So You Say You Won’t Vote? Here’s Why We All ShouldPosted by Deb Lea Benefiel on October 18, 2014
During virtually every election cycle, people are heard saying “I’m not voting.” Yet, their reasons are usually based on fairly inane excuses. Let’s take a look back at history and how we came to have the right to vote in the first place. Perhaps some of the non-voting population simply needs a refresher in our nation’s history. It may remind all of us about how and why our country came to be the greatest in the world.
The Mayflower landed in Massachusetts on November 21, 1620. The Pilgrims came to the European colony to escape religious persecution and economic hardship. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
The next part of history is, of course, the establishment of a new country with individual rights. Our forefathers wrote documents to insure these rights to be inalienable, the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights which is part of the Constitution of the United States of America. Since the formation of our country, there have been thirteen wars to defend these rights. The number of service members who either died or were permanently disabled as a result is quite sobering. These statistics don’t even include the previous two years.
The right to vote has been both hard fought and costly, in terms of currency and, more importantly, human lives. For some, though, the right to vote became a waiting game. Black Americans did not have the right to vote until 1870 with the addition of the 15th Amendment to the Constitution. They were still denied the right by some states until the Voting Rights Act was signed into law on August 6, 1965, a nearly 100 year wait. Women, meanwhile, didn’t gain the right to vote until August 18, 1920 with the ratification of the 19th Amendment.
With all the history attached to just one single right, it really is the height of hypocrisy for anyone that doesn’t exercise that right to complain about the state of our great nation right now or how our local governments are failing. With today’s methods for voting, standing in line may take 15 minutes out of your day. Young children are allowed in polling places, so that’s no excuse either. In many places polls are open for as many as twelve and sometimes a full fourteen hours. If none of these options work, absentee ballots are available to anyone.
The apex of this hypocrisy has to be defined as someone who refuses to vote because their personal favorite did not make the ballot. WHAT?? That statement may sum up what is wrong with this country! It seems we live in an “all about me” society. No candidate will ever meet every voter’s criteria. The most anyone can do is to vote for the person whose ideals most closely align with their own. It may be necessary to become involved with the candidate you like. What better way to help get their message out and fund raise than by becoming a part of their campaign!
Some food for thought: If every registered Republican had gone to the polls and voted in November of 2012, Mitt Romney would have, without a doubt, been elected President. This is an undeniable fact. Instead, because “their guy” wasn’t nominated, they stayed home. Did that attitude help or hinder the state of our Nation?
There is a lesson to be learned. Do not let your ego keep you from exercising the right to vote. Too many people have either given their lives or left part of themselves on the battlefield to insure that right. It’s not too late. You have more than two weeks until election day; plenty of time to get out there and vote!!
Deb Lea Benefiel
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