I know election day has come and gone, so this post is a bit too late for this go around, but I prefer to look at it as getting a head start for the next election. I am very discouraged by my friends and even some family as of late. I am finding fewer and fewer of them are interested in politics at all, and nobody seems to know anything about the issues at hand let alone want to vote on them. I just don't understand how so many people can have such a blasé attitude towards what is going on in their city, state, country, heck even the world. This is important people, the decisions made now are going to affect not only you, but also your children, and their children, and so on.
I guess I don't understand it because when I was growing up it was instilled in me that this was important. During the election season we watched the debates. Discussions were had at the dinner table about what the issues were and what the candidate's platforms were based on. And even though my parents are divorced this was one thing they could both agree on, politics were important, knowing what was going on in the world was important, and above all else exercising your right to vote was important. I can remember being a kid and going with my parents to vote. I can remember both of my parents taking the time to explain the process and how it works and why it is so important that every person who can vote does so that they speak up and their voice is heard.
It makes me sad that so many of my peers aren't having their voices heard. I know you have them, and I know you have great opinions. I see you voicing them on Facebook. I hear you talking about them in Starbucks. But when the vote tallies come in they just don't support the number of people in our age range that can vote. We aren't showing up at the polls, we aren't mailing back in our ballots, heck in most cases we aren't even bothering to register. It's easy to register; in most states you can do it at your DMV, post office, county election office, or even online. It's free too.
Some people say they don't want to register because it means they will get pulled into the jury duty pool. Well I got news for you, at least in Oregon, the rules have changed and now the pool is anyone that has a diver's license or state ID. They aren't even using the voter registration pool anymore so chances are you are already in the pool. And even if does put you in the jury duty pool in your state, so what. Jury duty is one of those necessary evils in life much like taxes. Most of the time when you get summoned for duty you get released anyway. It's not that great of an excuse.
I've also heard the excuse of, "I don't know who anybody is or who to vote for so I don't want to vote for anyone." That's just sheer laziness. In this age of instant information at our fingertips there is no reason why you can't do the research. You need to make it your responsibility and your business to know who the candidates are, what they stand for, and what kind of history they have. And it's not just about the people here either.
During elections we are also voting on new laws, laws that for better or worse will impact your life. These could be laws that increase or decrease taxes. Laws that protect a certain class of citizen, or laws that take away certain rights if we aren't careful. Don't think for a moment that the people who want these laws to pass aren't campaigning hard to have people vote the way they want them to. But what if you don't agree with the law, what if you don't like it? Well did you vote? Did you stand up and say I don't think this is right? If not then you are part of the problem and not the solution.
Now, I'm not telling anyone that they have to vote a certain way, and I never will. I may give you the pros and cons I see if you ask, and sometimes even if you don't just because I feel passionate about the topic. But I am begging, pleading, strongly suggesting, and ok downright harassing you to please, please, please vote. It's one of the simplest yet most powerful things you can do. It's your right, and it's your responsibility.