“God damn it! We just got through the ugliest election in this country’s history! I never, ever want to hear about politics again!”
As of this writing (late October), the elections are, sadly, not over with yet. Nearly everyone I know is weary of this election, and I know more than one person who swears they will never vote again.
Never. Vote. Again.
Um, no. Not voting is not an option.
I used to work in an election office, so I’ve heard a lot of arguments why people don’t care about politics. If you hate politics or ignore them altogether, read below. I want you tell you why your lack of interest in what’s going on around you could hurt you in the end.
Excuse #1: My vote doesn’t matter.
I’m so tired of hearing this. First of all, if you knew the history of how different groups in our country had to struggle to get the vote, you might think a little differently. American women only got the vote in 1920, and that was after a lot of hard work. My grandmothers were born without any voting rights, and they only could when they turned 21, not 18.
And if you think your vote doesn’t matter, you are so wrong. More than a few local elections are decided by a single vote. In national elections, sometimes the presidential vote is decided by only a few hundred people. 2000, anybody? So your vote does matter. And if you sit at home on Election Day, you officially surrender your right to ever complain about politics ever again. And you’re dismissing the sacrifices of your great-grandmothers and all the other women in your family who worked to ensure you get the vote.
Excuse #2: There’s nothing on the ballot that affects me.
Not true, either. Many ballots have tax initiatives on them for levies, school bonds, sales taxes, etc., that hit you in the wallet. You could wind up paying more or less taxes. Your vote can affect how children in your city are educated, or which building projects get funded. In my state this year, we are voting on whether or not to abolish the death penalty. My vote is literally a vote of life and death.
I always supported Obamacare, but I never thought I would be on the receiving end of it. Welp, I am on it right now and I make sure my vote ensures politicians who support it stay in Washington. I want my voice heard, because what is on the ballot indeed affects my daily life.
Excuse #3: All politicians suck. Why should I even bother?
I actually don’t disagree with this argument. A lot of politicians do kind of suck because they are in perpetual campaign mode. They lose their empathy and connection with the very constituents who voted them into office.
That is why I think term limits are a good thing. And in the meantime, I am voting straight across the board to bring in new blood. I am weary of the establishment, so it’s time to shake it up. And even if the same old clowns get elected, at least I can hold my head high knowing I did my best to make a change.
Excuse #4: I don’t have time.
LAME. It take seconds to fill out an absentee request form. Vote at home in your jammies, then mail the puppy back in.
You don’t have to vote for every issue on the ballot, but you are doing yourself a huge favor to stay informed. Read editorials in your local paper. Visit the websites of the major parties in your state. Watch a debate or two. Ask questions of a friend or coworker who is well informed. Again, you don’t have to know everything, but educate yourself!
I hope I’ve refuted at least one argument on why you don’t care about politics. You aren’t only helping yourself, but you’re making a meaningful contribution to your community. It takes little time to educate yourself, and you are honoring the work of everyone who fights to ensure you have access to a ballot at every election.
YES OR NO: Did you vote last month? Why?