“One of the penalties for not voting is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”
Plato said that (or something like it) more than 2,000 years ago.
(I have not used Plato’s words to disparage any of our current elected officials.)
I will, however, use those words to point a finger of shame at the majority of those eligible to vote in the United States. We have an abysmal record for voter turnout. Fewer than 45% of registered voters turned out in the 2014 mid-term elections. And we know that not every eligible person is registered. And there’s no excuse for it.
Where I live (Peachtree City, Georgia), the County Election people have arranged for two weeks of early voting at the Peachtree City library, as well as the Tyrone Town Hall and the Elections Office in Fayetteville. Voters from any precinct may vote at these locations during this early voting. The lines are usually considerably shorter than on Election Day, itself. It takes only a moment to present your drivers license to the poll workers, sign a form, and press a few buttons on a voting machine. It’s not rocket science. (Deciding who to vote for is, however, a little more difficult.)
Every year I hear the same excuses for not voting.
Number One Excuse: “My vote doesn’t matter.” My answer to that, in technical language, is, “crap.” Yes, few if any elections have been won by a single vote. However, your vote combined with the votes of others who think as you do can swing an election.
Number Two Excuse: “I don’t know anything about the candidates/issues.” In technical language, my answer to that is, “No excuse.” There have been many and adequate opportunities to learn about the issues and about the candidates and what they stand for. There is still time. Your local election people have already published sample ballots. Check your local newspaper for information on candidate forums. Start Googling candidates’ names. Information on some candidates is scant; and candidates’ web sites and Facebook pages are under their control. Read with caution.
This year (2016) we have an additional excuse: “I don’t want to vote for either of those clowns.” I hear Trump described as a loose cannon; Clinton described as a crook.” Can you say ad hominim? That’s the name for an attack on a person rather than on their ideas or on what they stand for.
I found it difficult to watch the second un-presidential, presidential debate. Both candidates’ behavior disgusted me. However, I’m going to go back to YouTube and watch it again, slowly, to look for the candidates’ ideas and what they stand for. (At least, what they want me to believe they stand for.) I’m also going to continue to read each day as many news sources as I can. If I cannot find the truth that way, at least I may be able to surround it. I recommend watching the primary US news source that does not promote your candidate (that is, if you are a Trump fan, watch a little CNN; if you are a Clinton fan, watch a little FOX). Consider also reading other sources, available on the internet, including BBC, Al Jazeera, Reuters, the Christian Science Monitor, AP, telegraph.co.uk, upi.com, the Drudge Report, Huffington Post, and Politico. (Most of these lean toward one candidate and away from the other, at least as far as it appears to me. Your goal is to sift through the information and search for the truth.)
There are apocryphal stories that the word, “idiot” comes from the Greek and was used to described a person not involved in the essential political processes of their times. Whether true or not, it is “well told.”
[For readers in Fayette County, Georgia, go to www.TheCitizen.com and look for articles reporting on candidate forums, and for their letters to the editor. Go to http://www.fayettecountyga.gov/elections/sample_ballots.htm, download the sample ballot.]
Registered Curmudgeon, scientist, skeptic, humanist, and writer.