I’ve always been curious at the way people respond to that which they don’t understand or agree with. The raised eye brows in incredulous disbelief or the stupefied look of superiority.
I get it sometimes when people find out I am a vegetarian or that I do not partake in alcoholic beverages or that I don’t have a cell phone or that I refuse to watch the news or gasp, shock, horror…I don’t use a Face Book account.
But more recently I get it, and with much more vehemence, when I tell people I do not vote in Presidential Elections; the last time I voted was for Ralph Nadar.
This is the first year, however, the disbelief of others came with the label apathetic, or at least the first year I’ve noticed it.
I don’t think apathy is the right descriptive word for everyone who refuses to take part in the election. Perhaps defiant or maybe angry and frustrated. Discouraged is another good one.
If there is one thing I’ve been thinking about a lot since going back to school it’s capitalism.
It’s this idea of “news” and the corporate sponsored media.
What I don’t think people understand, people who call me apathetic, is that no matter who wins, it will be fraudulent. I can’t participate in that kind of fraud. I won’t.
But I do understand why people still vote, why people still want to believe in our system.
What’s the alternative?
While I could believe the same people who call me apathetic – the same people who believe in participating in and supporting what I consider to be a very broken system – are either ignorant, in denial, or hopeful, I choose to go with hopeful.
I’m reminded of my thirteen-year-old son. He’s so optimistic and so innocent. He believes what he is taught in school. He believes that the government is for the people. He believes that his voice matters.
What I’d like to do is shatter that hope, show him reality, tell him the real history and not the watered down and twisted version. I’d like to take off his reality-altering glasses and stomp on them.
But I won’t. Because hope is important. It is hope that initiates change. I want his hope to be so strong that when he does grow up and go out into the big, wide world, it will still remain.
So today, as people make their ways to the polls, I will respect their sense of hope, their idea of duty, and their commitment. And I will leave it at that.
As for me? I am hopeful and I will sit and wait. I will wait and hope one day, someone amongst the apathetic young people who acknowledge the corruption and the break down, will begin to initiate change.