With the 2014 Election results finally in, many people are disappointed with the outcome of the voting process. Conservatives taking both the House and Senate, America is now bleeding red while liberals find themselves in the minority. Surprisingly, though, voter turnout this year was at record lows, and the results could easily be linked to that statistic. With less and less young people voting, more conservatives over the age of sixty are, and that fact alone could easily cause a switch in party control. Did you vote this year? If not, here’s why you should, and–if you did–here’s some reminders.
It’s Your Civic Duty
As American citizens, we have three civic duties that are asked of us: serve jury duty, follow the laws, and vote. We are granted freedom of speech and religion, right to bear arms, right to a fair trial, right to vote (for women and those of non-white ethnicity), and twenty-three other rights in the Bill of Rights and our Constitution, and all the government asks that we do is follow the rules, help elect leaders, and serve jury duty at least once. We receive so much as Americans, and we don’t want to give anything back.
Think of it as a teenager (like myself) and their parent. Teen asks to go out to eat with friends, parent says, “Well, in order for me to give you money for that, I’ll need you to clean the kitchen.” Teenager doesn’t want to clean the kitchen, but they are absolutely dying to go see their friends, so they clean the kitchen in order to earn an allowance. This is similar to the process of civic duties in the United States: we take all that we can get, but we don’t want to do any work for it.
We need to quit being whiny teens and start acting like responsible citizens.
Not Voting is Being the Oppressor
Here’s another example from an adolescent perspective: you’re walking down the hall at school and you see someone getting bullied, but you don’t do anything about it; you don’t try and break it up, you don’t go and get a teacher. Instead of trying to help the poor kid, you ignore it and walk on. With that, you are now the oppressor: you’re just as bad as the bully. You may not be bullying the kid, but you’re sure not helping to stop it.
You may say that “all politicians are bad”, and that may be true; however, wouldn’t you rather vote for the better of the bad politicians than allow someone else to vote for the worst? Politicians may not be trustworthy, but there is at least one you can side with. Choosing not to vote shows an apathy towards our country and government.
With our government in the bullied and beat-up state that it is, we should be willing to help.
You Can’t Complain
Decide not to vote? Fine. You can’t complain, though. Afterall, you made no effort to have a say in who is representing you, so what gives you the right to complain?
Turnout is Important
Turnout was more than important during this election. With all the older conservatives showing up at the booths, we experienced a sweeping color of red take hold of our country. If more younger people decided to vote (and it’s been proven that younger people tend to be more liberal), we could’ve seen more competition among the parties, or even a Democratic victory.
Not looking at demographics, turnout in general is very important. Only forty percent of the population voted this year. Forty. Percent. (That’s out of a hundred, by the way.) In other countries, like Germany, voter turnout is around eighty percent at almost every election. I understand that this wasn’t a major election year, but think about it: shouldn’t you be more concerned with your local politicians than our president? The president doesn’t make all the decisions, and the decisions that directly impact you come from your district and state representatives.
You may say that “my vote doesn’t matter”, and I’m here to advise you to get your self-centered head out of the gutter and realize: no, your single little vote does not decide an entire election, but you can help support the majority or minority, and in the case of this election (where people were losing by single-digit percents), your vote surely could’ve helped.
It’s a F*cking Privilege
For hundreds of years, we were the only modern democracy in the world. This meant that all other countries were lead by monarchies or had dictators. Even though that has since changed, there are still many other countries who struggle to have basic human rights (have you heard of a little place called South Korea?).
We are extremely lucky to have the opportunity to be able to have a say in our leaders, and we shouldn’t take advantage of that.
The choice to vote is a responsible and important one that every American citizen over the age of eighteen should choose to make. Take time out of school or work (wake up early if you have to), and make sure to visit the polls next year.
Below I have also included some tweets that caught my eye today from my peers. Please enjoy these eye-opening thoughts.
Top image courtesy of: thebottomlinenews.com