If you’re dead, you can’t vote. On the other hand, if your democracy is dead, you can’t vote either. There’s got to be some middle ground.
Seriously, the message on our newest tshirt shouldn’t be necessary. In a nation that came into existence and developed to full power under the initiation and spread of voting rights, it ought to be easy to get citizens to turn out and vote. The reality is that few Americans bother with voting.
The most common justification for not voting is a simple shrug. The second most common justification is to say that the candidates aren’t worth voting for.
Often, in many places, it is true that there is no reasonable choice among the candidates for a particular political office. However, it’s rare that just one political office is on the ballot. In a leap year like this one, Election Day in November will bring almost everyone a great list of candidates at the city level, county level, state level and national level.
Surely, some candidate in one of these elections will be worthy of your vote.
When you don’t vote, all you’re doing is giving the people who do vote more power. So, if you don’t agree with the way that most people are voting, not voting isn’t an effective protest.
The truth is that I know of at least one good presidential candidate who’s likely to be on the ballot in all 50 states this November. Her name is Dr. Jill Stein. Check her out – a vote for Stein will not be a vote wasted on more of the same.
We’ve created this t-shirt because, although there are serious problems with the American political system, we still believe in the democratic values that are at the core of the American identity. The real American dream isn’t to get rich. The American dream is to vote, and have it make a difference. For that to happen, the first thing you’ve got to do is show up.
If you find that there really is absolutely nothing worth voting for on the ballot, then don’t give any candidate or ballot initiative your support. But, show up to do that. Enter the voting booth and write in a candidate, or simply cast an empty ballot, if you must.
Remember, if you don’t vote, you let democracy die. Corporations and special interests won’t be to blame. You will.
Voting is the quintessential American ritual. So, we thought it was especially important that this tshirt is made in the USA. It’s sold through RedBubble, where every single shirt that’s sold is made by American Apparel, which has factories right here in the United States, providing jobs to Americans, and avoiding the nasty sweatshop abuses that are all too common in overseas outsourced garment factories.
The skull is not to represent the workers who made the shirt. It’s to represent what will happen to democracy if you don’t vote this year.