Your vote doesn’t count. That’s the short version.
This article by Ankh Infinitus has been creeping around in my head for a few days, so I felt the need to articulate the way a republic (or representative democracy) works. Before I do, I’ll articulate how they want you to think it works.
The idea is that you elect your leaders. There are generally some voted in by region and some voted in as a whole that represent the people. Allegedly, they’re elected by will of the people and, if they violate that will, they will be voted out at the next election (or before in jurisdictions where a vote of no confidence exists). Of course, they pass their own laws by a vote, which curiously works differently from the way your votes do.
Be it a parliament, counsel, or congress, the concept is the same. A representative proposes a law, which is then written up and voted on by the other representatives. It has to achieve a certain majority to move on (either to law or to another house or politician). If it doesn’t achieve enough votes, further discussion as to what has to be done to make it happen is possible. This is the first difference between your vote and theirs.
You are given a limited number of choices (which could actually be as few as two, or even one in some cases), all of which are equally bad, and none of which you really want writing your laws. You are not allowed to block this vote to discuss further modification to the options before voting. But that’s not all.
If your representative doesn’t vote, their vote is automatically no. If you don’t vote, it counts as if the vote was never made. If representative democracy were not a scam, the entire United States government would have been voted out a long time ago. From what I’ve read, less than half of the registered voters actually vote. If the system were legitimate, there would be a majority of no votes, and every seat would be empty. A registered voter not voting is a clear message that he does not approve of any of the candidates, and therefore votes for the seat to be emptied, but it’s a vote that remains uncounted. If this happened in a parliament, counsel, or congress, nothing would ever pass. This happens in the people’s vote, and one of the losers on the ballot still manages to weasel their way into office. This is a clear violation of the will of the people. The people have spoken and have voted the seat empty.
So, at your next election, if you don’t like any of the candidates (and, just playing the odds, I would assume you don’t), rather than staying home on election day, go to the booth and write in, “None of the above.” If a write-in is not possible, then make it a point to take a trip to the capital of whatever jurisdiction is holding the election and make them count your vote. In a true democracy, a write-in is the only option. Of course, in a true democracy, there are no elections, but that’s another editorial (somewhere down there, but I can’t be arsed to link it, so find it on your own).
In conclusion, to anyone who’s ever asked who governs the government, you do. It doesn’t matter how you do it, but it’s your job to make sure they’re not overstepping their authority. If you’re not doing that, then you’re not doing your job.