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.
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!
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.
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.
- 2013Winds of Change Recognition Award Winners (thewellnessalmanac.com)
- The five biggest things to watch this Election Day (washingtonpost.com)