Election day 2013…Another Opportuntity to Make a Difference

People who don’t vote obviously don’t get it.  This society…this form of government requires that EVERYONE have a say in the choosing of political leaders and pertinent legislation.  People who complain about the way things are have no business avoiding the only meaningful opportunity they have to affect a positive change in the world.

voting day in a small town

voting day in a small town (Photo credit: Muffet)

I have spoken to many world travelers who tell me that people everywhere watch American elections like a grand sporting event.  They are thrilled,  they are awe struck, they are dazzled by the simple fact that millions upon millions of free people can make their voices heard. They can affect major changes in the policies and direction of their local, regional and national governments.  Knowing this makes me somewhat embarrassed by the huge numbers of Americans who simply don’t vote.  Here we are presented with this amazing right…this gift secured by many generations of sacrifice.  How is it possible that people feel that voting is a waste of their time and energy?  Many people feel like they have no say and that their one vote,  when stacked against the millions means little.  Simply not true!

English: Ballot Box showing preferential voting

English: Ballot Box showing preferential voting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Consider this.  During a typical Presidential election,  only about 52% of all the eligible voting age people in the country actually cast a vote. According to Wikipedia,  in 2000 the number was about 50%,  2004 it was 55%, 2012 about 575.  Basically only about half of the eligible people vote.  In 2012 America had approximately 241 million voting age people (VAP) yet only approximately 130 million votes were cast.  That leaves 110 million people who didn’t participate in the workings of the democratic process. So let’s say if candidate Jones wins a huge landslide and gets 65% of the vote in the election,  he actually only got 65% of about half of the people eligible,  or in real terms about 35% of the VAP.  That is simply deplorable. Landslide? Mandate? I think not.  Even the extremely close elections of the last few years had such a profound impact on the direction of the country.  EVERY VOTE COUNTS.

Imagine what would happen if 90% of the VAP came out and got behind some real change?  Some really innovative ideas?  Yes…masses of people can change the world in a peaceful, organized manner.  If the vast majority of Americans demanded things be straightened out on a number of controversial issues,  and then showed up to vote backing their intentions,  the country could be transformed very very quickly without ever having to threaten anyone…without a massive boycott or shutdown of services….without anyone being hurt or killed.

Voting at Election 2008

Voting at Election 2008 (Photo credit: krossbow)

Do you think the Egyptians would like an opportunity like this?  How about the Syrians?  Perhaps the Chinese or even the population of Iran?  I’d bet the Cubans would find this chance of value.

Freedom comes with obligation.  Many people have lost their lives to defend it.  Many people have served in other humanitarian ways…BUT  it’s everyone’s duty to VOTE.  I don’t think it’s all that much to ask.  Considering the wonderful environment America provides it’s citizens,  particularly when stacked up against conditions in other parts of the world,  I don’t think voting is too much to ask.



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3 Responses to Election day 2013…Another Opportuntity to Make a Difference

  1. Lou Refano says:

    I couldn’t agree more. It drives me crazy when people tell me they’re not going to vote. As an American it’s your obligation to.

  2. Joanne F says:

    Both Refanos are so right. If everybody would “exercise their franchise”, we also would not have the problems with voting and voting rights and unconstitutional voting laws today. If we had near-perfect registration of VAPs and very high turnout, it would be virtually impossible to get away with the voting hijinks that go on today. My only exception to the excellent information above is to suggest that we are no longer the Constitutional wonder of the world, because of those voting hijinks. Now we are a laughingstock for the ongoing attempts to disenfranchise people from voting.

    On a related note, when I was in college, as a Political Science major at the University of Florida, I met students from all over the world. They would come to UF to be trained so they could go back and lead their countries. They would tell me how amazed they were at the ignorance they saw in Americans, as far as their lack of knowledge of government and current events goes, and even more so regarding world events. I have also been fortunate to have traveled a little outside the country, and have found “the locals” wherever I’ve gone to be delighted to discuss current events and politics with an American who can keep up. But they, too, have told me they are disappointed in Americans’ level of understanding and information. Shame on us!

    Do you want to know how important a vote is? Ask Al Gore. I was counting chads in Florida in 2000, trying to ensure every voice could be heard, until SCOTUS told us to stop counting votes, and instead declared Dubya the “winner” and installed him as POTUS. Do you know how much that demoralized me and every one of us who were trying to do the right thing as we counted votes and chads? If the turnout were higher — and it was one of the highest on record in Florida — and if a variety of illegal acts did not take place to keep people from voting (impossible-to-read ballots, police stopping voters en route to the polls, sending out information claiming the day to vote was another day, ad nauseum) — there would be no question that the course of American history would have been very, very different. Oh, yes, EVERY VOTE COUNTS.

  3. joeref says:

    Politics aside, it is the right and responsibility of all Americans, 18 and older to VOTE.

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