My Vote Does Count

“The basis of democracy is tolerance to criticism. If you can’t face criticism — if you cannot accept it — then you cannot guard democracy, you are not eligible for it.” ~ Narendra Modi

Politics is generally a taboo subject in my social circles. No one likes to be told by another that he’s an idiot for his ideology, even though both sides — conservative and liberal — each have convincing cases on specific issues.

Not even the middle-of-the-road ‘independent’ label guarantees neutrality anymore. This country is sharply divided and at odds with itself; it’s a wonder our officials can even govern (and some say they don’t).

It’s easier to just keep to one’s self about whom you support or not.

Shankar Vedantam in a recent Hidden Brain episode makes a compelling case for why our parenting styles may be dictating our political ideologies. It certainly explains why I’m so hopelessly in the middle and always conflicted when casting a vote for any person. It’s worth the 20-minute listen, whether you have kids or not.

Frustrated friends have decided to abstain from voting altogether in the presidential campaign. Wha….?  Surrendering power into the hands of a few others, people like me who always vote just doesn’t seem…well, very helpful for them. With voting percentages in the 4-year presidential ‘beauty contest’ being higher than those of other times (like boring old city or school bond ballots, for example), numbers are still pretty dismal as percentages go; only around a third of registered voters actually show up.

I want to be one of that powerful few. Politicians are all followers of their constituents. I prefer for them to be following my lead, reading my letters, listening to my solutions and being a part of an on-going conversation driven by me, the one who put them into office (or kept them from it, if it happens to be).

Avoiding cars on the levee system.
Hey wait…who’s leading here?

We decided to ditch the car drive and spend the pretty day riding bikes instead to the local library where we vote. We waited in a  45-minute-long line on a random weekday. Good thing we didn’t put off that chore until Election Day when all those who waited until the last minute cast their votes.

However it turns out, I’m hopeful by the crowds already witnessed that my country may be finally waking up….or gone mad, depending upon your perspective.

As for Tuesday, may the best man win, unless, of course, she happens to be a woman.

Don’t stay home, Americans!
Go find your polling place.

ELECTION DAY – Tuesday, November 8, 2016

5 thoughts on “My Vote Does Count

  1. ‘Surrendering power into the hands of a few .’ I’ve never heard the perils of voluntary voting put so well. We have mandatory voting in Australia. not for long. There’s been a push here to change things. I shudder at the thought.

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    1. I’m not sure if I want EVERYONE voting. What of those who do the eenie meenie miney mo approach to choosing just to check the mandatory box (i.e. don’t care)? All I know is voluntary, but it probably wouldn’t be that bad switching from a voluntary system. Would certainly weed out the ‘don’t cares.’

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      1. Mandatory voting wouldn’t weed out the ‘don’t cares’ Shannon. Here we call it a donkey vote. That’s human nature. People in Oz groan about having to find time to vote (it’s on a Saturday), but having arrived at the polling booth, most will put their vote to good use. I think that there are less ‘don’t cares’ here and more ‘seeing that I’m here, I might as well make my vote count.’ 🙂

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      2. Ah. A name for it even! Yes, I suppose my NOT checking a box even though there is only one candidate choice for a race has a name too? But still, I always show up to vote, whether or not I check all the boxes. We call those ‘under votes’ and I wish they could somehow affect an election outcome.

        I think of Costa Rica who I think is voluntary, but their turnout is exemplary due to the community involvement in getting EVERYONE to the polls (free busses, taxis, no school or work on Election Day, etc.). We could really do better in America.

        Then there’s our electoral college system. Oh boy…such a mess.

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