November’s election told us that, when motivated, the American public can still be moved to care about our failing political system.
Whatever the reason you voted, the important thing was that you did. Great job!
But the question remains – “Why did you vote?”
Having a meaningful vote is a unique thing in today’s world. Many countries have elections, but not nearly as many actually allow the people to cast a meaningful vote. In those latter places it’s basically “vote for who we say, or else.”
And so you may understand why I get a little frustrated when I see people not really using their voting privilege effectively.
Let me explain…
During The Nov. 6 balloting everyone was posting pictures of their “I voted” button on social media. But in the month since several made the distinction of saying that they had voted straight down party lines. “My ballot was so red it looked like it was bleeding” said one. “My ballot was as blue as Paul Bunyon’s ox” came another.
It was clear from their statements that they weren’t really interested in the best person for the job. Rather, it appears they’ve decided that it’s easier to just drink the party Kool Aid than actually do their homework that they so desperately avoided in grade school.
Simply put – If you just voted a color, then you really don’t understand what voting is all about.
The Founding Fathers of our country did not mean for men of low character and ill gotten means to be in leadership. But no matter how much they may have wanted to avoid that, there was only one way to ever make that happen. That way was to trust us.
Yeah, I know … a tenuous decision at best.
It’s like trusting your three-year-old to only eat one of his favorite cookies in the jar when you aren’t watching.
Or to expect your dog won’t lick the bowl clean of the chocolate pudding, even though you know it’s bad for them.
That trust means that we, as citizens of the greatest nation on this planet, must take more responsibility in how we exercise our right to vote.
We must do the dreaded ‘H’ word (shhh … homework) and really research each candidate and every issue.
It means using multiple resources, talking with friends and families and really looking beyond the talking points for what’s true and real.
It means not just listening to the rhetoric spewed by anyone or any group. It means looking past all that to determine what’s really going on and not just reacting to whatever pole someone pokes you with.
Now understand me, there is nothing wrong with voting for candidates that are all from the same party if – AND ONLY IF – you’ve really done the research and have concluded that they are the best people for the job.
And I’m not picking on either side, Republican or Democrat, because both were as guilty as sin the last few election cycles.
But in our last election locally, Granite County voted for a candidate that never campaigned. Not pone flier. Not one speech. Not one forum. Not even one irritating spam in your inbox.
They did absolutely nothing but rely on people voting for an ‘R’ next to their name.
That’s not voting, that’s trying to take advantage of a lack of choices.
Granite County has suffered that on previous ballots, and it’s gotten us nowhere.
In two years we’ll have another chance to vote on more local offices and I’d encourage you to do the homework when voting. You’re privilege to cast a ballot for our local and national leadership is a rare commodity, don’t waste it.
Not doing so and just voting like some lemming headed for cliff does not help our democracy. It weakens it and makes us susceptible to would-be tyrants and demagogues. It creates a country that is not nearly as strong as it appears to be.
It takes away the power from the one true possessor of it – you – the people.