The comedian Rob Delaney has a an interesting piece on Vice’s Tumblr about his voting track record and what that means in the larger picture of American politics. That is, voting specifically, and more generally, having your voice heard.
People on the Internet tell me every day to “stick to the jokes, pal” and I wanted to outline why I will do no such thing, and why you shouldn’t either. If in fact I should “stick to the jokes” since I’m a comedian, that would suggest that politics should be left to politicians. And we know that many politicians (like large numbers of those who make up the United States Congress, for example) are very, very bad at politics. They quite literally NEED my help. And your help. And since we live in a Democratic republic, I will continue to share my opinion whenever I feel like it. And please feel free to disagree with me. Jesus, I hope you do, because there are many things I don’t know and many things I’m surely wrong about. I am a comedian. But a comedian’s opinion matters in the United States of America, as does a pipefitter’s, a truck driver’s, and a heart surgeon’s.
Delaney explains why he’s voted, in the last four presidential elections, for Bob Dole (1996), Ralph Nader (2000), John Kerry (2004), and Nader again (2008). His goal in telling readers this is laudable:
I told you who I’ve voted for over the years because I wanted to lay bare my thought process and show some things that I would change if I had a time machine. I wanted to show evidence of a person who believed one thing, gathered evidence, and then changed his mind. I wanted to do something that most politicians refuse to do, i.e. show some humility/teachability.
Again, he’s not claiming his voice is any more or less important than anyone else’s. And that’s exactly why it’s as important to hear from him as it would be to hear from anyone else. As I wrote yesterday, though, because of voter suppression laws sweeping this nation, we’re likely to hear fewer and fewer voices at the ballot box next year.