Jeff Pearlman

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The vote

Not sure who’s going to win today’s presidential election, but I am sure I have zero patience for those who don’t vote.

Moments ago, was sitting here at the Corner Bakery in Orange County, California. Asked one of the employees who she thought would win tonight. She was, oh, 25.  She looked at me and shrugged—”I don’t vote.”

Uh, you don’t vote.

“No, I don’t like either of them.”

Her colleague, of the same age range, admitted she wasn’t even registered.


I get being a Democrat, I get being a Republican, I get being an independent. I get showing up, entering the voting booth and leaving a slot vacant if both candidates disgust you; or writing in your mom, your dad, Peter Criss, Bobby Bonilla, the Ghost of Shannon Hoon.

What I don’t get, however, is shrugging and doing nothing.

I’m far from a flag-waving, America-can-do-no-wrong patriot. There’s much about this country I loathe. I’m an oft-frustrated, oft-agitated, oft-angry citizen who vents and bitches with the best of them.

I also, however, know how impactful my vote is. And, by that, I don’t mean my singular vote will make the difference between Mitt Romney or Barack Obama. No, I mean people truly died to gain this right, and then to protect it. My grandparents, Curt and Marta Herz, fled Nazi Germany not merely to stay alive, but to find freedom and liberty. I owe it to them—and millions of others—to exercise that right. Hell, to proudly and boldly exercise that right.

“I don’t like either of them.”


  • Jacob

    My dad votes for me. He’s up to date on all the issues. I hope that’s okay with you.

  • Anthony

    Very well said Jeff! That is truly pathetic….

  • Clive Wolfowitz

    Climb on down off your high horse for a moment. Your self-righteousness never ceases to amaze me.

  • Congratulations, you may know I voted for the other guy, I doubt you give a damn but I sincerely hope as I did four years ago that the president unites the country, doesn’t promote class warfare and reaches across the aisle to work toward a better country. I’m not as optimistic as I was the first time through. Romney seems like the parent that has to tell the kids they can’t have everything they want, money is an object, can’t eat cookies for supper and can’t stay up as late as they want. Obama is the cool parent, need some rubbers? How bout a beer? Need any money? Just don’t tell your mother/father. Six trillion in debt can’t be erased by taxing job creators. That said republicans will be extinct soon enough, who you guys going to have pay for your free stuff then? I hear Canada is erecting a fence from Vancouver to Nova Scotia.

    • Jeff Pearlman

      Doug, why would you say i don’t give a damn? You’ve posted here many, many times. I value your takes, even though we mostly disagree.

      • I appreciate that. Plus ever since you used your literary skills to talk Bobby out of his panties with a few transparent flattering words that wouldn’t have worked on my ex, well maybe her but nobody else, I’m the only duck to fly accross this shooting range. :^)

  • Brendan

    Nobody has to vote for either of the two major party presidential candidates; if you don’t like them, there were Libertarian, Green, Socialist, Constitution (presumably hard right) and other candidates who made the ballot in various states.
    More importantly: there were lots of other things at stake! You could leave the presidential line blank and still have lots of stuff to vote for. California had several far-reaching initiatives that were up for vote this year, as did lots of other states.

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life