I'm a pretty reasonable guy about most things. But not about voting. Charlton Heston will voluntarily turn in all his firearms to the Enemy long, long before they're able to pry the vote from my cold, dead fingers. Patriots died to give me this right. I'm not going to give it up just because there are some ballots that fill the soul with dismay.
In all the time since I came of age, I've failed to vote in exactly one election -- and that's because my college roommate put the absentee ballot atop the furnace, where he figured it would be safe, and by the time I got home a hole had been burned all the way through the center. Every single other election, primaries included, I'm there at the front of the line.
The reason I'm so enthusiastic about representational democracy is that where it counts most -- the presidential election -- my candidate usually loses. And yet, because there's always hope, and because the system confers a strange kind of legitimacy (the kind that has you muttering that people get the kind of government they deserve), I have never once been tempted to pick up a gun and participate in the violent overthrow of a government that sometimes appalls me.
That's worth a lot.
Above: I picked that image off of the Web. I sure hope that those tiny little words I can't render decipherable don't say anything hideous.