If you are a US citizen, and you have not yet voted for the mid-term elections that take place on election day (Tuesday, November 6, 2018), please be sure to cast your vote on election day! Here is my argument for doing so:
There is nothing more important in a democracy than a person’s vote! We place our futures in the hands of elected government officials who have been elevated to leadership positions by those who vote. Our ability to choose our leaders is what makes our form of government (democracy) different from any other form of government. If you wish to live in a democracy, you must, at a minimum, vote for its leadership. And you must do so wisely!
I’ve been making this argument for as long as I have had the right to vote (41 years this year!), and in far too many instances, what I have often been told in return is: “all politicians are the same, so why should I vote?”.
Well, in the first place, declaring that everyone is the same, is a bad assumption. Just look at your friends and family members. Are they all the same? Or do they all have different perspectives on what is best or bad for people? Every person’s experience is different, and they make choices based on what they know and believe. So, rather than deciding all politicians are the same, you have to look at what they do, and not at what they say. Look at their voting records, look at their opinions, look at the circumstances in their lives that affected them, look at their understanding of our laws and ability to serve all citizens who may agree or disagree with them, and look at their actions. And be sure to fact check any information that is being used to describe a candidate. What you are being told is not always the truth. Being fully informed about the decisions you make is critical!
Second, even if the assumption were true that “all politicians are the same”, that does not excuse any US citizen from their responsibility to vote. Your vote is your power. It is the only real check we have on those who are given the power to decide our fate as a country and as citizens of the country. If you choose not to vote, you are giving your power away to those who choose to speak for you. I don’t know about you, but I would never allow anyone to speak for me on matters that affect my life and the welfare of those I love.
So the next thing I have often heard in response to my plea about the importance of voting is: “money and influence control our politics, so my vote doesn’t make any difference” and “all politicians are crooked”. Well, these comments actually make my argument that much stronger! If all citizens voted, they would have an absolute check on power, money, influence and crookedness, because these types of politicians would be easily removed from office in the next election. However, the truth is, only about 50-60 percent of eligible voters actually vote in Presidential elections, and only about 40 percent of eligible voters actually vote in mid-term elections. Because the entire voting population does not hold all elected officials fully accountable to them, those elected officials who are corrupt or corruptible, take advantage of their unchecked power. And money is more influential on elected officials who are not fully accountable to the public. Our power is our vote! When we abdicate from that responsibility as citizens of a democracy, we open the door to corruption in politics.
Democracies are fragile. They take work and focus and commitment to stay strong. When citizens allow themselves to be disengaged and uninformed about the decisions being made on their behalf by elected officials, they weaken their democracy. When citizens do not feel an obligation as citizens to utilize the power of their vote, they weaken their democracy. And when corrupt politicians are able to enter into and/or remain in power unchecked and not properly held to account, they destroy democracy with the blessing of those citizens who remained silent during elections. And once a democracy is destroyed, it is very hard to get it back, because it will often devolve, instead, into something that more resembles a dictatorship, or an autocracy, or a theocracy, or a fascist regime – none of which will permit the continued freedoms that we expect our democracy to provide (such as those provided to us in the Bill of Rights). It is absolutely essential that each and every citizen who is eligible to vote, cast their votes in all elections!
And now, one important matter that needs to be stated: It is absolutely un-American and un-patriotic to support any effort to deny any citizen their right to vote! It is a tactic used to destroy democracies by taking away the power of the citizens of that democracy! Please stand in solidarity with citizens who are being disenfranchised from the process through schemes that prevent eligible voters from registering, that take eligible voters off the roles, that make voting locations inaccessible or out of reach, that use scare tactics and intimidation tactics to keep eligible voters from election locations, that make voter identification requirements extremely difficult or impossible to obtain, that allow political appointees to decide who is and is not considered to be an eligible voter, that limit early voting opportunities or polling locations to discourage voting, that utilize unsecure voting methods susceptible to hacking or vote tampering or lack of paper trails to verify votes, that improperly secure paper votes or outright destroy votes, etc. I, for one, cannot support any politician or political party that engages in anti-American and anti-democratic practices, and I will use the power of my vote to hold all individuals accountable for their actions if they wish to hold public office.
Remember: If you have not done so already, please be sure to vote on Election Day – Tuesday, November 6, 2018!