Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Are there really any good reasons...

...for not voting?

I mean, really? A brief list of excuses I've heard this week:
1- don't know enough about candidates.
2- don't like candidates
3- huh?
4- my vote doesn't make a difference
5- I don't care
6-not registered

This sort of apathy leaves me speechless. In a democratic state everyone should vote. It only takes a second kids. Its the only time that you are the government. In a democracy the people elect their servants.

As far as the noted excuses, none are insurmountable. Knowledge is easily acquired if you need to find out more about who's running. There are a zillion websites that offer fact lists.

If you like neither of the main party nominees, vote for someone else. Pencil someone in. Its that easy.

The huh? one shouldn't be encountered without hurting your own fist on the mouth that uttered such words.

An individual vote does make a difference. The electoral college has, in modern times, sided with the popular vote. If you didn't know, you are the popular vote.

Indifference is the slow death of democracy. As a culture, Americans have certainly become disenchanted with their government. The last 8 years have shown how corruption can be allowed to run rampant and still control the masses. Instead of standing up and stopping the problem, Americans have put their head down and become isolationists, hiding from their own ruling class. At one time, not long ago, America was known for its vehement retaliation against unfair governing. Now it seems that their democracy is beginning to turn into what it had so long fought to change. This is the reason your vote should mean more to you. People are not supposed to curl up and shrug their shoulders with indifference in the "Land of the Brave". We're supposed to put our fists in the air and scream for our rights,

Get registered. Seriously. It takes one minute to fill out the paperwork and mail it. This time of year you will usually see someone walking around with a clipboard willing to fill out and mail the form for you. Seriously. Only 70% of the eligible population in the US is registered, which is woefully low. Of that 70%, only half of those registrants actually vote. The highest turnout ever being in 2004 with almost 57%.

Despite being a "free country", I am firmly behind compulsory voting for federal elections. There are penalties when we don't pay our taxes on time or slightly going over an arbitrary speed limit but the only penalty for not casting our vote is too abstract. Compulsory voting would bring the percentage of eligible registered voters to 100% and voter turnout well in the high 90%'s. Maybe its an unpatriotic viewpoint to want compulsory anything in our government, but that doesn't stop pro-lifers from rallying. We let the government make education compulsory 100 years ago. Then we let them make us say "Under God" in our already compulsory Pledge of Allegiance. I could go on but that's for another blog.

We might not agree on our politics and our morality, but there is no good excuse to not be a part of the machine the runs your life once every four years. I wish I believed the rest of the world was wrong when they call us "lazy Americans", but its hard to deny when so many of us refuse to vote for our leaders.

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