If you don't vote you can't complain.
I fundamentally disagree with this statement.
If you are educated and knowledgeable, passionate and informed, and have come to the conclusion that our system is, at its core, flawed, then why would you forfeit your right to state that simply because you on principle refuse to participate in it?
If you don't agree with either candidate and refuse to choose between the two that could win or among the several that won't, why is that wrong or unpatriotic or ignorant or reason to no longer have a voice that is valued?
Some would say because voting is your voice and you lose it if you don't exercise it. To that I would say, it is a voice with limited options. Voting is like a talking doll, no matter how many phrases are programmed into it, there's only so many phrases, and if none of them is what you want to say, why pull the string at all? Yes, of course there's the option to write in your vote. But if you take issue with the process, the very system itself, writing in the name of a person with no possibility of election just doesn't seem fitting, even symbolically.
Now, another argument for this vote or die mentality is that people died to give you the right, so you need to value it and honor them with your participation in the process. Well, this may be true, and their cause may have been just, but, for starters, no one insults the legacy of a soldier by continuing to fight for what is just. Same as you can support our troops without supporting the war. We honor the sacrifice of those before us by taking an interest in the betterment of our world. Voting is not the only way, neigh even the best way, to go about this.
So please, if you have read about the issues, or know that one candidate aligns best with your beliefs, or are excited about the process, or simply want to be a part of it all, by all means, go and vote. But if you are compelled to stay home today to avoid an overwhelming feeling of inauthenticity and defeat and make your own statement regarding our political state, don't be swayed by those who would have you believe this negates your voice, your "right" to have an opinion. It does not.
*This post does not endorse apathy, ignorance, or general disinterest. Only those who have made an informed decision regarding the voting process and its consequences.