No, this blog post isn’t about writing. Trust me, I am ever so slowly chugging away at that giant book I got from the library (I had to extend the due date, sigh). This post is about a right that far too many people take for granted in America- your right to vote. Sorry to any international viewers that may be out there (if you are out there- welcome, happy to have you). This post is entirely directed at the apathetic American public.
Listen, I know how bad this election feels. We are facing two of the most unpopular candidates America has had since polling began. Everyday, we turn on the news and are assaulted by another terrible thing this person said or that person did. I am not going to try to talk you into one over the other. My life isn’t your life and your priorities should be different than mine- whoever you think is the better of the choices out there, that is what you should go for.
However, as the self-proclaimed democratic role model for the rest of the world, America needs to get its act together. We trail most of the developed countries in the world when it comes to voter turnout. The most recent statistics are slightly different from the above cartoon, but the point is still valid. To read more about the intricacies about what it means to vote in America versus the rest of the world you should check out this Pew Research Center article.
But I Genuinely Despise Both Candidates for the Major Parties This Year!
For those of you out there who absolutely cannot choose (who are registered to vote), you have a fairly exciting option available to you. Is there a third party platform that appeals to you on any level? Vote for the candidates in that party. If a third party can get 5% of the national vote, they will be given federal funds for the next election to help grow their national voice. The two most well-known third parties are the Libertarian Party and the Green Party, but there are plenty more to choose from. Maybe your preferred third party won’t get 5%, but just the chance of having more viable options in the future makes it worth the effort to try, especially if you feel like there is no real choice this year.
Even if you don’t vote for the office of the president at all, your vote can have a huge influence on your state and county’s politics. Initiatives and office holders that will have an influence on your life will be on the ballot and you deserve to have your say.
It’s the Final Countdown!
In three days, this election will be in the history books and America will move forward from it. (The crowd goes wild. Ahhhhhh! Woo-hoo!) I know that so many people in this country feel powerless, voiceless to change circumstances that they feel like are beyond their control. However, that is the beauty of the Republic we live in.
Even after the election is over, if particular issues are important to you there are ways to help those issues receive greater visibility. Call your Representative and Senator concerning bills that are important to you, get involved in groups that are like-minded and will fight for the things that are important to you and write letters to the editor in your community. If you are feeling really ambitious you can get involved in your local city council or school-board. Volunteer at your local school or for non-profit organizations that provide services that you feel are important.
No matter what the political rancor is in Washington DC, remember that as an individual, your choices can be powerful and a force for good in the world, politically or otherwise. I will see you on the other side. Keep calm and keep reading.