Tuesday, November 6, 2012

You can argue that your vote doesn't matter... here's why I voted anyways

I see a lot of people across various social media outlets saying that they won't be voting today because their opinion / vote doesn't matter (especially if you aren't in a swing state). Let me give you a few points as to why this type of thinking bothers me:

1. Voting is a right we fought for

I'll be honest and admit that I considered not voting. It's true that my vote makes little difference and Utah almost always goes Republican. I almost believe that Jesus Christ could run for President as a Democrat and Utah would still vote Republican. One of the things that changed my mind (as far as my vote actually meaning something) is the fact that I've been reading up on some American history as of late. I may not whole-heartedly support Obama or Romney but let me tell you a few things that I do support all the way. I support the American Revolution. I support the idea of no taxation without representation. I support George Washington, Sam Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, and the Founding Fathers. I honestly believe that even though centuries separate me from them, they had my best interests at heart. They set up a country with their children and their children's children in mind. I respect and admire that. So even though it wasn't on the ballot... I feel there was an invisible first question. The first question was actually "Do you support this country and the principles it was founded on and do you honor the men and women who gave their time, means, and their lives so that you could live in freedom?" By voting today, I feel like I checked the option "Hell yes!"

2. I try not to be a hypocrite

This may sound horrible but I want the option to occasionally complain about the way things are run. I don't feel I have a right to do that if I didn't vote. Only hypocrites choose not to vote and then criticize the administration. If you don't like the way things are run and you don't think your vote matters... that's fine. I think voting, however, is at the very least a symbolic gesture that earns you the right to whine about the government, politicians, and whatever else.

3. Beacon of democracy?

A quick check of Wikipedia shows that around 58.2% of the voting age population voted in 2008. That's a little more than half. How the hell can we claim to be a shining beacon of democracy when we can only convince half the people in the country to give up ten minutes of their time once every four years? (I'm just talking about the presidential election. With drive time included, voting took me ten minutes total). Voter turnout looks like it was a lot higher back in the 1800's - back then we saw voter turnout generally close to 70% or 80%. For a country that claims to be so progressive and dominating... that's a really big slide backwards.

4. It took five minutes

If you remove drive time (because the precinct was on my way to grab lunch), voting took a total of five minutes. I walked in, waited in line for maybe a minute, showed my driver's license, and was done a few minutes later. You even have the option of mailing your votes in (if you didn't this time, you can register for votes via mail at www.got-vote.org). If you're super lazy... they even have a straight party ticket vote. One button on a touch screen gets you through the whole ballot.


All that being said, it's still your call. You still live in a country that will allow you to totally ignore voting today. I think voting is more than just picking a bunch of unrelatable assholes to run things. It shows that even though you may think things have become corrupt or a little removed, you still support this country and the rights that the Founding Fathers fought for.

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