How they talk you out of voting
The easiest way to win an election is to get the people who might vote for your opponent to not vote.
TV has proven an effective engine behind this strategy, and the growth in voter turnout has slowed since campaigns began running significant TV campaigns 50 years ago. [This year's turnout was the lowest since 2000].
It works because it's not that difficult to talk someone out of voting.
The two most common unstated reasons for not voting are:
"I don't want to vote for the person who loses, because I'll feel badly having wasted my vote and being associated with the unpopular outcome."
"I don't want to vote for the person who wins, because then I'll be partly responsible for whatever happens."
A popular rationale to justify either of these reasons is:
"I don't like either candidate, they're both terrible."
The thing is, there has never been a perfect leader. There has never been a flawless president. There are always weaknesses, foibles and scandals. It takes more than a hundred years before the patina sets in, and even then, most great leaders throughout history had defects that would cause them to wither under today's profit-minded, scandal-focused media.
Same thing for the charities we donate to (or don't), the heroes and mentors we revere, the organizations we're proud to be a part of.
Change is always rough around the edges. It has no right answers, no ideal keys that unlock the future. But risky schemes are always risky.
The media, with our complicity, has created a game where we end up disillusioned and disgusted. But it's only the disillusioned and the disgusted voters who are capable of raising the bar in the long run.
Vote as if you're responsible, because you are, especially if you don't vote.
Vote as if it's not anonymous, knowing that you'll have to explain it to your grandchildren.
Work for justice. Progress is possible. It matters.