Another election has come and gone. At least for a little while, annoying commercials will cease, people will restore friendships damaged by disagreement, and Anderson Cooper will return to prattling about celebrity divorces.
Most Americans view elections—especially those of the presidential variety—as choices of unparalleled exigency. For whom they cast a ballot will supposedly be the most important decision they make for many, many months to come.
You had better make the correct decision, we are told, because you won’t be able to vote again until the next leap year. “Make your voice heard!” shout the pundits, candidates, volunteers, and overzealous next-door neighbors. “If you don’t, you can’t complain!”
Is all this really true? Of course not.
In fact, we vote everyday; each and every one of us participates in several discrete elections from the moment we wake up till the moment we go to sleep. The democratic process is inescapable.
November 5 was cold and blustery. The conditions, however, did nothing to deter an enthusiastic gathering of gamers. These people—individuals of all races, creeds, and political beliefs—assembled outside a building, awaiting their opportunity to vote. At midnight, the polls opened and eagerly accepted the opinions of each and every person standing outside.
But these people were not waiting to vote by drawing lines or checking boxes on a ballot. These people were there to vote with their minds and their money. This was about a real choice—a choice among infinite alternatives, a choice that affected not only themselves but everyone else, a choice that would have a dramatic influence on the future. They were at a video game store, and on that night, the choice was made for Halo 4.