What if you held an election and nobody showed up? That basically just happened in Roanoke City when only 6% of the population determined the city council members for the rest of the 94% of the voting population. This may lead to some clucking and outraged opinions about the lack of civic responsibility amongst the populace.
But is that really the issue anymore? Perhaps 94% Roanoke City has figured out something the other 6% may not have: that their vote doesn’t matter. And since it doesn’t matter, the 94% has withdrawn their consent to be governed by the city council. That sounds odd, but hear me out. The American political experience is predicated on the concept that legitimate government has to have the consent of the governed. We just assume that elections are the process that allows this to occur.
In Roanoke City, the Democrat leaning, sold out to special interest, Roanoke Times approved political machine churns out candidates selected by a small number of party elites that vary little in any substantive way.
In Roanoke County, the Republican leaning, sold out to special interest, Roanoke Times approved political machine churns out candidates selected by a small number of party elites that vary little in any substantive way.
Any suggestion to break the cycle is viewed as heresy; despite of the problems inherent in both localities. Unless you think that the Roanoke city government should feel good when over 30% of children in the city are living below the poverty level.
If anyone happens to get elected outside of the political machine (unlikely but possible) they are quickly demonized by the Roanoke Times, isolated like a virus by the political machine and eliminated as quickly as possible. (Al Bedrosian being the last example)
So why bother to vote? Conventional wisdom pins this on apathy. But is it? Or is it rather just a sad realization that a vote in this narrow choice of candidates is as useful as bucket of warm spit. I have a friend in Roanoke City. He has an issue with the city regarding a fence in his backyard. The city’s position is nonsensical. He didn’t vote. He is a likely Democrat voter. His rationale for not voting? “What difference would it make?” Has he not withdrawn his consent for this government? He will continue to pay taxes and abide by the city laws? Why? Because if he doesn’t he will face fines and actions that could throw him in jail and continuing to resist those actions will get him killed.
He is no longer giving his consent to be governed but resigning himself to avoiding deadly force. Look up the definition of CONSENT. Consent can not be legitimate if it is forced at gunpoint.
If the process is rigged, and no alternatives are reasonably possible, not voting is a reasonable way to communicate the withdrawal of consent.
At some point, the 94% of the population, if they don’t want to just be a slave to the status quo, need to find a more effective way to withdraw their consent than just passively not voting. At some point, if change is going to occur, the 94% are going to have to throw off the shackles of government force.
Until then, be prepared to be called a slacker who doesn’t care, instead of what you really are; a realist that sees the futility and corruption of the current system. And it makes perfect sense. If I just don’t get involved in politics, and instead, binge watch Stranger Things; I’ll have a much better time, with a lot less frustration and the political results will be the same. I have no confidence in the system. By not participating, I have effectively withdrawn my consent.
Unfortunately the future belongs to those who show up, and based on performance, the 6% are doing a pretty cruddy job of it. But the 6% do control the taxation, the regulation, and the police who will be asked to use force. So while you are withholding consent; your consent is being coerced by the 6% who showed up. At some point, a lot of the 94% will need to do more than passively withdraw consent. But the first real step in this journey is realizing the current political system is just not worth your participation. And if the latest elections are any judge, we are well on our way there.
When 94% of Roanoke City voters did not support a single person elected to government, does that government have legitimate authority to govern and use deadly force against peaceful people to compel them to comply with its decisions?