I’ve been holding this rant back for a while now. I made this same point via email a few weeks ago and wasn’t going to post it here, but I think I’ve finally had enough and I want to say something. It’s a little late now to make a difference, but it’s not like anyone really reads this thing anyway.
I think that it’s extremely important to vote and get involved in your government, but I don’t think there is much that irks me more than everyone going nuts with the push to get people to vote every presidential election. Every four years, our country goes into this huge frenzy to get people registered to vote and get them to go out to the polls on election day. There are people practically accosting you out in public, friends telling you to go vote, the internet telling you to go out and vote, etc. It’s everywhere. This is not where the focus should be.
Don’t get me wrong, I always make sure that I get out and vote and I hope that you do too. It’s very important to cast your vote, but there something that is even more important… Getting educated on the issues and the candidates!
It’s not your civic duty to vote, it’s your civic duty to get informed and learn about what you’re voting on. This is where the focus should be and this is where the push should be. We can’t just tell people to vote and then leave it at that. People need to be informed. Get out there and learn something. I’m not just talking about turning on the evening news or reading a few major news sources online. Dig deeper! Find some alternative news outlets. Find some left-leaning ones. Find some right-leaning ones. Find some that claim to be unbiased. Find everything you can! Explore! There’s a lot of information out there. Sure, there’s a lot of bullshit, but the deeper you dig and the more effort you put in, the more truth you will find. It’s out there (the X-Files reference was unintentional). I promise!
I really think that just getting educated alone will be enough to get most people to vote and negate the need for us to push people to vote in the first place. So if there is instead a push on getting informed, they will still vote, but they will also actually know what they’re voting on.
And honestly, if you dig into the issues and the candidates and you really don’t feel one way or the other, I think it’s alright to sit it out. Voting simply for the sake of voting is probably responsible for some of what is wrong with this country and it’s completely irresponsible. Keep in mind, that you really aren’t in a position to complain if you sit it out, but why would you want to influence an election that many people may care about if you don’t care as well.
The other thing that bothers me is that so much emphasis is put on the presidential election, but other elections coast by with little fanfare. These are important too! Local, state, Senate, and House elections affect us a lot too! And not only do these representatives and propositions affect us, but this is also where our presidential candidates’ political careers start out. So you can have a say early on too. I realize that the information for these elections isn’t always as convenient to get too, but that’s where getting informed and staying informed comes into play.
All that being said, I hope that you voted today and more than that, I hope that you really feel like who you voted for is going to make a difference and lead us in the direction and that that belief was based on actual information and not your friends or some guy on the street.
PS: No one get me started on the flaws in our voting system and the equipment used.
EDIT: I swear I wrote this before reading today’s Dinosaur Comic.