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WHY VOTING MATTERS

“We want to get on ‘The News’ because if we get on ‘The News,’ we can raise awareness!”

 

No one will admit to this, but people are basically obsessed with the idea of being on TV these days.

Oh wait.  Let me say it for you …

“NOT ME!” 

Of course, not you.  I’m not talking about YOU.  I’m referring to everybody else.

If I’m wrong, how else can you explain the popularity of social media?  Social media basically gives everyone access to a certain kind of notoriety they wouldn’t be able to get otherwise.  It’s sort of like your own little platform or TV show without the production budget, staff or peanut gallery constantly tinkering with things that turn your horse into an aardvark.

Being in the public spotlight is a big deal to a lot of people these days.  It makes people feel important and dare I say … relevant.

Wanna know what TRULY makes anybody anywhere on the face of this earth instantly and irrevocably relevant?

VOTING. 

When you show up to vote and cast your ballot, you have turned yourself into one big, bad-ass.  But here’s the really cool thing.  It’s SO stealth. It’s like being the power broker behind the scenes that no one knows about, but they KNOW that something is definitely going on back there.

You’re totally under the radar, but you just did something that literally causes the entire system to tremble.  It’s like taking an axe to a tree.  You may not have chopped the tree down, but believe me, the tree felt it.  That tree is now shaking in its boots.

It’s like ripping up a piece of lawn and seeing all of those icky bugs and worms suddenly scrambling for cover. They don’t know what’s happening, but they know something is going down and they’re afraid they might be looking at their final countdown.

They know that something that matters like hell is happening. 

As a journalist, I’ve covered marches, rallies, demonstrations, sit-ins, concerts for causes and all sorts of staged events designed to garner media attention.  Do they raise awareness?  Yes.  But do you know what they mainly do?

The get you on the 6 O’Clock News for 30 seconds … TOPS.

Marches, rallies, demonstrations and so on … ARE indeed important.  However, I think that as a society, we’ve forgotten that the whole purpose of those things back in the day was to get women and minorities in America the right to vote.  They were all about helping the world see EVERYONE as human beings blessed with certain inalienable rights … VOTING among them.

The irony is that these days, people march, rally and protest, but they don’t vote.  It’s like some sick joke.  Really?

When people get upset, they take to the streets.  Sometimes things get very violent, but this need not be the case.  It’s sad because I think that oftentimes when people march and rally, they’re just so upset and they want to see immediate action.  They often feel powerless and they want an immediate outlet.  This is totally understandable and demonstrations fulfill that function quite well.

However, if you really want your voice to count, if you really want to be heard, if you really want to spend your time well, if you really want to be a bad-ass … nothing and I mean nothing … replaces going to the polls and voting.

Voting is probably the most powerful thing you can ever do in your life.  And yet, it’s so … well … simple … and … boring.  It doesn’t FEEL like you’ve really done anything exciting once you’ve voted. There’s nothing glamorous about voting.  It’s so dull and mundane that people overlook it.  It’s so easy, routine and basic … TOTALLY BASIC … like brushing your teeth or mowing the lawn and yet, what a difference all of those things make. Voting is far more important than brushing your teeth or mowing the lawn.  And yet, all of those things must be done.

Marches, rallies, protests and demonstrations are exciting.  They give people an opportunity to YELL and ACT UP.  They give you a chance to give the powers that be a piece of your mind. They give you the chance to join together and chant …

“HELL NO! WE WON’T GO!”

What percentage of the people who rally and protest would you say actually show up at the polls on Election Day?  Do kids who turn out for “Rock the Vote” actually cast ballots?  I think not.  My guess would be 30% … if we’re lucky.

Voter intimidation is a very real and very vile thing, but in order to have voter intimidation, you must have people who actually SHOW UP to be intimidated.  What’s it going to take for people to show up at the polls?

Do you know what I think the problem is?  We live in a society where people want what they want and they want it NOW.  But that’s just not the way our democracy is set up. 

We’ve got checks and balances and we live in a world where not everything is – or should be – about US.  We have to compromise because we are not the only people in the world.  We share this planet and it’s just not possible to get everything you want the way you want it all the time.  That’s LIFE.

But that’s why voting matters so much because if you don’t vote, you’re guaranteed to lose out on what you want.

And another thing.  It always cracks me up to hear people say …

“Well, I don’t know WHO to vote for!  I don’t like EITHER of them!”

Here’s the thing … How many times have you had to choose between two products in the supermarket?  You don’t really like either nor are you pleased with their prices, but you must buy one, so you throw the lesser of two evils into the shopping cart and try to get over it. 

This is simply proof that we are very entitled.  Only entitled and spoiled people complain about their choices.  There are literally millions of people abroad who would kill to have the choices that we have as Americans.

When you vote, it’s not just about – okay I’ll admit it – choosing the lesser of two evils.  It’s also about respecting and saluting our ancestors who gave their lives so that we could have the right to vote.  It’s about doing something very simple that will help preserve what they built. 

We may not love what we’ve got, but if you live in a democratic society where you don’t have to worry about coups or martial law and you have freedom of speech, you are blessed indeed.  Somebody paid the price so that you could luxuriate and incessantly complain about your choices.

Voting is not perfect, but it’s definitely the real deal. The cool thing about it is that it’s a quiet, low-key thing, but it SHOUTS like a TORNADO.

Once you’ve voted, you don’t need to get into debates with people.  You don’t need to say another single word to anyone.

When you voted, you spoke up … LOUD AND CLEAR.

 

 

Everyday People Have the Power



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