As the Presidential elections draw closer here in the US, I have been having conversations with a number of people who do not vote and in many cases have no intention of voting. I found this attitude baffling at first, but have grown to understand that it comes from a lack of understanding of the true cost of this attitude.
For example I was talking to a young man who I have known for many years and he revealed that he had no interest in voting. He did not think it made a difference. I quoted Mark Twain by saying “The man that does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read”. I said to him that I found that statement to be profound and felt that by the same token the man that does not vote has no rights beyond the man who lives in a society that does not let him vote. In this way not voting does a disservice to all those who have fought and died to guarentee that right for US citizens.
To the assertion by my young friend that voting does not make a difference I have the following warning. Our political system is ever more cynical. This means that those in power cater to those that can give and take their power and that means blocks of “likely voters”. If you belong to a demographic that is not seen as likely voters then you can expect your views on your issues to be ignored at best and at worst for the tides of legislation to actively work against your wants and needs. The only cure for this is to vote regularly for equality starts with the vote.
As a war veteran of the US Army, I feel that voting is a sacred duty that all citizens are bound to fulfill and the only greater sin against our democracy than not voting is hindering the ability of a citizen to vote. I hope my words here have motivated some to vote and others to abandon their support of any measures that limit participation in voting in any way.