Yesterday Kurt and I sat down and filled out our absentee ballots.
(Trust me, it was not easy getting this shot. DSLRs are not meant for right-handed people wanting to take a photo of their laps. I had to grasp the camera in my left hand and stretch my forefinger out to reach the shutter button. The things I do for you people!)
What amuses me is the difference in the ballots. I’m not talking about what’s actually on the ballot; obviously that is different for every state because you’re not just voting for President. I voted on three initiatives, several state positions, and innumerable county positions. What I’m talking about is the difference in how you actually make your vote known.
As you can see above, the Washington state absentee ballot features arrows with a blank space in the middle. What you are supposed to do is draw a line to complete the arrow. I usually color the entire space in, simply because my OCD brain cannot simply draw a line. It looks so… messy.
Kurt’s Arizona ballot was different. He got to simply bubble in his choice, much like you did on standardized tests back in high school. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find his voter’s pamphlet, if indeed Arizona even bothered to send us one for the county elections, so he was a little bit lost. But he tried his best!
And I’m telling you, if Kurt has gotten interested enough in politics to vote, there is no excuse for the rest of you not to vote.
I am serious. I do not want to hear any excuse at all why you do not vote because there is no excuse. There is not a good enough reason to sit back and let everyone else make the decisions for you. The rationale that “at least I don’t complain about politics later!” doesn’t hold water. It just shows your ignorance and your lack of understanding of how important voting really is. If you are at least 18 years old and you are not a felon, you should vote. End of story.
I know I’m coming across as very harsh. But this country was founded as a democracy. If you don’t vote, you are letting others make the decisions for you — and you begin to kill the whole purpose of democracy.
People in other countries who don’t have the right to vote would turn out in droves to make their voices heard. People will wait in line all day long to cast their ballots. People show off their ink-stained finger proudly to prove they have voted.
(Not my photo; I stole this one)
And we Americans can’t be bothered to wear our little “I voted” sticker after we leave the polls??? Hell, we can’t even be bothered to get off our lazy asses to get to the polling place to begin with!
My county back in Washington state has gone to all-mail voting. There are no polling places to go on Election Day. You can drop off your ballot at a few local places on Election Day if you don’t feel like mailing it in, but that’s as close as you get. Instead, we mail in our ballots because it’s easier than going to the poll before or after work. It’s too hard, it’s too much work. We’d rather come straight home and watch reality tv instead.
Do you remember reading about the Revolutionary War? Men died on those battlefields to free us from the tyranny of British rule (sorry, Becca). We were being taxed harshly but had no representation — NO VOTE — in Parliament. And so we fought a war in which men died to form the nation we have now, in which we can vote for whomever we’d like to in every single election.
But you’d much rather vote for “American Idol” instead. Do you really think your vote matters more for “American Idol” than it does for the President of the United States of America? We have the power to choose the next leader of the free world, but instead we’d rather focus on whether David Cook or David Archuleta should get a recording contract.
Are you freakin’ kidding me? Why are we so apathetic? We all just say, “Oh, my vote doesn’t matter.” Have the last two elections not taught you a damn thing?? President Bush won the last two elections by the slimmest of margins. Had more people gotten off their duff and cared about the last election, we could have had President Kerry instead, and maybe the last four years would have been drastically different from what they have been.
I hear a lot, “Politicians promise us the moon just so they’ll get elected, and then they don’t actually get anything done!” Of course, the politicians promise us all kinds of things. It’s called “getting elected.” But what you have to do is use your critical thinking skills to read between the lines and figure out which of the politicians is really going to effect change. Then that is the person who gets your vote.
You just don’t get how important this is, do you? People kept quiet in Germany in the 1930s, and that allowed Hitler to rise to power and do all kinds of horrific things. There are those that see President Bush’s administration as not all that much better, and he was elected because not enough people could be dragged off their couch to CARE, to get out there and do their civic duty and VOTE.
Don’t tell me you have performed your civic duty in other ways. There is no substitution for voting; nothing replaces your civic duty when it comes to voting. This is serious stuff, folks! You can’t sit there on your couch, all apathetic, and not do anything about the elections!
Honestly, I do not care who you vote for. Well, hang on — please do not vote for Mickey Mouse. Arizona even specifies that if you do not vote for people who are on the ballot or are approved write-in candidates, your ballot will be thrown out and your vote will not count. At that point, you have wasted your vote. Wikipedia states there are fourteen parties who have put forth presidential candidates (the list is HERE); you can choose the Libertarian Party, the Socialist Party, the Green Party, the Reform Party, even the Boston Tea Party. I am sure one of those fourteen parties will serve you well; PICK ONE.
So get out there. VOTE. Make your voice heard. It is seriously that important.