5 Reasons Why You Should Vote

Vote buttonI spent a lot of time bashing our political system in my last post. The truth is that no system is perfect and ours is no different. Regardless of our flaws, we are so privileged to live in a country where we have the right to vote. As far as I’m concerned, suffrage is such a hard earned right, that is not just a right, it’s an obligation. Each and every one of us needs to make our choices known and here are the reasons why.

  1. The right to vote is one of the greatest freedoms we have as Americans. Put simply, the inability to influence how we are governed through the election of representatives was one of the motivations for the American Revolution. Yes, there is corruption that needs to be rooted out, but for the most part we as Americans have the right to cast our votes in an election that is relatively tamper free and straightforward.  If you are black and/or female, of which I am both, the right to vote is that much more important. People fought hard for a right that so many of us take for granted. If you are 18 years old you are old enough to do your research and make a decision on who our leaders should be.
  2. Although the presidential election is usually the hot ticket item, many people may feel like their votes have no voice, especially in a state with a strong party ties. But elections are about so much more than the presidential election. There are tons of other candidates and issues on the ballot where your voice matters. As close as some of these races can be, our collective voices really do count when it comes to these candidates and initiatives.
  3. It doesn’t matter who you vote for, Democrat, Republican, or Roseanne Barr, voting gives you a voice not only now but for the future. It gives you the power to shape your country and your community.
  4. If you don’t vote, don’t bitch about­­ how you are represented in your nation, state or locality. Maybe that’s a little harsh, but how can you truly express frustration at an elected official that you neither supported nor opposed. Maybe this point is somewhat meaningless, because we’re all going to complain about whatever we want to complain about, but it seems that the amount of complaints about our system far outweigh the number of people who participate.
  5. Having the right to note vote, should make you that much more appreciative of the country we live in. Yes, that may sound odd, but there are actually countries that have compulsory voting. We are privileged to have the right to choose whether or not to vote, and while not voting may make sense for some, it goes against the very meaning of what being American is.

Although this list may be shorter, it’s no less important than the last. The ability to vote is a precious gift. The ability to vote is one of the principals the founding fathers fought for along with many other who have fought for the right to vote since then. As someone who wouldn’t have had the right to vote had I been born in another time, it’s that much more precious to me. As citizens we all need to become educated on the issues and take a stand by voting. It’s one of the only voices we have to make our thoughts known in the political system.

7 Reasons Why I Hate Politics

Democrats vs. RepublicansI can still remember my 9th grade civics teacher teaching one of the first classes of the year. He described politics as the following – “poli” means many and “tics” are bloodsuckers, so politics means many bloodsuckers. Even though I know the statement was partly in jest, that lecture from over 20 years ago still bears a resemblance to the truth.

Although politics are a constant in life, I always feel like the presidential election brings out the worst in politics. I follow the political issues at hand, so that I can make informed decisions, but I really hate talking or thinking about it too much. The bottom line is that although I deal with it – I hate politics. Here are several of my reasons why.

  1. All politicians lie. Yes, I said all. Maybe there’s some politician out there in the middle of a sweet little town in the middle of nowhere who really does tell the truth, but all of the major politicians lie, at least some of the time. Don’t believe me? Check out Politifact for a rundown of the truthfulness of what some of our candidates say. Maybe it’s their advisors, maybe it’s them, but the fact is it’s often hard to know without thorough investigation what is true and what’s not. Don’t believe it just because you heard it.
  2. There is a ridiculous, ridiculous, amount of money spent during the presidential campaign. This year sources have ranged between $2-6 billion. Really? What is this money really doing other than buying votes? Who really benefits? This is money that could be better spent on our economy, on the poor, on education, rather than thrown down the drain for political campaigns that aren’t even always based on truth.
  3. I can’t stand the negative tone of so many of the ads on the air. Yes, some amount of attention needs to be paid to the other party and what they’re bringing to the table, but how about focusing on your own platform? Let me judge for myself how bad the other guy is, just tell me why I should get behind you.
  4. A two-party system simply is not enough to represent all of the thoughts and beliefs of a country as large and diverse as the United States. Yet, if you don’t conform to one of these two parties, you only have a small amount of hope to win a major political position, and a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the presidency. The political systems in place are too strong for anything else.
  5. Politics are so divisive. Okay, so on one hand I’m saying we need more division, more parties, and on the other I’m saying politics are too divisive. Politics are too divisive in the sense that people seem to pick their party, and then decide that everything else anyone else says must be wrong. They vote on their party lines, and never make a decision on their own. It feels like it’s almost impossible to work together on anything. Politicians should work together towards the needs of all Americans, not just the members of one political party. After all, our system is one of majority rule, and neither party holds a true majority of Americans.
  6. Politics cause cyclical changes in all of society – One day in an economics class I asked my professor why we have so many ups and downs in the economy if we have so many people studying it and trying to make it owrk. His one word answer was “politics.” Every time a president changes, everything changes and we start from scratch. Issues that lag get attributed to the next person who takes office. How can we ever get ahead if we constantly have to start from scratch?
  7. The Electoral College needs to be put to rest. Every person’s vote should count for a presidential election. The republican voice in California should count as much as the Democratic vote in Texas. No election made that more obvious than the Gore-Bush election. The American people as a whole should have the right to choose the president, not proxy that collectively throws votes into a bucket.

So you’d probably think if I hate so much of politics, I could care less if people actually take part in our political system, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. My next post will talk about why each and every American of voting age should make their way to the voting booths or mail in their ballot to make their voice heard.

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