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To abstain means to intentionally refrain from doing something—including, but not exclusively, voting—when you have a right to do so.

Let me say this about that. I believe that, as Churchill said, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

Democracy is certainly messy and often ugly, but its the best we’ve got and if we want to keep it it’s important to make our voices heard. On the other hand, making it publicly known that you are abstaining from voting can be interpreted as saying, “I don’t think any of the options we’re voting on are any good.” Or if it’s a public office that is being voted on rather than policy options, then clearly stating that you are abstaining can be interpreted as, “they’re all jerks and I don’t think any of them are fit for office.” In some cases, that might be the most appropriate response. So you might want to use that as a lame excuse for sitting on your ass (fat or otherwise) at home on voting day.

However, be warned: If don’t clearly declare that you are abstaining, people might think that you are just a lazy so and so who can’t be bothered to vote or that you are too busy watching mindless game shows and reality shows to care one whit about democracy. Enough said.

Considering the nature of this project and the fact that the word abstain can refer to refraining from doing something other than voting, one would expect me to say more about abstain, and I certainly have a right to do so, but I’m going to abstain. That’s mainly because everything else that I thought to say here is more appropriate under the word abstinence. That’s coming up three words from now.

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