Whenever I receive or give a "VOTE OF CONFIDENCE" it always feels good to both parties. However, this Tuesday is a very important election on the national, state and local levels yet I feel NO CONFIDENCE on any level. What's more disappointing is that according to every single poll I am not alone, and in fact, sadly in the majority.
In a recent discussion I almost felt guilty defending the importance of voting, and at first, the other person had better reasons not to vote than I had to vote, which in my heart I knew was not right. Thankfully, it finally came to me and I swayed the other person to come to the same conclusion.
Even if you believe that your single vote does not matter, and this happens for various reasons, you still are obliged to cast a vote on very important grounds.
Low voter turnout does send a message but the message can be interpreted in very dangerous ways. In one sense it does show that the populace is disgruntled with the choices, but it also sends a message that we are apathetic and complacent. And as a dear college friend once reminded me: "Apathy is a political position."
We can never, in a truly enlightened society, let our representatives think we are complacent. It gives them far too much power over our system and as time goes by we have a powerful, but ineffective government, and an even more ineffective citizenry.
The lack of a strong citizenry comes about when we feel we are being governed rather than controlling our own destiny.
When we think of the citizenry as an underling to the government we are forgetting President Lincoln's most important words of his Gettysburg Address:
... That this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
However, to just vote for the sake of voting is not a satisfactory reason to do so. You must realize why your vote is important and how you can make it important if in some cases you see only the futility in it.
Here is the key -- You do not have to vote for everything on the ballot. Plus, you can also vote in protest. Let me sight some specific examples:
In this year's California Ballot, depending on the county or municipality, you will have between 12-20 candidates vying for everything from Governor to Comptroller to members of the Board of Equalization. Now, even if you know what the Board of Equalization does, and I assure you most of us do not, how can we possibly know which candidate is right for the position?
In fact, California is the only state that even has such a position. In most states it falls under the supervision of the Comptroller and it makes sense to know about the politics of one candidate, rather than the four we must choose from. The Comptroller, for the record, is basically the State's accountant.
By having the citizenry directly vote for the people under his/her control is the ultimate move away from a true republic. It puts the burden/blame on all the citizenry rather than the elected official. If we don't like how the Comptroller is doing we can vote him/her out the next go round, but if there are an additional 4-5 people whom we know nothing about, we actually weaken our position as citizens.
The same holds true for many of the propositions on the ballot. These, for the most part, should be decisions made by the people in office and if we do not like their decision we can vote them out over the next 2-4 years.
Who do we vote out if a particular proposition stinks, ourselves?
So in whatever State you reside and whatever "state" you are personally in, go to those polls this Tuesday. Vote only for what you really know about. Vote in protest if you do not like the party or individual currently in office. Vote for a person you truly do believe is a better candidate and even if you only check one box on the entire ballot, those in power will know you are not a complacent citizen because you made the effort to go to the polls.
We must reclaim our role as CITIZENS for that is where the true power must reside.
Have a great week and vote with pride, and most importantly, don't forget to turn your clocks back one hour this Saturday night.