"Voting is our commitment to ourselves, one another, this country, and this world." - Sharon Salzberg
It's no secret that I insist on voting. Yesterday I was spazzing, because I wasn't sure if I was going to get to! I was literally sick to my stomach. I thought for sure I would get to leave early from work, but we had a huge review yesterday afternoon. There was no way for me to just excuse myself and leave. I made it just in the nick of time. Seriously... there were only like 7 minutes to spare... I had to get in there and do my part! My vote may not be the one that takes my preferred candidate over the line of victory, but, hey... it might! With that being said, why wouldn't I practice the amazing privilege I have to express my opinion in what goes on in my state or country? I honestly just don't get people who refuse to vote. I found myself filled with irritation while reading a report that showed 78% of Kentuckians didn't show up at the polls yesterday. That's thousands of people! Thousands and thousands. I can't get over that. Even after I found out my choice guy claimed victory, I still couldn't shake the unsettling feeling resulting from such a lack of concern.
I've heard several different things this week...
1) "It's having to pick between the lesser of two evils, so I don't like it." 2) "God will appoint whomever He chooses anyway." 3) "Voting is not practicing my rights but surrendering them, in my opinion..."
I understand the basic point behind each comment above... I think. Still, I just can't nonchalantly go about my day refusing to do everything in my power to act upon what I feel is important... especially knowing that on voting day, people actually want to know what I think.
But, in all honesty, I think that's the whole issue here. People don't really care anymore. Oh, sure, they'll complain all day long... but when it's time for them to try and find a solution they run back home and gripe about how things are. Nothing is ever going to get accomplished this way. Although I love my generation immensely, there's a deep frustration that rises up in me when I talk to a peer who shows absolutely no concern or need to learn about the issues of our day. They've already made up in their mind that they hate things, abhor people, and the world is only going to get worse from here.
Take time to learn about your community! Understand the issues that are being weighed in the balance, and know where you're going to stand. Don't listen to the ads on TV. We all know the media is the most fraudulent source of accurate information there is. Do some research. You don't have to study for days... Just find out what the candidates stand for and vote according to your conscience. Our generation is so spoiled. Really. I don't know how to say it any other way. Many act like things are so unfair and so hard... We have no idea what unfair and hard really mean today. All this attacking the police, suing for anything we can think of, claiming everything to be hate crimes and bigotry... Ugh. I can't handle it. It's embarrassing. So many young people want to march, scream, harass, and destroy other humans to get their way... but they won't color in a few circles on a ballot.
People died so we could vote. Read that again and let that sink in. Issues like that aren't present in our day. The biggest problems of today seem to be resolved with enough money or fame. Pretty big deals, huh? Do you care enough about anything at stake that you could honestly say you would be willing to give your life for it? Well, people before us felt that strongly about voting.
Although America proclaimed independence in 1776, liberty wasn't handed to everyone. At this time, voting was only permitted for white, property-owning, Protestant men. It took 52 years before they removed religious barriers from the white men. It was 1856 before they removed their property requirements. Finally, in 1869, all men were given the right to vote, regardless of race, religion, or "class." Women weren't given the right until August 26, 1920 when they passed the 19th amendment. People were beaten, thrown in jail, and even killed just for practicing peaceful protests... They saw how invaluable and precious voting really was... is.
Take some pride in your nation. Realize that the only way change will occur is if we do the changing. While it may make us feel better to vent about how ridiculous the government is, it's not making a difference. So, when you get the chance to make a difference... take it!
"Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote, except the American people themselves, and the only way to do that is by not voting." - Franklin D. Roosevelt