If one takes the view that morality is more than utilitarian, if you take the word “moral” to mean something beyond the reach of classroom ethics, into the realm of what is soulful and life-giving, if what is moral is opposed to nihilism, philistinism, and technocratic reductions to relativized objectivity, if what is moral is worth anything anymore, if we are not totally demoralized, if there is something more than an exercise in petty logic and economic calculation to morality, then it should be clear that voting is immoral.
But what is voting?
If what we mean by “voting” is an expression of one’s freedom and dignity, an act of our limited and mysterious will, the ability to “pray” (which is the meaning of the word “suffrage”), if voting refers to that Hellenic ideal of democracy where one’s personhood is linked to one’s citizenship, then it should be clear that the exercise we call “voting” is, in truth, an act of slavery.
Slavery is immoral, too. Perhaps this is why the lower classes know better than to vote or to pretend to live in a polis.
But maybe, sometimes, one has to purchase slaves in order to free them. Perhaps there is a redeeming reversal in the sin of today’s incestuous vote. God works in mysterious ways; the relations of Jesus to the Roman Empire were not exactly cozy.Today, in the American Empire, moralists and magicians are slicing and dicing the decision into bite sized toxic nuggets. The supreme court, the lesser fear of an evil that is already the establishment, the pretend game of hide and seek where we forget that most of our history has been an abomination of terror, war, and all the social engineering you can eat while we chase after a Pax Americana that is perhaps the least ambitious utopia ever imagined.
Sin boldly, Luther said. This may be the protestant insight to political activism in a liberal representative democracy with participation rates that sit well below 50%. Vote, eat, and be merry, for tomorrow we may have to pick up our trash and realize that there is nowhere left to put it but in our child’s mouth.
But as we gorge on the rotten meats of fleshy belly wounds and oozing sores of 24 hour news coverage, don’t mistake this for anything moral or real or more than real. Voting is immoral in every possible sense of those three words–voting. is. immoral.–and the brash entertainment of this unspectacular immorality will last until the next one arrives.
Don’t vote for salvation. The apocalypse will come regardless. We are always voting for it in every possible way.