“I don’t vote because I don’t agree with the way the system is run.” “I don’t vote because I don’t know enough about the candidates running.” “I don’t vote because it’s too time-consuming.” “I don’t care enough to vote.” “There’s no difference between the candidates.” “My vote doesn’t matter.” These are the myriad reasons I hear regularly on why my peers do not vote.
These are perhaps the most irksome bundle of statements uttered in my presence. The fact that someone could take the inalienable right of voting and toss it aside like so much stale garbage boggles my mind. This is, in a basic sense, the piece of our lifestyle that separate us from that of a fascist, oppressive state that controls our freedom.
People that do not vote should not be able to complain about government issues. If they were actually concerned about how their country was run, they would have cared enough to take the 30 minutes required to go to the polls and vote. Was that episode of “America’s Next Top Model” really worth having no say in what direction our country is sent?
Does anyone really want to live in a country where our rights are decided not by popular vote, but by “big brother” – people that don’t care what everyone wants, just the voting ones? If no one was to vote – make their voices heard in the silence of connecting arrows of assent – the people in power will assume that everyone is OK with the status quo.
The goal of elected officials is to receive at least one more vote than their opponent. In achieving this goal, they will position their platforms to the appeal closest to the majority of the voting populace. People running for office will not even try to mold their positions toward people who will not vote. Although this is a confusing idea, it essentially means that if you don’t vote, you don’t matter.
This is of special importance because of the tight races to follow this year. Even if you failed to make it to either caucus, you still have a chance to vote this November.
In the last presidential election, there was a record turnout for voters, with nearly 61 percent of eligible voters coming out. If 61 percent of the electorate is a record, at least 40 percent of America’s tax-paying people are not regularly represented in any given election. Why would candidates bother to find out what positions those people have and try to adopt those views?
As it stands right now, President George W. Bush’s approval rating, according to the most recent poll run by the Associated Press, is at a meager 30 percent. Theoretically, if Bush was allowed to run for a third term and all 30 percent of his supporters voted – and with a similar total percentage of the country voting – he could handily win the election.
I, for one, am fed up with progressive-minded people seeing no point in voting. Voting should be something people take pride in, something they look forward to, something that makes them feel like citizens of a community.
As cliche as it is to end with someone else’s words, I will end with an appropriate quote from Plato, “The penalty that good men pay for not being interested in politics is to be governed by men worse than themselves.”
Brett Sowerby doesn’t care what side of the aisle you sit on – as long as you vote.