I have been thinking quite a bit about voting — both the general act of voting, and the specific races and measures that are on my ballot.
I don’t understand why people don’t vote. Oh, I know the reasons they give, but I don’t really accept any of those as being truly legitimate. There’s always some argument or another that someone will put forth. I don’t really care to address any of them, since they have been thoroughly debunked by many before me. Show me almost any argument against voting, I can show you why it’s still better to vote. I’m more interested in discussing why it is important to vote on a moral level. The act of voting is one of many, many things we take for granted in our modern lifestyle. And we are suffering for it.
Voting is the only way we, as a community — be it a neighborhood, city, county, state or nation — can really communicate. It’s like a conversation with all the other members of our community about what we feel is important to the future of us all. We won’t all agree. We won’t all win. And, frankly, far too often, the choices we have to make aren’t ideal. But they are our choices. It is our future we are voting on. It is our responsibility as citizens to be a part of the process.
If voting is our civic duty, then I suggest that not voting is an act of civic neglect. It’s as though the non-voter went around to everyone he met and told them, “I don’t care about you. I don’t care about our town. I don’t care about your kids. I don’t care about how we are taxed or how our taxes are used. I don’t care about the environment or the economy. I don’t care what happens to anyone around me. I don’t care about anything that is important to anyone else.” Not voting, for whatever reason, is a purely selfish act.
And I have very little respect for selfish people.