It’s true: you have the right to not do a damn thing about it, but voting is important, isn’t it?
We can agree that getting to choose who our leaders are and what our public policies dictate affects us all. In the United States, we have a system that keeps any one person or group from solely controlling our way of life. It works because the citizens, both directly and indirectly, decide on issues and leadership. Sounds good, but having the freedom to not do it shouldn’t be a good enough reason.
There’s been much push over the years to get college-aged adults to register to vote. Twenty-somethings usually turn out in very small numbers at the polls. In 2016, less than half of voters aged 18 to 29 voted, according to the United States Census Bureau.
It’s not so unusual because this age group is living at a time in their lives where fixing down rules and laws is the last thing on their minds, as sociological studies have found. This age group wants to experience life in full freedom, not get stuck in stuffy ideas.
Actors, musicians and other popular people have been the ones working in past years to influence this particular age group to vote.
Last September, though, council members got in on the effort by showing up to California State Universities to talk to students and to get them to register to vote. You can even do it on Snapchat!
But registering to vote and actually doing it are independent of each other. Now politicians, along with the media, are holding their breath to see if those newly registered voters will actually turn out to vote on Election Day.
There’s so much more to it, though. Making political choices is hardly ever clear. Voters collectively get thousands of pieces of mail every election about candidates and propositions, and the bombardment of TV commercials becomes just about unbearable. All that effort goes solely to influence voter opinions. If any of it were to provide useful, factual information, it would easily get lost in the muck of constant negative attacks.
It seems that elections in the U.S. have become political theatrics that will somehow derive a true winner for us; somehow deliver democracy.
Nearly $3 billion has been spent on TV and radio advertisements for the 2018 elections, as recently reported by NBC. Political Action Committees (PACs) drop hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce ads that go to attack opponents – not so much to promote a candidate, but to reduce the challenger to a scene of senselessness and self-interest.
And don’t forget the accusations of greed! Oh, man – everybody else is always so greedy. What if we had an independent organization that could do for politics what Consumer Reports does for products?
If objective evaluations of candidates and propositions could be found, omitting the promises, hype and propaganda, it would be easier to elect the best person for office and to be serious about the voting process.
Not that we live in a true democracy, but that’s OK.
Since we elect persons to represent us, the United States is a republic. That clarification is consistent with political scientists. The difference between the two is that in a democracy, the majority vote would rule, leaving out the minority. In a republic, the majority still rule but now the minority has a say. That definition comes from sciencetrend.com. More than that, the word “democracy” is not in the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, or any of the other founding papers.
Whether you decide to vote in the next election or not, keep in mind that there’s no such thing as a perfect person. Don’t expect it. So what are we going do? This is our job. Who’s going to decide for us, and why would we let someone else decide?
It’s our say in who gets to represent us in our communities, state governments and especially in the White House.
PACs and special interest groups don’t make it easy for us to decide on whom to elect and the process isn’t fun or even fair sometimes, but voting gives a say in how we’re going to live, so do it.