Oh the bittersweet results of the midterm election.
I’m sitting here feeling very disappointed this morning. You see, as an eco-friendly, student, union member, educator, and woman, my guy didn’t win the race for Governor. I was so hopeful there would be a change, but it seems it will be four more years of the same (hopefully no worse).
But a pro-environment Constitutional Amendment passed, and an Amendment to change the way judges are appointed didn’t (a good thing, in my opinion), so it’s not all bad.
With this voting cycle, I’m trying to hold onto that.
In the Facebook world, there’s talk about why people vote against their own interests. Why would people vote a confirmed crook into office … again? Obviously those people must be stupid. Perhaps “they” shouldn’t be allowed to vote.
I have the opposite opinion. This election was won and lost by those who didn’t vote.
When you talk to people in day-to-day life, there is a lot of consensus about the woes of the world. We need clean air and water. We need our kids to be educated, without burdening them with debt. We need to support our teachers so they can educate our kids. We need access to health care that won’t cause us to go bankrupt. We need freedom, tempered by safety. When you hear the same concerns over and again, the turnout of any given election should be obvious.
But most people don’t vote. Even most who register to vote don’t vote!
Ahhh, but what if they did? What if everyone voted? Perhaps I’m overly optimistic, but I really do think we would see real change. We would start to hear the voices of real people. We would start to see what all of the people really want.
So why don’t people vote? I think it’s complicated.
- For some, they think their vote won’t count. Theirs is just one voice among so many others. I think these people feel powerless, when in fact their vote carries so much power! What those people don’t realize is that there are others whose voices form harmonies with theirs, and strengthen it. Vote, vote, vote!
- For some, I think they don’t want to just choose between the lesser of evils. I’m there with them on this, and yet I’d rather lend my voice to the lesser demon than let my silence support the devil. Vote, vote, vote!
- For some, I think they think they aren’t educated enough about the candidates/issues. Perhaps they even think they aren’t smart enough to vote. Pooey, I say! People know what they think is right, and it is so easy to educate yourself about anything these days. Lower income people might not have as easy access to the internet, but there are free computers in libraries. Newspapers and magazines put out voter guides. There are many resources to quickly educate yourself enough to make a choice. Vote, vote, vote!
- Finally, some have logistical reasons for not voting. Logisitics are a very real problem for someone who lack a car or baby sitters or even the ability to move their own bodies. However, in Florida, it is very easy to vote by mail. I’ve enrolled myself to receive mail-in ballots for every election, so sometimes I receive a ballot even when I don’t know an election is going on! Some states may have more restrictive rules about voting, so in those cases, I hope that changes. I don’t understand the excuses of “I don’t have enough time,” or “I can’t get to the polling station” in Florida anyway…
Those are some of my hypotheses. From a quick Google search, it seems that they aren’t too far off the mark.
What can we do to change things? Well, register to vote if you aren’t already. Then ask your friends, family, relatives, people on the street to register to vote. Then go vote! Vote by mail, early vote, vote in person! Get fired up about making your voice heard!!
There’s a Presidential election in two years. There will be a number lower-level elections leading up to that. Vote in them! If you are able, have your ballots sent to you automatically. Make it easy on yourself. Get a festive group together to go to the polls. Vote, vote, vote!
If think you can’t change things, you are wrong. You vote both with your ballot and with your silence. Make sure your voice is accurately heard, and vote!!
*I wish I had been as fired up about voting before the election as I am now. Perhaps I would have written this post earlier and inspired more people to vote. You can be sure I’ll be more active in the future…