When a new year rolls around, I tend to benchmark. Where are we compared to last year, and what can we do to make this year better?
Does it ever seem to you as if we’re spectators here, with very little power to change anything? I feel that way, but I’m also constantly searching for ways to contribute something positive.
Many other people seem to think voting in American elections is a way to change the world. We can change our country and since it’s so influential in the world, that means we can change the world.
I disagree with this idea and think that voting does more harm than good. I’m writing this post to explain why.
Vote or Die
Do you remember the slogan “Vote or Die!” from several years ago? My most vivid memories of this campaign are of the South Park parody.
Critics said the slogan was hyperbolic and needlessly violent. Others just thought it was funny, but the idea behind it was to get young people to vote and make a difference in the world.
P. Diddy founded an organization called Citizen Change, a name which seems like it could be a play on the 1941 anti-fascist mystery drama film, Citizen Kane. Diddy’s flagship campaign phrase, “Vote or Die,” was based on a theme from a Benjamin Franklin cartoon, “Join or Die.”
Very clever. Other musicians supported the campaign including Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, and 50 Cent. Go, go, go, go go, go, go, shawty…vote like it’s your birthday…except it’s not your birthday…
The cool thing about “Vote or Die!” is that it worked. Sort of. In 2004, youth votes soared by 4.6 million as compared to the year 2000 presidential election.
The concerted efforts of “Vote or Die,” Vote for Change,” and “Rock the Vote” moved the 18-29 age demographic to step up and vote. Would we expect anything less than success from the combined forces of P. Diddy, Russell Simmons, and Bruce Springsteen?
All well and good. Except that voting doesn’t make a difference, as many people figure out somewhere along the way. Including P. Diddy who now says voting is a “scam.”
The Great Awakening
During a Q&A at Revolt’s music conference in 2015 (yes, I bring you news three years late), Diddy said:
“See the things [sic] that’s tricky about politics is there’s so much bullsh*t with it. We started Vote or Die and… and from the community we’re in, we’re not with hearing too much of the bullsh*t. So that’s why we get disenfranchised, [we’re] disconnected because nothing that they’re saying actually relates to us… So Vote or Die, and getting out the vote, those things [were] laid out there so people could understand about the process. We started Vote or Die, and the whole process was all full of sh*t. The whole sh*t is a scam.”
~ P. Diddy, the artist formerly known as Puff Daddy and J-Lo’s better half
Thank you, P Diddy, for your eloquence and candor. 🙂
This style sounds familiar…hmm…where have I heard this before?? Oh yeah…
“Sh*t. I know sh*it’s bad right now. With all that starving bullsh*t. And the dust storms. And we’re running out of French Fries and burrito coverings. But I got a solution…
~ President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho, from the comedy film, Idiocracy
Over coffee an old friend of mine recently said she liked President Camacho better than any of our real presidents, despite his shortcomings. Why? Because she felt he at least seemed to care.
Do you think President Trump cares if everyone has fries and burrito coverings? I’m not so sure…
“At the end of the day, I’m not telling you not to vote. But I’m saying be a realist and know that they’re motherf**king kicking some bullsh*t up there.”
Hmm…why should we vote if it’s all just a scam?
The Perennial Debate
She said we needed to vote for 3rd party candidates and I said we shouldn’t vote at all. She went and cast votes for candidates like Ron Paul while this little piggy stayed home.
The difference between us is that she rejected the two-party system and I rejected the whole charade.
The entire point of letting people vote is to lead them into voluntary slavery, giving the appearance of choice where there really isn’t one. We always get the same thing with a slightly different rhetorical veneer.
Why do people keep on believing?
I think “lesser evilism” is the number one excuse people give for voting for horrible candidates. All we have is Trump or Clinton, so pick one.
Sometimes people don’t even really pick one, but rather avoid the other. They’re not “for Trump” so much as their “against Clinton,” or vice versa.
Yet if you dig a bit deeper, a lot of people get that both candidates are essentially the same. The very same people who stumble in to cast a vote sometimes take jabs at our “Coke or Pepsi” options.
Which sugary drink do you want to rot your teeth, give you diabetes and make you fat?
Pick your (lesser) poison seems to be the idea. No thanks!
Must Do Something!
The idea that you need to do something, even if it’s the wrong thing, seems to be stubbornly rooted in human psychology.
Once year ago, that same friend who expressed support for President Camacho was driving and we were stuck in a horrible traffic jam. She was feeling incredibly frustrated and trapped, and finally said, “I am getting in front of someone, even if it’s the person behind me!”
LOL. Not at all rational, but it is the impulse we fee to “do something.” Yet if you just calm down, accept that you’re stuck for a bit, and “do nothing,” it’s actually a lot more relaxing and equally effective.
If you want an even better example, think of almost any software company and their various “upgrades” that actually make their applications worse. And sometimes go so far as to render them nearly unusable!
As was the case with the latest editor that WordPress inexplicably foisted on their users. Though to their credit, they graciously backed out the abomination when I howled like a banshee at their support team.
This sort of ill-advised “progress” is so common my friends and I have started to refer to their “upgrades” as “U-P-G-R-A-Y-D-D-E-S,” With a double “d” for dumb. (Yes, that’s another Idiocracy reference).
Doing “something” is often a knee-jerk reaction that gets you into trouble. So at least consider that sometimes, simply doing nothing is a better option.
Must Swallow Pill
No, this will not be a “red pill, blue pill” metaphorical reference to the Matrix. One movie obsession per blog post is the house rule.
Instead, consider a scenario where I have two diet pills for you to choose from. Neither pill actually works to help you lose weight and both have harmful side effects. But I insist that you need to pick one anyway and swallow it.
Would you do it? Does that advice make any sense at all???
I think it would be better to just you’d just come right out and say, “That’s stupid. We need a better way to lose weight.”
I chose this example because it’s an apt parallel. It takes a lot more discipline to consistently diet and exercise than it does to swallow a pill. Similarly, it’s easier to go pull a voting lever than it is to question and work to change the system.
What Can I Do?
You are awesome and powerful. Yes, you…and yes, I know I sound like the “Love Guru,” and yes I just broke the house rule with another movie reference. 🙂
“People may say bad things about you but you should never say bad things about yourself.”~ Guru Pitka, aka “The Love Guru”
Mariska Hargitay. 🙂
The point is that we’re all human beings endowed by our Creator with amazing awesomeness and creativity.
Understanding that you can do something is the first step toward actually making a difference. Let’s take a real-world example.
Here is a video about a volunteer, supplemental police force that’s making neighborhoods safe in the once-great “Motor City” of Detroit:
It’s hard to argue that doesn’t count as “doing something.” It’s just people being creative and taking the initiative, and we can all do that in a gazillion different ways.
Part of controlling you is convincing you that you’re utterly powerless so that you never even try. You need to blame any particular group for this, whether it’s the Illuminati, the Church of Satan, or David Icke’s reptilian overlords.
It’s just the nature of human society, and you don’t have to fall for it. Get up of your sofa and do something…besides voting.
Lounge on Your Sofa
Go ahead. Sit the next one out. Just lounge on your sofa, undisturbed by the slightest twinge of guilt while your compatriots shuffle off to vote.
Yes, I realized that’s outrageous heresy to a lot of people. But I truly believe sitting out is the better part of valor. Because by boycotting elections, you are refusing to offer legitimacy to a lie.
Even if you take my mom’s approach and vote for a “third party” candidate, you are still participating and perpetuating the harmful myth that far too many people continue to believe.
Who needs Jill Stein or Ron Paul to make a point? I could write in “Mickey Mouse” and vote for him, and the outcome would be exactly the same!
Exactly the same as lounging on my sofa. Because, repeat after me, the elections do not matter. Whoever gets into office is going to serve the real powers that be, not you.
If you insist on maintaining your faith-based belief in voting, that’s alright. We’re all comforted by certain ideas, whether true or false. But please, please don’t scold and cajole others who do not share in your delusions!
Now I want to switch gears and talk specifically about Muslims and why we should not vote. Yes, I know…It’s all fun and games until someone brings religion into the mix. 🙂
But Islam is right guidance, and if you’re a Muslim, you should already know better than to vote. That’s my view anyway, though I seem to be in the minority in my circle of Muslim friends.
We even have scholars here in America telling us that voting is the right thing to do. Or at least not the wrong thing to do.
I do follow the advice of scholars, generally, and all I can say in this case is I’m glad they haven’t declared voting mandatory. Though some of them come close, employing the rubric of “good citizenship” in the lands where we reside, which I simply do not buy.
During this last presidential election, the “Vote or Die!” Muslims were out in force, especially on WhatsApp. They prodded, cajoled, and scolded until I finally lost patience and launched a lonely volley back at them.
O-Bomba, Killary, and so on…
Even Muslims who are socially conservative will often side with the Democrats, simply because so many Republicans seem to hate us. This was especially true in the case of Donald Trump, who unapologetically retweeted the musings of alt-right, Pepe-the-Frog-loving Nazis.
I know a lot of Muslims who seemed to genuinely love Barack Obama. Most of them were less in love with Hilary Clinton, but still saw it was their duty to champion her candidacy.
I liked President Barak Hussein “secret Muslim” Obama more than most US presidents. I didn’t vote for him and haven’t voted for anyone since I converted to Islam many years ago.
He was certainly more likable to me than most of our presidents. Yet like all the rest, he rarely missed an opportunity to bomb and plunder Muslim lands and take the side of Israel over the Palestinians.
All of the presidents without exception do the same. They all wage war on Islam. They all relentlessly bomb and subjugate Muslims and plunder Muslim lands.
If someone wants to argue that is not true, by all means, list in comments which US president has not engaged in this behavior.
If you insist on voting for one of these “bomb ’em and rob ’em” candidates, what will you tell the Afghans, Pakistanis, and Palestinians? That you needed Obamacare more than you wanted them to live?
Yes, I know. I’m contradicting myself a bit. Saying our votes don’t count yet we have blood on our hands if we do.
The point is that intentions count. You have metaphorical blood on your hands when you participate in elections, whichever way you vote.
If you’re honest with yourself, you know full well what you’re endorsing when you cast that vote.
Round Hole, Square Peg
Some “Vote or Die!” Muslims are fond of pointing out that we do have the concept of fiqh al-muwazanatin Islam. The jurisprudence of balances, which means to weigh the relative benefits and harms of a particular action.
The concept doesn’t apply to elections in the kufr system, as far as I know. But, apparently, a lot of Muslims disagree because they persisted in that line of reasoning during the last presidential election, pushing and shoving with all of their might.
Last election, we received a torrent of messages on Muslim-led WhatsApp groups pleading with us to vote for Hillary Clinton. Yes, they acknowledged, she has a history of bombing Muslims and championing Zionists, just like all the rest, but she is not Trump.
“Not Trump” was her best quality. Even they conceded that, and yet believed it was vitally important that Muslims cast a vote for her. Rather than argue, I just muted these notifications.
The torture of torrents will stop after elections anyway. Or not!
In the immediate aftermath when we all realized Trump had won, some of these “Vote or Die!” Muslims scolded all of us who didn’t vote. They said through our negligence we helped bring Trump to power, and now we’re all suffering as a result.
I ignored these messages. At first.
But when some of these “Vote or Die!” zealots continued to berate us to the point I was’t sure if it would ever end, I got fed up and decided to protest.
Please Tell me Why
I said on my main WhatsApp group that I’m not responsible for bringing Trump to power. I didn’t like Clinton or Trump and I never vote because voting is haram.
If you had voted for Hillary Clinton and she had won, then the blood of the Muslims she would have killed would have been on your hands. Same goes for Trump.
So do what you want, but don’t guilt me. I vote exactly never and I think you should do the same.
Surprise! Mine was not a popular view. Though after a period of silence, a few people did acknowledge my point. An even smaller few dared to express agreement once I’d pierced the veil of consensus.
I’m not going soft like P. Diddy. I’ll come right out and say I believe American Muslims should not vote in elections. Voting is haram and the main reason is easy to distill.
As I said in my recent post, in a secular system, ultimate authority rests with the people. In Islam, it rests with Allah.
If you vote, you’re confirming the secular system and misplacing authority that rightfully rests with Allah. You’re also voting for candidates and policies that violate Islam and harm Muslims.
Why would you want to do that? I really have no idea!
We Hear and Obey
If you really believe that voting is haram then you should not vote. Period. When we know what Allah has decreed, then we hear and obey, and all these tedious debates over the details don’t matter.
I entertain these other strands of thought anyway because other Muslims toss them into the mix. They argue we should vote because, for example, Hillary would have expanded the Obamacare that Donald is savaging.
Maybe and maybe not.
But for me, it doesn’t really matter. Even if voting for Hillary Clinton meant an end to war and single-payer healthcare, I still would not vote in the elections.
Because obeying Allah is not something we need to justify with reasons. Either we believe and submit or we don’t.
It’s not about saying, “We hear and obey…but…” Unless of course you actually doubt the legitimacy of the ruling in question.
In case you do, here is a scholarly discussion on the matter. One among many.
Obeying vs Endorsing
Muslims are required to obey the law of the lands where they live. So long as we’re not required by those laws to do anything that violates Islam.
If the laws become such that we can’t follow them without violating Islam, then we should move to another land. This is yet another reason why we need to restore the Khilafah.
Where can we move to now? A Muslim family I know recently escaped to the UAE and while they’re happier there, moving to a Western-back Gulf fiefdom isn’t really a “solution.”
Anyway, for those of us still living in the US, obeying a law is not an active endorsement. But we don’t need to go so far as to voluntarily offer tacit approval by participating in elections. We shouldn’t directly or indirectly advocate the kufr system over the Shariah.
I think that’s pretty straightforward.
Whether you vote or not, nothing will change because elections don’t change things. Period.
The rich and powerful have their way because that’s how the system is designed. Choice in this context is an illusion meant to keep you docile.
How long do you think this evil control system would last if we all just stayed home?
By refusing to vote you’re refusing to give legitimacy to a lie. That’s your real power and realizing that is incredibly liberating. 🙂