“The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison [the people] because they are different from other [people].” — Lyndon B. Johnson
By Terrah Baker
I’m experiencing a voting conundrum. I think many other people are, too. U.S. citizens everywhere are scrapping with decisions like whether or not to vote for a third party or one of the main two party candidates, or whether or not to even vote.
Frankly, their reasoning sometimes make sense, and its making me question my morals on voting. Earlier this election year, I told myself I would never again let the fallacy of “wasting my vote” by supporting a third party candidate make my decision on who to vote for. But then again, there’s something to be said for a guy who already has the schedule down and is on his last term — meaning he’s not worried about reelection. These are the hard decisions I feel I’ll have to make.
But, there’s one thing I’ve never had to question, and that’s whether or not to vote. Never once has the argument that “my vote doesn’t count, anyway,” or “I’m making a statement by not voting,” wrung true in my head. Because the truth is, even if the election is rigged, or the president is pre-picked by a secret society in Washington, in the end, voting shows that we have active citizens, prepared to make an effort to change the system. To politicians and corporations looking to gain control, that’s a powerful statement.
And ultimately, the electoral college and crooked politicians are less likely to assume they can take control or make decisions in their own favor if their number of constituents — or that of their opponents — is large and showing they care.
My reasoning is also influenced by the reality that only white men who owned “real property” were allowed to vote in the U.S. at one time. What would the suffragists have to say if I told them I wasn’t voting because it was an easier point to make than at least going and writing in a neighbor or friend for president.
I want to make it clear that I’m not trying to make your voting decisions for you, or tell you that boycotting the polling booths isn’t a valid statement — although I guess at least, I’m implying it. It’s just that my mind won’t allow me to believe inactivity can lead to positive change.
With that said, get out and vote this election and voting cycle to show our government that we care what happens, we have things to say and we won’t stand by as they make our decisions for us.