Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Why I Vote

I went to vote today and in every single case, I voted for the person whom I thought would be lesser of two evils. I don’t support a single candidate. When the results are announced, I will be completely ambivalent about the results because I fully believe this was a damned if you do, damned if you don’t election. There simply were no good choices. Each and every candidate has major, glaring flaws that make me uncomfortable with the option of them being responsible for running of our government.

I know a lot of people who are choosing not to vote for this very reason. Me? This is the exact reason why I felt I had to vote. It goes beyond my patriotic belief that my vote is sacred. I would vote, and always have voted, for no other reason than the many lives that were sacrificed so that I may have the right to do so. I would vote for no other reason that my great appreciation for all of those who have served, bled and given of themselves for the defense of that right. Those reasons stand the test of time and should be enough to always compel each and every one of us to vote, but the worse things get, the worse my options are for these positions of power in our government, the more I vote so that above all, I can simply be counted.

My vote isn’t going to swing things one way or the other. My vote isn’t going to decide any particular race. My vote, while as educated a vote I could make it, wasn’t as educated as it should or could have been. But when the polls close and they tally the number of people who did come out to vote today, I want to stand up and be counted among them. Today, I voted not for any particular candidate, but rather to stand up and not be pushed away by the inadequacies I found in each of them.

Since I reached voting age, the average number of people who have voted is under 50% of the eligible voters. Often, the number of voters has been around 30%. I want to be counted because I know that things are bad. I know that the choices between these candidates is even worse. The problem with that is that all of these bad candidates, these bad choices, are sadly going to keep people from going out and voting. I want to be counted because I know that until we do turn out in numbers, nothing will change. I’d rather pick between two poor choices than not choose at all because not choosing is a choice for the status quo.

Politicians are like children and we are their parents. Right now, we are like parents who leave their children to do whatever they choose without consequence over half of the time. We are, very literally, absentee parents. We only have bullies, brats, the self-absorbed and the corrupt to choose from because we have ignored them, we have let them get out of control. They do not respect us. They do not listen to us. They have never known any kind of discipline and that is why they act with impunity.

We are a country run by naughty little children because we have allowed them become so and when all the little children are poorly behaved, we have nothing else from which to choose. We must choose the lesser of two evils because we allow them to perpetuate in their jobs.

Think about exactly who is voting when the turnout is poor. It’s the extremists from each side who make up those numbers. It’s the wildly liberal. It’s the staunchly conservative. Despite what all of the 24/7 news channels would have you believe, those people do not make up our majority as a nation. They do make up a large percentage of the people who do actually vote though. Is it any wonder why those elected feel little need to do anything but thwart the agenda of other side? Is it any wonder why our government is so polarized?

We elect petulant children who either get their way or scream, rant, rave and cry. We’ve been poor parents to them. We have allowed them to act this way. Imagine for just a second how things would be the voter turnout was 70%? 80%? 90%? Imagine if each of those people voted for an independent candidate just to send a message? Imagine what change could occur if we put the fear of God into them the way our parents used to with us?

What if we said to them: We see you. We know what you’re doing. We don’t like it. Shape up or you’re going to be grounded. What if we let them know that we were there and we weren’t going anywhere? What if we put them on notice? Shape up or ship out! What if we put an end to this Lord of the Flies government?

It doesn’t matter for whom you vote. It matters that you do vote. It matters that you too stand up and be counted. It matters because even if you choose between the lesser of two evils today, the fact that you chose will not go unnoticed. It doesn’t matter whether or not you have an opinion on every topic. It doesn’t matter if you have to vote for a candidate who believes something different from what you do on some issues. At the end of the day, with your vote or without it, someone is going to be elected. Your vote does not constitute your approval of any candidate, it lets them know that they work for you.

Abraham Lincoln once said: “You can fool some of the people all the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time” I voted today because the more of us do, the closer our politicians will have to heed the warning inherent in that quote. It’s easy to fool the polarized portions of our nation. Each side tries to make its constituents fear everything the other side does. It’s easy to make people with harshly contrasting opinions afraid of each other. If those of us who aren’t afraid just chose to vote then fear alone would no longer win elections. Negative campaigning only appeals to the most base of us. What if enough of us voted that they had to earn their jobs instead of getting them because they made you fear someone else more? I vote because I want them know I’m out there. I want them to know I care. I want them to know I’m watching. If you don’t vote, you’re not just part of the problem, you ARE the problem. No matter how ignorant you may when it comes to politics, no matter how little you know of each candidate, no matter how much you may dislike each and every person running, when you fail to vote, you appease the very process which allows those people to be running in the first place. Your vote does count. It counts toward more than the tally for any particular candidate. It matters because the first rule of being a good parent is showing up. Every parent makes mistakes along the way raising a child, but those who always try, those who are always there, those who are always vigilant seem to always wind up with the best behaved children.

Your vote does count. Stop neglecting these petulant children we’ve raised. It’s time to put them over our knee. The children don’t run this house. We do.


1 comment:

Abby said...

From someone who has felt dirty voting for either side, this is hands down the best defense of and the best argument FOR voting even when you can't stand both sides. Especially then, especially when it seems things just keep getting worse.