I’m a bad citizen or my politicians are bad leaders. Guess which is true.

Yesterday was election day, obviously, although even if I wasn’t politically aware, the half-a-dozen campaign fliers I received in each day’s mail for the last month were a signal. I didn’t vote yesterday. The easy answer would be that there were no national offices at stake and local politics don’t interest me. But that’s not why I didn’t vote.

Over the past few years, I’ve developed an improved understanding of governing based on principles of liberty. I don’t want to imply that I’m perfect at voting on those criteria. I’m not, as 2004 demonstrates. Yes, that was a “lesser of two evils” vote, which was a shift from earlier elections when I had an incomplete view¹ of our two major parties. In last year’s election I still held to the “lesser of two evils” theory, but only because I had to vote against George Allen and Tom Davis.

This year I looked over the ballot for the first time on Monday. I’d had little interest because the screaming message on almost every one of those campaign fliers I received was some indignation about illegal immigrants. There is nothing like an unhealthy dose of xenophobia to get me unenthusiastic about a particular campaign. After researching the candidates and their stances on the issues, I couldn’t vote for any of them, for any office. When they best a candidate can offer is a demand that the federal government increase education funding and stop micromanaging education, he won’t earn even a protest vote against the other guy.

So, I didn’t vote yesterday². Typing my name in every race would’ve been tedious and unproductive.

¹ I viewed Democrats with optimism and Republicans with pessimism, as a default. As I learned economics, I quickly figured out that Democrats are idiots. This coincided with the Republican shift into complete lunacy, which I’m not happy about but helped me break my illusions about political parties rather easily.

Basically, I’ve always been a libertarian. I just didn’t know that there was such a thing as libertarian and thought Democrats best exemplified what I care about. For a long time.

² There were no ballot measures to consider. I would’ve voted if there had been any measure, no matter how apparently inconsequential.