Not voting? Better than voting without a clue

Today we salute the 40 percent of the citizenry who are true patriots. They don't vote.

Yes, I'm serious.

We are taught since childhood that we should show up and cast ballots as a sacred rite of citizenship. We are taught wrong.

Look, some people shouldn't drive. Some people shouldn't sing. Some people shouldn't handle firearms.

Some people shouldn't vote.

We don't need to make them feel bad by trumpeting this “To the polls, ye sons and daughters of freedom!” nonsense. They're doing the right thing.

They don't know, they don't care and they don't vote. Leave them alone.

Do not unleash your campaign's Annoy-a-tron to call them at dinner and nag them to vote (for you, of course). They are gentle apathetics and have the right to watch “Wheel of Fortune” undisturbed.

See, in the mechanics of democracy, some assembly is required. You need to actually educate yourself on the candidates before entering the poll.

There are those among us who just don't get that. They pull back the curtains snorting fire to elect the next president and suddenly discover a dozen races they weren't expecting. It's like achieving parenthood, then finding out about diapers.

Hereabouts we elect insurance commissioners, state auditors and soil-and-water conservation district supervisors. No, I don't know what they do either, but plenty of people who are eager to do their civic duty just pick willy-nilly when confronted by such races, like a student who didn't bother to read the last chapter of the book before the exam.

This just doesn't serve the cause.

You may be the best soil-and-water candidate in decades, but if your name is Adolf Citibank Hussein, you're going to drive off the dedicated clueless who will vote instead for Joe T. Plumber, who favors erosion and drought.

So here's the deal: If you want to vote, have at it.

Before doing so, take a little time to study the races. You already know what you're doing in McCain vs. Obama and probably have figured out your pick in She Exports Jobs to China vs. She Won't Take A Stand.

But in the other races, nose around a little. Figure out if the candidates for school board, courts and commissions are in tune with you.

Google “League of Women Voters Mecklenburg,” for example, and read the candidate surveys. Check out the voter guide in the newspaper or online. Peruse the Observer's endorsements (and if you don't like the paper's elite liberal media pinko commie moron bias, vote against every single one – at least you'd have a system).

And if you don't have a pick in a race, skip it. No charge. Feel no guilt. I will absolutely applaud you. Leave the decision to those in the know. Stand up against VWI – Voting While Ignorant.

Democracy is a wonderful thing. So is a chainsaw. In both cases, you must be careful where you aim.