To the Editor:
Thank you for the editorial in today’s paper “You Don’t Have an Excuse Not to Vote”.
I have been mulling the reasons why people don’t vote, since I firmly believe as you do that voting is always important but more so this time. I have yet to convince anyone who doesn’t want to vote of that need. What I realized is the decision is not based on logic but on emotion; feelings, not necessarily facts. Logic and emotions often don’t mix, still stated reasons generally fall along one of three lines:
1. I have a right not to vote. Yes, and you have a right to go stand in the middle of the road and let that semi run you over, too. Are you going to do that?
2. My vote doesn’t count/ nothing ever changes and;
3. I don’t know who to vote for. This one is as easy to answer as the first, and even more obvious. It just takes a little effort.
But rather than trying to address those objections, let’s take a look at what voting is.
To me, voting is the essence of freedom.
And what is freedom? Certainly not what we envisioned as kids: Being able to do whatever you want when you want. But freedom is what we tout as our cornerstone, our signature, up there with religion in significance.
My definition is:
"Freedom is the right and the ability to made decisions large and small that affect you, your family, your community and your society now and in the future."
Nearly half of eligible voters didn’t vote in the last general election. Imagine what might happen if those numbers increased significantly. That’s just the last presidential election. Think of all the other times we elect people to represent us, i.e., our values in making decisions.
Sure, that freedom includes not making those decisions. Letting someone else make those decisions: About taxes, who pays and where they are spent; about roads and sewers, heating and cooling; schools and even the safety of our neighborhoods and what countries are our friends and which are our enemies.
If enough people abrogate their right and duty to vote, that freedom will disappear. One only has to look at history to see the examples.
That’s why I feel you are not a good citizen if you do not participate in democracy. To be a good citizen, you must vote.