Resistance is NOT Futile. Please Register and Vote.

[No one visits Coilhouse to read some blowhard’s soapbox rant, so I’ll keep it as brief as possible. The following missive is addressed specifically to our young, able-bodied, opinionated American friends of voting age who still aren’t 100% sure they’ll make it to the polls on November 4th. If that description doesn’t directly apply to you, please don’t waste your time reading any further. You might want to watch this charming video of a frolicsome chihuahua instead. Thanks!]

An Open Letter to the Basilica of Latter Day Apathetics (American Branch)

We’re in deep doo doo, loves. Up to our necks like the polar bears and the Dow. Every time one of you says “why bother voting when the system is so corrupt” or “all of the candidates are disingenuous scumbags, anyway” or “the whole thing’s rigged” or “what difference does it make”, we all sink a little deeper into the muck. Not okay. While I may share your doubts and your lack of trust, your personal defeatism mustn’t drag us any further down than we’ve already gone.

I do know a tiny handful of conscientious, some might say radical objectors who refuse to take part in U.S. elections because they want to see the system fail. While I don’t share that desire, I can at least respect their strong convictions. But let’s face it. Anarchic leanings are not generally the reason why folks in our demographic don’t cast a ballot. Far more commonly, people (especially young, moderate-to-liberal-leaning people) fail to vote because they can’t be bothered. The true obstacle preventing them from registering, reading up on the propositions, researching the various platforms and making the Herculian effort of slinging their asses over to the polls is plain old, limp-wristed lethargy.

Perhaps it’s naive, but I remain convinced that the inertia anchoring millions of otherwise rational and compassionate Americans to their armchairs on election day is one of the biggest reasons why our “democracy” needs air-quotes in the first place. Please, if you haven’t yet registered to vote, put aside your premature world-weariness for five minutes and GET ‘ER DONE. There’s still time, but it’s running out. In many states, the deadline is October 4th. That’s tomorrow.

I’m far from confident or enthusiastic about the way our country runs its elections, and this soapbox is an awkward perch for me. But I know one thing for certain, my young, able-bodied, non-voting American friend, and I really hope you will believe me:

Cynicism will not protect you from disappointment. It will not shield your loved ones from harm or neglect. It will never heal your community, fix the ailing economy, or return any semblance of dignity to this country.

Your indifference is not a safety blanket; it is a shroud.

Your vote is your voice. Say something.

38 Responses to “Resistance is NOT Futile. Please Register and Vote.”

  1. Jessica Says:

    Hear hear!

    P.S. Nice doggie!

  2. Zoetica Says:

    I am Zo and I support this message.

    There is nothing hip about apathy, peeps. This is the second most important election of our lives – let’s do it right this time around!

    P.S. The text at the end of the rapacious dog video says “Happy Valentine’s Day”.

  3. David Forbes Says:

    Thank you, Mer.

    The last eight years should have served as a brutal object lesson to any and all out there that politics does matter — and that there is literally no excuse for not voting. Hoping for a collapse is like trying to build a house with a wildfire. Anyone with a brain in their heads or the memory of an empty belly knows: this is for real.

  4. Rex Parker Says:

    Technically, you don’t have to be able-bodied, even.

    Nice, reasonable, unselfrighteous plug for lever-pulling (or however the doohickies work nowadays).


  5. gooby Says:

    Jeesy Creesy! Now you got me marchin like Robert Preston at the end of the Music Man, or maybe like the mom in Mary Poppins. In some alternate past, I hope I was sitting behind you as you wrote this piece blaring “We are the Champions” out of my boom box.

    Once again, your prose brings tears to my eyes.

    And again, you eloquently put into text what I have so much trouble expressing to my friends and family who are unfortunately the demographic this piece was written for. I’ll give you the credit as my speech writer next time I get the chance. “As Meredith Yayanos once said..”

    Now I’m off to march the streets “Seventy Six trombones lead the big parade…”

  6. Mer Says:

    Technically, you don’t have to be able-bodied, even.

    True, Rex. Oh, and of course, by no means is this post intended to dismiss non able-bodied citizens! During last February’s primaries, I watched people in wheelchairs, veterans with missing limbs, even a rickety 90 year old man who could barely stand make it down to the local polling station. Seeing them dutifully come out on election day has made my personal beef with the young, able-bodied, non-voting crowd all the more intense, and that’s why I’m addressing them specifically.

    Aw, Goo. You too much. Y’know, I always felt a certain kinship with the Music Man composer, seeing as her name was Meredith (and she was kind of a blowhard, herself. Hee.)

  7. Damien Says:

    You don’t need my pat on the back to make you feel good about yourself, but I really just wanted to say how proud I am to see places like Coilhouse putting this message out there. AND you reminded me to make my own quadrennial rant. Thank you.

  8. Jon Munger Says:

    And remember – a close election is easy to rig; a landslide nearly impossible. No matter what the polls say, it’s not in the can until someone is sworn in. Don’t get complacent.

  9. Tanya Says:

    For every person in this country who for one reason, or another, neglects to vote, there is a vast population of non-citizens who would gladly jump at the opportunity. It’s such a SHAME that this PRIVILEGE, not just RIGHT, is taken for granted by many. And let’s not forget people out there in the world who live in an imperfect political climate, where democracy is either non-existent or just a sheer farce.

    I remember when I just became a US citizen. The timing was such that by the time I got my passport and citizenship documents, I had forgotten to register to vote. Then it was too late. I shrugged my shoulders then, but several of my friends bitched me out when I said “Well, I just wasn’t used to it. I’ll do it next time.” SO not a legitimate excuse. They said, “We *understand* why this happened, but that doesn’t mean we are okay with it.” I’ve learned my lesson since then.

  10. kc Says:

    This goes doubly true for women voters – you are doing those who fought, suffered and died for the right to vote a huge dishonor by not taking advantage of the rights they gave so much for you to have.

  11. Tequila Says:

    I won’t lie, my faith in the voting process is non-existent. I don’t support any political parties let alone buy into half of what a candidate says. I see too many on both sides as absolute hypocrites about their ideals who run for their political banners when things get uncomfortable.

    Then again I’m in the camp that believes that corruption is the natural state of those with power. So getting ME to register and commit to voting was as close to a divine miracle as one can get. The last four years…it’s just been too much to even be jaded about. The only step beyond this mess is not an option ANY of us want to see. If the current election gives us ANY hope for a turnaround then we’ve all a duty to play our part.

    Plus after seeing the vice-presidential debate…that women scares the hell out of me. The fact she’d be a bad heartbeat away from what is still the most powerful position on the planet is too terrifying to fathom.

    So if you’re like me and don’t really feel like you’re voting FOR something or someone then vote AGAINST something or someone. That’s real easy.

  12. DJ Velveteen Says:

    I’m in Tequila’s boat. I don’t vote because I think it makes a significant change in the system – in fact, I think that voting is tacitly consenting to the system, the way it is run, and its effects on those networks global, ecological, and everything in between. To me, the actions I take and the way I spend my money is what’s important. Sure, voting is a use of one’s voice, but I think that I give myself and my people – and all people – a lot more credit than trying to change the world by voting. And it’ll take a lot more involvement than voting to get things right fixed around these parts.

    The battle is in our hearts and minds, not necessarily our governments. That said, I still vote – I mean heck, may as well. One reason is special, though: so I can never get caught in that sanctimonious argument: “If you didn’t vote, you don’t get to complain!”

  13. whelka Says:

    we three sail in the same lonely boat. i’ll still vote, but i realize that when people say “come on, voting is the least you can do”… i know they’re right. it IS the least meaningful thing you can do politically. sure, you can vote to decide on the lesser of two shit-systems, but is that really your “voice”? personally, my voice has nothing to do with choosing between two dishonest, myopic, cowardly, oldhat candidates that are both further right than nixon in a lot of ways. so much really needs to start happening from the bottom-up.. and now. our culture is destroying everything, and there is serious ecological, economic, and energy collapse down the pipeline, that no party is really giving any sane solutions for.

  14. Nadya Says:

    I clicked on the hyperlinked words “sink a little deeper into the muck.”


    I laughed. I cried. I registered.

  15. Alice Says:

    As an American, many more people than I care to count lost their lives so that I could have my little teensy say in how my country is run; as a woman, many more gave up their dignity and even died (in shockingly horrible ways) so that I could have the right to vote.

    Gets me all choked up and makes me proud to wear that dorky little “I Voted” sticker.

  16. Jani Says:

    I want to vote too, in something big…! :(
    We have only municipal elections coming up, but maybe I still get some satisfaction voting there and supporting my friend.

  17. Monshogaku Says:

    Have a co-worker that is 28 years old and has never voted. When I asked him why, his response was “Show me where voting actually makes a difference”. I slammed my current issue of The Economist into his chest. “Read that and bring it back to me tomorrow and it should answer your own stupid question.”

  18. Steve B Says:

    I have long believed that the difference between the lesser of two evils is almost always greater than the difference between the better of two goods (that’s a quote from somewhere, but I apologize that I cannot remember where from). So in my opinion the more cynical you are about voting, the more you should participate :).

    (Yes, this is a long-winded variation on Tequila’s “don’t really feel like you’re voting FOR something or someone then vote AGAINST something or someone” statement. )

  19. Jordan Says:

    Already registered. I couldn’t vote in the primaries because of my party choice, but nothing’s stopping me from getting my ballot in for the general election.

    Playing the devil’s advocate: I’ve heard the fearful sentiment “That woman is a bad heartbeat away from becoming president” so many times in the past two weeks, and people cite her inexperience. But she’s got more experience in an executive office than Obama. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still voting for the left. I’d just like to hear better arguments against the right than “that woman might become president.” People should be railing against her for the same reasons they rail against McCain, and that is for disagreement with her beliefs.

  20. cappy Says:


    Look — I wish people would stop throwing around the fact that Palin has “more executive office experience” as a reason why she’s more qualified than Obama. The mayor of Des Moines, Iowa technically has “more executive office experience” than Obama, but I don’t think he’s more qualified than Obama. Just like Mrs. Palin, with her two years as governor of Alaska (whoop-dee-doo), is probably not more qualified either.

    The woman made rape victims pay for their own rape kits — Jeebus, how much more evidence do you need that she’s not a very nice person. :\

  21. Chris L Says:

    Also, something to consider regarding ‘experience’ is that it’s been shown to be not at all necessary for the office of President – look at Ronald Reagan. Of course he destroyed the country, but a large chunk of the population still looks up to his legacy, and the destruction certainly wasn’t single-handed. Especially in cases like Palin, or Reagan, or Bush, the President is more of a figurehead – whoever holds the position is surrounded by so many shrewd advisors that the individual’s experience becomes largely irrelevant (so long as they can adequately channel those advisors – which Palin seems unable to do).

    McCain/Palin have truly disturbing policies, and that’s what’s worth examining. Experience is certainly important, but more weight has been placed on it (by both sides) than perhaps is relevant.

  22. Alice Says:

    ….another point! It may be a minor one, but, here it goes….

    I always felt that you really don’t have a right to complain about the administration unless you did your part and voted in the first place. And who DOESN’T love complaining?

  23. Pamela Says:

    This should apply to Canadian readers as well. Our elections are coming up on October 14th and can be just as important as what’s going on in the states. It’s easy to be distracted by the US politics right now. Even I admit they’re more exciting (I love Sarah Palin, she’s such great comedy!). But we have to get informed about what’s going on up here and vote as well.

  24. Erin Says:

    I’m seconding Alice. I hate it when people complain when they’ve done, or are doing nothing to attempt to change the situation. As long as you’ve tried, you can complain all you want in my book.

  25. violaine Says:

    You’re going to LOL at me, but after reading this post and actually going through the process of making sure I can vote in PA, I felt giddy and light-headed. I also emailed this post to 5 young, not-that-political friends of mine in PA that may or may not be already registered.

    Thank you, Mer!

  26. R. Says:

    I made sure that I was registered in my city this year because this is more important than anything else right now. I used to be apathetic and say “Well, why does it matter anyhow.” 2000 really burned me and that was the year I was legal to vote. Now 8 years later I’ve changed my tune, because yes, our voices matter (in some small way, but they freaking matter to me at least) and darn it all we need to make sure we’re out there in droves, folks.

    Mer, thank you for this. I plan to run around telling people to vote (not to the point of scaring them silly or annoying them but just nicely asking those around me if they’re registered already).

  27. Jerem Morrow Says:


    Yes, exactly.

  28. Io Says:

    Very well said. We get the government we deserve.

  29. Polyvalence Says:

    I suddenly ask myself what is the % of the right that hesitate to vote versus the left %. I might be wrong but I doubt the take it so lightly …

    We have the luck of being in country where you CAN vote, people died, and in some place still do to get that power, to be able to voice your opinins, yes it is imperfect but if we wait for perfection we’d better get back to our bed and don’t get out of it, ever.

    I totaly agree with the anarchist, voting is only playing the game, BUT I also realise that if it is only a bunch of us doing so there is no point to it. Like DJ VELVETEEN said the real change is gonna come from the choice we make has individual, and the first should be to vote.

  30. January Says:

    Thank you, Pamela, for bringing up our elections- it is incredibly easy to be distracted by US politics- two girls I sit near at work are constantly chatting about the US elections, but had no idea that our own are happening next week. *shudder*

  31. lizzelizzel Says:

    Ugh, those videos. It scares me when you can see stupidity AND hatred in someone’s eyes.

  32. Mer Says:


    What’s happening right now, in the final weeks before the election, is beginning to outright terrify me. As a friend of mine put it: “the environment is beginning to feel like the 1960s in the south. Or worse, Germany in the 1930s. I am no longer watching this campaign with anxious anticipation, I am watching it with fear and dread.”

    A piece in the Baltimore Sun by Frank Schaeffer:

    October 10, 2008

    John McCain: If your campaign does not stop equating Sen. Barack Obama with terrorism, questioning his patriotism and portraying Mr. Obama as “not one of us,” I accuse you of deliberately feeding the most unhinged elements of our society the red meat of hate, and therefore of potentially instigating violence.

    At a Sarah Palin rally, someone called out, “Kill him!” At one of your rallies, someone called out, “Terrorist!” Neither was answered or denounced by you or your running mate, as the crowd laughed and cheered. At your campaign event Wednesday in Bethlehem, Pa., the crowd was seething with hatred for the Democratic nominee – an attitude encouraged in speeches there by you, your running mate, your wife and the local Republican chairman.


    John McCain: In 2000, as a lifelong Republican, I worked to get you elected instead of George W. Bush. In return, you wrote an endorsement of one of my books about military service. You seemed to be a man who put principle ahead of mere political gain.

    You have changed. You have a choice: Go down in history as a decent senator and an honorable military man with many successes, or go down in history as the latest abettor of right-wing extremist hate.

    John McCain, you are no fool, and you understand the depths of hatred that surround the issue of race in this country. You also know that, post-9/11, to call someone a friend of a terrorist is a very serious matter. You also know we are a bitterly divided country on many other issues. You know that, sadly, in America, violence is always just a moment away. You know that there are plenty of crazy people out there.

    Stop! Think! Your rallies are beginning to look, sound, feel and smell like lynch mobs.

    John McCain, you’re walking a perilous line. If you do not stand up for all that is good in America and declare that Senator Obama is a patriot, fit for office, and denounce your hate-filled supporters when they scream out “Terrorist” or “Kill him,” history will hold you responsible for all that follows.

    John McCain and Sarah Palin, you are playing with fire, and you know it. You are unleashing the monster of American hatred and prejudice, to the peril of all of us. You are doing this in wartime. You are doing this as our economy collapses. You are doing this in a country with a history of assassinations.

    Change the atmosphere of your campaign. Talk about the issues at hand. Make your case. But stop stirring up the lunatic fringe of haters, or risk suffering the judgment of history and the loathing of the American people – forever.

    We will hold you responsible.

  33. Nadya Says:

    @ Mer: I know. I sat that creepy video of the Palin-McCain Mob from that’s been floating around, and it gives me the willies! That one girl is SCARY!

    There is no doubt that Obama is going to win, but then what? He needs to have TOP security and never address people in open spaces. I worry about him and his family.

  34. Nadya Says:

    Mer, to follow up on this, I think McCain heard Schaeffer loud and clear. From CNN today:

    At a rally in Minnesota on Friday, a woman told McCain: “I don’t trust Obama. I have read about him and he’s an Arab.”

    McCain shook his head and said, “No ma’am, no ma’am. He’s a decent family man…[a] citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues. That’s what this campaign is all about.”

    One man at the rally said he was “scared of an Obama presidency.” McCain later told the man he should not fear Obama.

    “I want to be president of the United States, and I don’t want Obama to be,” he said. “But I have to tell you, I have to tell you, he is a decent person, and a person that you do not have to be scared as President of the United States.”

    But then…

    McCain’s response was met with boos from the crowd.

  35. Mer Says:

  36. Catherine Traub Says:

    THankyou!! I can’t explain to you how many of my friends do not want to vote this year.

    This is great.

  37. Oddly Says:

    ‘Technically, you don’t have to be able-bodied, even.’


    Hell, you don’t even have to haul your ass to the polls any more, so there is no excuse *including laziness* for any legally able person in this country not to vote. *Is that a double negative?* <- Info/Registration for Absentee Voting

    The first time, I knew I was going to be out of the country for Election Day. Since then, I’ve just been lazy, but thanks to Absentee Voting, I can still let my voice be heard!(**)

    I got my ballot in the mail earlier this week, filled it out, slapped a stamp on it and plopped it into the post box today. No excuses, people!
    I’ve got good, intelligent friends who live in this country whose voices can’t be heard simply because they weren’t born here. Many of them are working hard to become citizens so that they can have this choice. On the other hand, I know many others *friends, also* who choose not to vote, then complain endlessly when things go bad.

    Probably preaching to the choir, but hopefully, not.

    (**)My voice: though some what loud and shrill, not responsible for the avalanche of chaos insued over these last 8-ish years.

  38. David Forbes Says:


    Over here in Asheville, 47 percent of all registered voters in the county have already done so early. Added to today’s voters, that means that turnout could easily top 65 percent. In NC as a whole, the early voting numbers are already 70 percent of the entire total vote for 2004. It’s going to be a record-breaking day.