US Elections: A Meaningless Ritual

Ikhras Guest Writer Roqayah Chamseddine is a Lebanese-American humanitarian activist. She is an undergraduate student majoring in Political Science/Pre-Law and Journalism. She was a member of the Gaza Freedom March last December in Cairo. Check out her tweets at

Ah, election day – the endless controversy, petulant midterm adverts, and sheer bureaucratic distortion of reality; you can almost feel yourself tethered that much more to the corrupt political machine.

November 2nd marked elections for territorial governorships and numerous local representatives, along with the United States House of Representatives and 37 of the 100 Senate seats. As US citizens lined the sidewalks, waiting patiently for the chance to cast their votes, the majority of voters had the challenge of settling between what has now become nothing more than a singular corporate hegemony. Or, excuse me – the Democratic and Republican Party.

I was one of many American citizens who did not cast a ballot in the elections yesterday but my reasons were distinctly antithetical to that of a plethora of others. I chose not to vote – not out of sloth or simply because I could not be bothered:

I vehemently refuse to engage in the American contrivance known as ‘voting’.

Why would I, an American citizen, rebuff the political franchise – the civil right of suffrage? After-all, the United States has a lengthy history with the right to vote; the milestones of suffrage are extensive products of social change and resistance. Why would I then reject what is branded as a powerful means of expression? The answer is fairly straightforward: to take part in a political system which is awash with corporate interests and the financial stimulation which accompany such interests is to willingly become fettered to the corrupt political apparatus itself. Your ballot becomes the chain, shackling you to the legislative machine; it is self-induced bondage.

There are those who contend that by refusing to vote for corrupt parties, neither of which I agree with, I have therein negated my right to hold an opinion; the pulling of a level and pressing of a button exemplifies the highest standard of expression in the eyes of mainstream Americans. Tangible discourse in the form of street protests and rallies has been whitewashed in order to promote what can easily be called the most passive method of dissent – voting.

The regime of the United States of America is run by plutocrats in democratic-sheep’s clothing: the bourgeois, the capitalists, the magnates – they execute the role of plebeian to such a fine-tuned extent yet this state of uncontested ministering has its flaws.  The only effective, tried and true method which will bring about change is for people to act – physically; to revolt, to take to the streets. You want freedom? Take it.  The corrupt capitalistic system must be dismantled.

You do not defeat a broken government by taking part in its shattered system, you subdue it and bring it to its knees.

I am more free than the man or woman who sits, boasting about how they have taken part in the political machine. Why? I do not need corrupt regulation to justify my opinion. A ballot does not give me veracious representation; I have chosen to become my own commissioner, my own delegate.

A ballot is no more than a piece of paper or a blip on the computer screen. My voice and any tangible action in the form of civic activism I take is worth much more – this, in comparison to all else, is priceless.

The master has given his slave the precious right to vote and the slave is grateful, but as we know “…giving every man a vote has no more made men wise and free than [religion] has made them good.” –  Henry Mencken

I have no master, I am no ones slave and I ardently oppose to have my mind shackled to the corrupt empire.

  2 comments for “US Elections: A Meaningless Ritual

  1. DrM
    November 4, 2010 at 9:45 PM

    Utterly brilliant! I stopped voting years ago. The whole thing is a sham, not to mention an act of shirk.

    • August 12, 2014 at 9:33 AM

      Martha, you NAILED it right on. When I was 21, I didn’t vote either, and as I got older, I did. Just cuz she has a well known mom, why shluod you all be condemming her. She did a wonderful job on DWTS. She kept going every week, not being a dancer, and gave it her ALL.. As the weeks came and gone, I could see her PERSONALITY and SELF CONFIDENCE grow. Most of you LAME DEADBEATS can criticize, but when raising kids, if they can grow as she has, and do what she did at her age, she is doing wonders. Bristol, don’t let any of the negativity get to you, cuz you showed us ALL, that what you STRIVE for and attack it, you can and WILL come out close to or ON TOP.. and yes, YOU GO GIRL!!!!

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