Friday, February 5, 2010

Blame it on the Snow: Voter Apathy

Illinois held primaries on Tuesday. Only 26% of registered voters actually showed up. The news-casters blamed it on the light snow flaking down outside. Umm. We cannot blame the weather on people’s apathy. There are several issues I don’t understand when it comes to our democracy. People love to complain about the problems of our country, yet 74% of people should not be allowed that privilege. People don’t find politics important because they don’t feel that they actually can make a difference, well you’re definitely not going to make a difference if you don’t even attempt to get a vote in. Politicians know who actually show up to the polls so they design their campaigns for those people— democracy is supposed to be “for the people” but it’s only for the people who put their 2 cents in—if you don’t vote you don’t count.

The second issue I have is directly related to women and minorities. It took federal amendments to give us this right. It took hundreds of years to have this opportunity, to have the privilege of making political decisions. I find it my duty not just to my own generation, but to all the generations of people who fought so hard to give me the opportunity they never had. I find it absolutely rude and disrespectful.

Another problem: when people do decide to vote it’s for the one position that the every day people really and truly have no control over—the presidency. In a primary, our votes are what count, the electoral college doesn’t get in the way—and the people we are voting for make up a body of people who are supposed to represent us—vote the way we would vote—so skipping the vote is skipping out on your voice.

And to wrap it back around, people will drive in blizzards to get to where they want to go if they want it bad enough so we can never blame the weather for people’s lack of doing something. The bottom line is they don’t want to do it, for probably a number of excuses. Personally, I can’t make an excuse. Yes. I am cynical and yes I find that the government generally problematic, corrupt and controlling, but I still have a glimmer of hope that if I at least vote, I can add my voice to changing that. Also, if I don’t vote then I don’t feel I can bitch about the government to the degree that need to.

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