I’d like to make the case for voting in the upcoming elections. I’ve made some of these points before, but I feel that it is an issue that requires some more attention. I’m going to be orienting this argument towards the people out there that believe that voting is a pointless and meaningless endeavor.
There are a lot of people who choose not to vote—not because they are apathetic, but because they believe that by boycotting the electoral process they are “making a statement”. Unfortunately, this statement doesn’t result in any kind of positive affect. In fact, this “statement” seems to be welcomed with open arms by the neo-conservatives who have been running our country, because they wouldn’t have the opportunity to hold such blatant power and influence otherwise. You non-voters out there who refuse to vote in order to make a statement: the only statement you are making is that you are selfish and small-minded.
So you choose to withhold your vote because your single, individual vote doesn’t hold much sway. But is it not obvious that if everyone voted, then that cumulative total could make a quite powerful statement?
So you choose to withhold your vote because you don’t even believe in either of the two parties that hold power. But is it not obvious that by becoming completely uninvolved in the political process, you are allowing the politics in the US to become even more deeply divided and distant from your personal needs and beliefs?
What would you have? That your country should collapse and fail because you are so selfish that you can’t allow yourself to compromise and utilize whatever limited tools and options you have as a citizen to become involved?
Yes, the democracy in this country is mostly a sham. Yes, the choice between party A or B is almost as bad as no choice at all. Yes, the individual voice is lost and suppressed in the clamor and lobby of moneyed interests.
But my question to you is: what are YOU doing to change this situation? Are you hiding away in your pseudo-intellectual hole? Are you going to move to Canada?
We indeed have limited tools available to us in order to enact progressive change as a people and as a nation. But the choices before us in this upcoming presidential election couldn’t be more clear: either you choose not to become involved, and you send this country down the path of another four years of bad policy, bad foreign affairs, poor economic decisions. . . or you vote for Barack Obama, and you vote for an intelligent politican who has integrity, clear and strong progressive policy agendas, and who stands as a living representative to the world of what America wants to be about: diversity, intelligence, and charisma.
This election will determined by whether the non-voters out there get involved or not. If you choose to make your statement by boycotting the vote, then who do you think you are putting into power? The same kind of administration that has been winning consistently in the past for that very same reason. Is that the kind of statement you want to make? Think about it.
I’m sorry that American politics are not ideal and perfect and truly democratic. Getting involved in politics is involving yourself in an imbalanced, often one-sided, and messy relationship. You have to compromise. You have to be patient and determined. But you have to be involved if you want to make change.
We need to get Barack Obama into office. Then we need to stay involved in order to put the pressure on his administration to roll out the changes that we want to see.
Or we can just sit back, and keep complaining. Watch our country fall apart as the super-rich get richer and the rest of us lose our jobs. At least it will give us something to feel righteous and indignant about.