I have known people who proclaim that they don’t vote, because the system is corrupt and they’re not allowed to vote for who and what they really want to vote for, and voting is in some way preventing them from doing something to bring about change.
This doesn’t make sense.
Regardless of what you think about American politics or parties, no matter how corrupt the system is, there is still some relevance in voting. Taking 20 minutes out of your life once every four years in no way prevents you from engaging in political activities or direct actions or culture jamming or whatever else you choose.
You know damn well that Al Gore would not have ordered the invasion of Iraq. So, if you were too lazy or stupid to take a few minutes out of your life to vote in the presidential election, then you have a few drops of the blood of a couple hundred thousand Iraqis on your hands. And you will for the rest of your life.
The Iranians have a problem similar to the one we Americans have. They have elections, but not really free elections. As a result of the failure of their system to bring about promised reforms, the people stopped voting for the reformers. But, although Ahmedinejad is ten times worse than Khatami, Iran is no closer to revolution than it was before. Nor are we. As under Bush, people have suffered and died for no good reason.
Withholding your vote does absolutely no good, does much harm.