First and foremost, I wanna get this straight; I’m not here to tell you what to believe in or who to vote for. I’m simply here to tell you to find something to believe in and someone to vote for. Thus, I have tried my best to communicate this information in an unbiased and objective voice. Therefore, I invite you to this very much necessary discussion.
In many cases, ignorance is our Sanctuary from the ugly, yet very much real and influential world of politics. Although as I will discuss below, there are a lot of factors that lead people to want to disengage from politics, I believe that the apparent “safety” of ignorance is one of the key ones. If we don’t know, we can pretend that it is not happening; however, this is a dysfunctional and unhealthy method of coping with the reality. Ignorance simply means that you’re unaware of what’s happening, it doesn’t change the influence that your surrounding events can have on your daily life. Thus the only way through which you can ensure a permanent solution to the current horrific political situation is by letting go of the comfort of ignorance’s sanctuary, and getting active.
Given the significance of this issue, I truly wanted to open up a comprehensive discussion, but I know that many of you aren’t fond of long articles, I’m usually not either, and if you’re that person, you can read the summary that I have provided right down below; however, if you have a little bit of time on your hand, feel free to scroll down to the long version and dig deep into this issue with me.
1. Recognize that it’s a problem.
In 2012, only 53.6% of the US’s voting age population voted in the presidential elections, leaving the US to be the 4th to last developed nation in terms of voter turnout.
With such a ridiculously low turnout, we mostly have ourselves to blame for the current dysfunctional and corrupt state of the government, because a democracy cannot function without the consistent participation of its citizens.
2. Admit that it matters.
Let’s get to everyone’s #1 worry first. The Electoral College! Although, not a big fan myself, I have to admit that it doesn’t make your vote meaningless and worthless.
This is how it functions in a nutshell.
So basically, by voting for your candidate of choice, you’re at least trying your best to ensure that your chosen candidate gets all of the electoral votes from your state.
It is only through voting that you can ensure the taxes that you must pay are being used towards causes that you care about. You might be a person who is for large military spendings, or you might support lower military expenses and free education. Voting for candidates who share the same ideals as you or ones who are the closest reflection of your beliefs is the only way that you can have a say in where your money is going.
B) Moral Issues
Do I even need to name them?
For the sake of a reminder, I will name a few.
- LGBTQ rights
- Marijuana legalization
- Implementation of religious and biblical studies in public school education
- Sex-ed & chastity
3. Ensuring Representation
When you don’t vote, your ethnicity, gender, age group, or whatever group that you identify with will show a lower turnout, so during the next round of elections, when the candidates are looking at the demographics, they will mostly focus on issues that appeal to the groups that participated the most in voting, this way they attract a larger population. Makes sense, right?
So, vote in order for your people to be represented.
Just so that you get a sense of how sad the situation of the United States’ voter turnout is, let’s take a quick look at this chart that shows the voter turnout in developed nations.
That’s right!! We are 4th to last.
Barely over half of the eligible voters actually cared enough to vote in the previous presidential elections, but their apathy didn’t stop them from complaining about Obama’s policies or having the audacity to say that Obama is ruining the US. If you truly believed in Obama’s incompetency, for you had seen in his performance as a president in the previous 4 years, then why didn’t you vote?
I’m not planning on sugarcoating this; if you don’t vote, you don’t get to complain; you don’t get to have a say in laws that directly and dramatically influence your day-to-day life. Simple as that!
If this isn’t reason enough to get you to vote, then I really do hope that you really listen to me for the rest of this article, and hopefully, change your mind.
Why I care about politics, and why you should too!
Note: If you’re dubious of the significance of your vote due to the role of the electoral college, please refer to the “Admit that it matters” section in the short version.
1. Why is it a problem?
A democracy is defined as “a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state.” That means you. You are Democarcy! You are what makes a democracy happen. Otherwise, it will be the dysfunctional, corrupt, and inefficient system that it has turned to.
In an article published by the Huffington Post, Karen Gross reflected upon Pr. Obama’s final State of the Union as such: “First, for our Democracy to work, we need people to work together to solve problems and address social issues. We can’t all be shouting at each other, calling each other names and refusing to cooperate with those with whom we have disagreements.” The second leading factor of the current dysfunctional state of our Democracy was identified as low voter turnout, for “the President spoke to the need to improve voting, both by increasing the number of people who vote and ensuring that gerrymandering and money do not diminish these votes.”
2. Wars, Expenses, and Taxes
Whether you’re a pro-big military or against it, it doesn’t matter, because when we’re involved in wars, we are all equally affected. It is our own family members, our own friends, and maybe even us ourselves who go to those wars, and possibly lose our lives in the process. And let’s not forget about the insane expenses of holding military bases all over the world and financing a war.
According to globalreasearch.ca, currently, there are “325,000 US military personnel in foreign countries.” As a result, military expenses have been experiencing an insane upsurge. These are the very expenses that you have to pay for through your taxes.
Although it is the Congress that ultimately declares war, the president is the only one who can have some influence on their decision, and even if you believe that this is not true, you are the one who can elect members of Congress as well. It is you who decides whether you would want to decrease, maintain, or increase military expenditure depending on the candidate that you vote for.
I find it hard to believe that one might not care for where his or her tax fees are being invested in. You have no say in that source of “investment” other than voting, so if you’re unhappy with the current sources of “investment”, or would like to maintain them, you need to get out there and vote to make sure this opinion of yours will be reflected in the real world.
Still not convinced? That’s okay. I know that a lot of you probably believe that these are all not effective for the government is corrupt, and you’re right. There are many sources of corruption in our federal government, but there still are some purities left, and it is your job to find them and elect them.
3. Stuff that we all care about
A) College Education
When it comes to the public’s stance on paying for college education, they’re divided into 4 different groups: one group are those who are attending college themselves; the other are those whose children or family members are attending college; another group are those who believe that college education must not be free, and there’s one last, tiny group that are not concerned with this topic.
Every election, more than the previous one, this topic becomes more and more highlighted by candidates, and the only way you can get that free college education, or avoid having your taxes being spent on a free college education is through your vote.
B) Moral Issues
Elections, whether local or national, affect your daily life. One of their greatest impacts can be seen in the laws that are passed on moral issues.
Are you pro-life or pro-choice? Are you for or against the LGBTQ community? Do you support religious and biblical studies in public schools? Do you enjoy marijuana or do you view it as a dangerous drug that must be illegal? Do you feel safer with a gun in your pocket or are you afraid of going to the movies knowing that there might be a shooting?
If you care even one bit about any of these, then VOTE! Allow yourself the privilege of being represented.
4. Voicing your choice.
I completely understand if you are frustrated because you believe that none of the candidates represent you. Trust me; I get that, but whining about it doesn’t change anything. You know what does? Finding a candidate that is the closest representation of your beliefs, voting for him/her, and campaigning for the policies/ideas that you would like the candidate of your choice to adopt.
One of the factors that keep a lot of citizens, but mostly millennials and the younger generation from voting is the candidates’ failure to address issues that appeal to them and concern them. Besides college education and maybe a few of the moral issues, the younger generations’ lack of first-hand experiences with the influence of other discussed policies leads to their loss of interest in politics. BUT, have you ever wondered why that is? Why is that the elders’ concerns are constantly addressed by politicians, while those of the youth are often overlooked?
You need to keep in mind that there’s only so much that politicians can focus on during their campaigns, so they look at the demographics to analyze the population that has the highest voter turnout in order to concentrate on issues that appeal to a larger population, and what they observe over and over is a continuous low participation of younger generations in elections. So you gotta get out there and vote, so that next time around, the running candidates will recognize the influence that you can have, and they will invest in addressing your concerns.
I can go on and on about the million reasons why you should vote and you should be informed about and care about politics, but to sum it all up, I want to leave you with this. Get out there and vote, because whether you like it not, someone is going to get elected. Someone is going to be in charge of making decisions for the country that you live in, so even if you don’t believe that your vote counts or you think that its influence is insignificant, you might as well take a chance and vote. You are definitely more likely to be heard when you actually talk!
Let’s open up a discussion.
Are you voting this year? Why or why not? Do you believe that we should advocate for a higher voter turnout? If so, how?