Gus Cuddy | Essays:

Ripples

06 November 2018

Water is so much more fine and sensitive an element than earth. A single boatman passing up or down unavoidably shakes the whole of a wide river, and disturbs its every reflection.

Thoreau’s Journals

When I vote, I think about ripples in the water.

It’s easy to think your vote doesn’t matter. That I’m already living in a Blue State, so I might as well not vote. Or that other people will vote instead.

But every action you make—every thought you think—sends out ripples, like the boatman passing down the river.

If you think your vote doesn’t matter, that means other people also think their vote doesn’t matter. If you show apathy, that means other people are showing apathy. It ripples out.

And let me be clear: I’m not being new-agey here. I actually believe this pretty firmly.

What we do has consequences. What we think leads to what we do. It’s important to take this seriously, because, as human beings on this planet called earth, we are all connected in a sort of unified tapestry. When we think hate, when we act on hate, we send out ripples. When we think and act on love and strength and committment, that ripples out too.

And it happens in ways you could never even imagine.

And of course, there’s really no such thing as not voting. As David Foster Wallace pointed out:

In reality, there is no such thing as not voting: you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some Diehard’s vote.

David Foster Wallace

By being apathetic and not voting you are not only causing negative ripples in your concentric circles of influence, but you are letting the bastards win.

So, please. You should vote.