Is Voting Worthless? Global Protests Ensue

Israel, India, Spain and even Wall Street protesters decry the vote.

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Nicholas Kulish of the New York Times is reporting that hundreds of thousands of disullusioned folks are protesting voting throughout the world. Kulish highlights Indians cheering a rural activist on a hunger strike; the largest street demonstrations in Israel's history; enraged young people in Spain and Greece taking over public squares across their countries. Why are they angry?

Their complaints range from corruption to lack of affordable housing and joblessness -- common grievances throughout the world. But from South Asia to the heartland of Europe and now even to Wall Street, these protesters share something else: wariness, even contempt, toward traditional politicians and the democratic political process they preside over. While they protest for different reasons, they have one thing in common: no hope for the ballot box.

Kulish reports, "Economics have been one driving force, with growing income inequality, high unemployment and recession-driven cuts in social spending breeding widespread malaise. Alienation runs especially deep in Europe, with boycotts and strikes that, in London and Athens, erupted into violence." He adds, "But even in India and Israel, where growth remains robust, protesters say they so distrust their country's political class and its pandering to established interest groups that they feel only an assault on the system itself can bring about real change."

It's really easy to refuse to vote when you may not have had to fight for the right to vote. While it is simple to understand why people have lost faith in the voting system, it is hard to understand why folks don't get that when they don't vote, they are in fact voting.

One only has to think about the 2000 U.S. presidential election, when Bush "won" the election by fewer than 1,000 votes. Since his election, we've gone from being one of the wealthiest and most powerful countries on the planet to damn near bankrupt and unstable. Voting and not voting matter. Conscientious objectors can refuse to vote all they want, decrying the political system and the ballot box, but be clear: You are indeed voting and participating in the political process, even when you think you are not.

Read more at MSNBC.

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