Let’s Not Make Voting About Shame

Tomorrow is an election that means that pretty much every kind of media is going to be covered in election coverage and commentary and encouragement to vote. Social media will be full again of encouragement, requests and pleas to people to vote. I have one request as write those posts tomorrow. Don’t use shame.

I get it, you care a whole lot and you want as many people as possible to participate. However voting is one way to be involved in politics, it is not the be all and end all of political involvement. We do not shame those who don’t protest for not caring, we do not shame those who don’t volunteer for a party for not putting in the time, we do not shame those who don’t ever talk about politics for not engaging. So please do not shame those who don’t vote.

By all means encourage those around you. Be excited that you voted. Spread information and make it easy to do so. But understand that some people have made a choice not to vote and respect that. Understand that some people are incredibly disenfranchised and apathetic and respect that. Understand that some people think the system is irreparable and respect that. Not everyone experience this country the way you do and that shapes what participation they feel good about and willing to do. People are not apathetic or disenfranchised out of spite for you, or your political agenda. I am not telling you that you need to like it, but do not make voting something people are shamed into doing. That is not engagement or participation that you should feel good about.

I promise that I will never say you can’t complain about something because you didn’t protest. I will not write articles about how those over 40 don’t have enough conversations about politics. In exchange you need to leave the shame behind, be compassionate, and be respectful of those don’t vote. And whatever you do please do not post “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain”. Just don’t.