Camille L. Threats is a former congressional campaign communications director.
Following the General Election, I pulled into the Wal-Mart parking lot in Mason and saw a sign for the congressional candidate I worked for during the entire election cycle. I laughed as I wondered which staffer or volunteer made the decision to put the sign of a pro-union candidate in the parking lot of anti-union Wal-Mart. After I completed my shopping, I grabbed the sign and threw it into the trunk of my car. The race was over, the battle had been lost, and it was time to move on. Our churches and schools returned to places of worship and education (not to be done simultaneously, please) after a day of hosting few voters, but bearing many political signs.
As the remnants of the political season are replaced with holiday cheer, I think about how many Americans formed lines at Wal-Mart and other retailers to buy must-have Black Friday items. The number of shoppers eagerly waiting to purchase discounted electronics surely outnumbered those who made the choice to vote on November 4.
Growing up in suburban Chicago, my Louisiana-bred parents stressed the importance of voting strictly because my ancestors died so I could have the right. Unfortunately, this year, I let my ancestors down. When I told my mother, who witnessed the true hatred of racism associated with voting rights in the South, she simply replied, “Well, you didn’t have time to vote. You were working so hard on the campaign.” She was right. I skipped the polls because I had neither the time nor the energy.
I relocated to this area strictly for the campaign, so I knew my residency had a possible post-election end date. Completing an absentee ballot was not an option, and I did not want to go through the hassle of changing my driver’s license. Additionally, by living in Northern Kentucky, the only race I knew anything about was between Mitch McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes, and neither candidate seemed like a good choice. I compared this race to choosing between beef or chicken on a banquet menu when you only eat fish – why bother? So, instead of voting as an uninformed voter or out of spite against a particular party, I participated in the process by distributing campaign literature and thanking people for their vote.
As a result, whether the next two years are a train wreck or a tea party (no pun intended), by forgoing my right to vote I also relinquish my right to complain. From now until November 2016, my American-as-apple-pie hole will remain shut as I join the millions of Americans who do not vote and do not feel bad about it.
On Black Friday, those same people fighting over a $5 waffle iron probably skipped the polls, too. However, when considering the problems caused by uninformed voters from both major political parties, many people should truly do us all a favor by staying at home.