A coworker asked me who I voted for today, and I said that I didn't vote. She asked me why not, her disapproval being frankly palpable, and I told her I didn't vote for the same reason I don't always come to complete stops at stop signs: the act reeks of undue deference to constituted authority. The presumptive obligation of each citizen to vote is one of those goofy tenets of the democratic civic religion. Like most religious precepts and practices, we continue to valorize it even as we abandon it. Well over half of us now abstain. Even Catholicism is in better shape. I actually will haul myself into a booth if there's a seat on the city council at stake, because, fuck, man, the potholes. On the opposite end of the scale you get instead the idea that if you aggregate the binary decisions of millions of people you will produce some aspirational avatar of The People, The Country, whatever . . . some pure representative of the collective will and the Direction We're Going In and so forth and so on. Most political discourse is infected with the plainly insane notion that there exists a sort of ineffible national political consensus which political leadership must tap into, like a bunch of psychic mediums, in order to Get Things Done, Bipartisanly. "The American People want . . ." begin many such ponderings. Naturally, the American People don't want anything in particular, because there are 300 million of them. We live, as we dream, alone, says Conrad. What any given soul desires at any given moment of any given day is the impenetrable business of that person uniquely. All else is obfuscation of the essential randomness of individual existence--we are but slaves to fate, etc.--usually in the servie of keeping those who are better fed and better paid than you better fed and better paid than you. Participation in the maintenance of a political order is a sucker's game. It's a beautiful day in Pennsylvania. Go outside. The sun doesn't give a damn who's president.