You’ve heard it from Katy Perry, Demi Lovato, Leonardo DiCaprio, and countless other celebrities: Get out the vote, 'Rock the Vote,' exercise your right, do your civic duty.
Popular TV host Mike Rowe offers a different perspective: If you have to be persuaded, maybe you shouldn't vote.
“Voting is a right, not a duty and not a moral obligation,” he said.
Rowe, who is most well known as the host of “Somebody’s Gotta Do It” on CNN and his work on the Discover Channel’s “Dirty Jobs,” received a note from a fan who asked him to use his platform to make a get-out-the-vote pitch to his followers, and remind them that their vote counts.
Every vote does count -- and that's the problem.
“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,” Rowe said. “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?”
Celebrities, with an obvious political agenda, encourage all Americans to vote, but you don't often hear them telling voters to first get informed about their choice.
"They speak as if the very act of casting a ballot is more important than the outcome of the election. This strikes me as somewhat hysterical," Rowe said. "Does anyone actually believe that Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen DeGeneres, and Ed Norton would encourage the 'masses' to vote, if they believed the 'masses' would elect Donald Trump?"
Politics aside, Rowe encouraged his followers to read about economics, develop a worldview they can defend and debate, and then choose a candidate who best reflects that worldview.
Rowe also runs the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, which awards scholarships to students who are pursuing careers in skilled trades. Earlier in the campaign he challenged Bernie Sanders on the assumption that college is the only path to success.