The Commonwealth Blog

The “Don’t Vote” Campaign

Sep 29, 2010 @ 12:07 PM by Anonymous
By Sally Schilling


It’s that time again. Midterm elections are beginning to be the talk of the nation once more. With more than a month until election day, major news stations are beginning their up-to-the-minute coverage of pre-election news.

We see the media excitement is building, and with it, the encouragment of people to get out there and vote.

One organization that is mobilizing for this election is The Rock the Vote campaign, with the goal of encouraging millions of young people to register to vote by using a sort of pop-culture marketing vibe.

Another mainstream vote-promoter is CNN. CNNPolitics online said, “U.S. midterm voters choose who makes decisions that touch millions of American lives. These issues range from taxes and national security to Social Security benefits and Medicare.”

Contrary to these conventional words of encouragement about civic duty, P. J. O’Rourke will be telling attendees at the Club on September 30, “Don’t Vote: It Just Encourages the Bastards,” which is the title of his latest book. (In a recent interview with CBS, he said that he apologizes for the vulgar language in the book, but politics is a vulgar subject.)

For those who prefer to follow politics through a more comedic medium, cnn.com may not be your first choice. There is an ever-growing following of political satire. Some of the most popular contemporary satirists can be seen on liberal shows “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” on Comedy Central. But don’t think that liberals are the only ones pumping out witty and enlightening critiques of our political system. O’Rourke is one of the conservative kings of political humorist material.

“The mystery of government is not how Washington works but how to make it stop,” O’Rourke famously said.

This is not the first time O’Rourke will be visiting the Club. His past visits, which have all been popular, have covered topics such as an analyses of The Wealth of Nations or America’s cash-for-clunkers program.

This time, O’Rourke said, in a recent CBS interview, he wants to “remind Americans that we don’t vote to elect great men, we vote to throw the bastards out.”

If that sounds overly cynical, O'Rourke adds that voting isn't the be-all of solving our problems: “We cannot vote that oil away,” he said of the BP oil spill.


O’Rourke will be speaking at the Club at noon on September 30.