When he’s not busy having naked encounters with drones, television personality Mike Rowe is always quick to offer his political insight. But after a fan of his named Jeremy wrote to Rowe asking him to encourage others to go out and vote, the former “Dirty Jobs” host responded.
“I also share your concern for our country, and agree wholeheartedly that every vote counts,” Rowe writes. “However, I’m afraid I can’t encourage millions of people whom I’ve never met to just run out and cast a ballot, simply because they have the right to vote. That would be like encouraging everyone to buy an AR-15, simply because they have the right to bear arms. I would need to know a few things about them before offering that kind of encouragement. For instance, do they know how to care for a weapon? Can they afford the cost of the weapon? Do they have a history of violence? Are they mentally stable? In short, are they responsible citizens?”
Rowe went on to critique celebrity “get out the vote” campaigns before delving into the the true purpose of voting.
“Regardless of their political agenda, my celebrity pals are fundamentally mistaken about our ‘civic duty’ to vote. There is simply no such thing,” Rowe continued.
“Voting is a right, not a duty, and not a moral obligation. Like all rights, the right to vote comes with some responsibilities, but lets face it – the bar is not set very high. If you believe aliens from another planet walk among us, you are welcome at the polls. If you believe the world is flat, and the moon landing was completely staged, you are invited to cast a ballot. Astrologists, racists, ghost-hunters, sexists, and people who rely upon a Magic 8 Ball to determine their daily wardrobe are all allowed to participate. In fact, and to your point, they’re encouraged.”
Rather than explain why everyone should vote, Rowe instead suggested that Jeremy read up on American history and economic theory, while also engaging in meaningful debate.
“Remember – there’s nothing virtuous or patriotic about voting just for the sake of voting, and the next time someone tells you otherwise, do me a favor – ask them who they’re voting for,” Rowe writes. “Then tell them you’re voting for their opponent. Then, see if they’ll give you a ride to the polls.
You can read Rowe’s full response here.