Open letter to Americans: U.S. Mid-term Elections

“If You Don’t Know What’s Going On, Don’t Vote”

By —— Bio and Archives--October 28, 2010

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Dear Fellow Americans: 

Actually, not all of my fellow Americans.  This letter is directed at a particular subset of Americans who manage to weave their way through life without the slightest concern or knowledge about the critical issues facing the country today.  For you, “news gathering” consists of watching John Stewart’s “The Daily Show,” even as you remain undeterred by the fact that the network which broadcasts it is called Comedy Central.  Some of you are the kind of people who voted for Barack Obama because, as one of your herd put it to me, “all my friends voted for him.”


Far be it from me to deny you your determination to remain willfully oblivious. It must be truly wonderful in some unfathomable sense to live a life consumed by tweeting every inanity that has ever popped into your head, or playing Beer Pong for hours on end.  No doubt it is a source of great pride to have hundreds of “friends” on Facebook, or the latest, greatest 4G phone.

You know who you are. You’re kind of Americans whose principal source of “historical” information is Hollywood movies such as Oliver Stone’s “JFK” or “Nixon.”  Your environmental “expertise” begins and ends will Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth.”  Economics?  “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.” 

Your reading material, for those of you who haven’t yet reached the conclusion that reading is for “nerds,” is dominated by magazines or internet sites dedicated to celebrity gossip or the latest trends and fashions.  Your knowledge of the Constitution?  Nil.  “American Idol” and/or Kim Kardashian?  Chapter and verse.

Again, I don’t wish to see you denied your blissfully ignorant lifestyles.  Somewhere deep in the back of your minds you probably know that such lifestyles have been bought and paid for with American blood and treasure, but war is one of those “icky” things you don’t like to talk about.  Sure, things go wrong now and then, but not enough to make you pay serious attention.

Right now, you probably see people all around you getting excited and angry about “all that government stuff,” and I suspect that even the most obtuse among you know we’re having an election next Tuesday.  No doubt many of you could get caught up in that excitement and be tempted to exercise your Constitutional privilege to vote.  Not because you know what’s going on, but because somebody told you it’s the “right thing to do.”

Trust me, it’s not.  There are millions of Americans with a huge stake in Tuesday’s outcome, and the thought of some vapid nitwits negating our carefully considered choices is a bit nauseating.  One day off from self-inflicted ignorance in order to “Rock the Vote” simply doesn’t cut it.  I know all about “civic duty,” but that’s something which requires a little more effort than treating a voting machine like a video game once every two years.

Besides, I heard next Tuesday there’s a big sale going on at the mall…

Arnold Ahlert


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Arnold Ahlert -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Arnold Ahlert was an op-ed columist with the NY Post for eight years.

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