Nov. 2, 2010
-- Coming out of the 2010 mid-term elections, it's too early to compile exact statistics -- but odds are a majority of Americans didn't cast ballots on Tuesday.
Some are disenfranchised by age restrictions, incarceration or other legal obstacles. Others simply choose not to vote. The conventional wisdom writes them off as apathetic. The Ⓧ2012 Project begs to differ.
"Our reasons for not voting are our business," says Thomas L. Knapp. "Construing the majority's boycott of elections as 'apathy' toward politics makes no more sense than construing the fact that I haven't specifically told you not to take my car as 'apathy' toward grand theft auto."
Knapp formally launched The Ⓧ2012 Project on Tuesday as polls closed on the west coast. Its goal is to mobilize 10 million Americans to publicly declare that their refusal to vote in November, 2012 constitutes non-consent rather than apathy. "Ⓧ2016's goal will be 50 million," he says.
"The consent of the governed is the standard of a government's legitimacy,"
says Knapp, 43, of St. Louis, Missouri, citing the Declaration of Independence. "Without your consent, it has no right to rule you. And this government lacks the consent of a lot of people." In support of his claim, Knapp points to a July poll by Rasmussen in which only 23% of those surveyed said the US government enjoys "the consent of the governed." Knapp notes that even those who say some consent to be governed don't necessarily say they themselves so consent.
The Ⓧ2012 Project raises and spends no money, depending on its supporters to act on their own to promote "active non-consent."
Knapp declines any title beyond "that guy who started the web site." He began running ad campaigns on social networks and other web sites -- "in the low double digits, for now, from my personal resources," he says -- as the polls closed on Tuesday, and expects that other supporters of the project will do likewise. The project's web site offers graphics and advice. "It's a grassroots, open-source/
crowd-sourced effort," says Knapp. "Everything conventional politics claims to be but isn't."
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The mission of The Ⓧ2012 Project is to promote mobilize non-voters for an active boycott of the US 2012 general election.