for All,” an episode from The Prisoner TV series; it’s one of the best dramatic critiques of electoral politics ever filmed.
- Play with a child.
- Read anything by Robert LeFevre.
- Write and send a letter — not an e-mail — to a loved one.
- Ask a voting friend why they vote — then explain to them why you don’t.
Oh, and here’s a bonus suggestion:
- Take an afternoon nap.
Hell, most diehard voters insist we’re lazy anyway.