Saturday, July 31, 2010

Why not vote?

The purpose of this posting is to convince everybody reading it to vote in the August 5th election. This goal seems reasonable enough, but given the attitudes of some, it is a goal that will be impossible to achieve.

There are several approaches I could take. For example, I could use the 'guilt trip' approach by reminding voters that a lot of people have fought and died just so we can have free elections.

This freedom is one of our most fundamental rights. We all know that many people in the world do not have this right. Some can not vote at all, and others often have to endure government interference that makes their secret vote not so secret.

Freedom and democracy have many privileges, but there is also a lot of responsibility. To make a country like ours work, it is necessary for those who enjoy the benefits to also involve themselves in the process that makes it work. Frankly, there are many people who have let this slide, and the bitter fruit we have seen lately in our country is partly because of that.

I could use the 'we get the government we deserve' approach. After all, if we do not take advantage of our right to vote, it gives much more room to those who sneak around and exploit the system for their benefit.

Voters are supposed to be like security guards. We should be keeping a close eye on the work of our government to protect the sacredness of our country. If we do not, our country becomes that much more vulnerable to those who do not have our country's best interests at heart.

Many people appear to believe that our country can survive no matter what happens. After all, we are a super power, right? Sorry, but all nations or empires crumble at some point. When I was a boy, the Soviet Union was a super power that seemed unstoppable.

Within 15 years, it was gone. Like many countries that crumble, it crumbled from within. And, in a chilling coincidence, part of the reason it crumbled was because of a long and costly war in Afghanistan (sound familiar?).

If it can happen to them, it can happen to us.

I could use the 'when we do not vote, we really are voting' approach. Though people get discouraged and feel their vote does not make a difference, it actually carries a lot of weight. If a person does not vote, it allows political candidates with a different ideology than theirs to get that much stronger.

This is because if a person does not vote, then the power of a voter who supports a different candidate enlarges and takes the space vacated by a non-voter. Voting is not passive. If a person does not participate, there are plenty of people waiting to exploit that person's inactivity.

The bottom line is there is no good excuse for not voting. In Thursday's election, there are races on the local, state, and federal level. There is a little bit for everybody.

Locally, there are races for Circuit Court Judge, Alderman, and the County Commission among others. Given the financial state of Coffee County, it is inconceivable that there are people who do not care how the County Commission races will turn out.

On the state level, there are Democratic and Republican primaries for Governor. On the federal level, there are Democratic and Republican primaries for the U.S. House of Representatives.

This election has a full plate of candidates. If you do not vote, do not complain to me if you are not happy with the results.

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