The Electoral Race: Why should we care?

The candidates for the 2012 elections are campaigning and straw polls have begun. People with big promises to fix the problems we the Americans are currently facing. Candidates with their own followings, preaching change and discussing the moral dilemmas they feel we are currently facing. We have them thrown in our faces, people we have to stand behind, ideals they share with us. All for a chance to change the way we live, the unemployment, our lives.

I watch them, much like the rest of the Americans. Similarly to most people, at least I hope most people, I was skeptical. Promises are one thing, but actions are another story. I can’t keep stories straight; I couldn’t even tell you what each person believes except that they’ll let us believe whatever we want.  I can tell you that everyone seems to think the way to vote is by that little letter next to their name, telling us that they are the same as us, and we need to vote for them for the sake of the party.

What about the party of America? Political lines seem like the only thing anyone knows, because we sure aren’t getting anything from our candidates. What about the people struggling, getting hurt by taxes more than corporations hoarding their money, claiming “look at the charity work we do. If we succeed, you do”? I’d like to know when people are going to start talking about something we care about, not “this is Obama’s fault” or “this was all Bush’s fault”.  People don’t like excuses and we don’t like finger-pointing.

I openly admit, I’ve never voted. I never had a candidate put in front of me I believed in. South Park had an episode, saying every election you just need to choose the lesser evil. Why should we choose a lesser evil, why can’t we just have a person stand in front of us and say “this is what I believe, take it or leave it”. Instead we get people who tip-toe around questions that matter, or if they do stand up and grow a pair, they take it back when their numbers drop. Why should I vote for someone who won’t tell us what they think, but would rather just do whatever to get re-elected? I would have more respect for the politician that stuck to their guns, regardless, than the one who won’t tell you anything and just attack people. “I  am the better candidate because I’m not that guy.” “I am the better choice because I’m a democrat/republican.”

The worst part is today everyone is stressing ideals, morals, and the constitution. Instead, we have people arguing about a health plan that’s “unconstitutional”, while gay marriage needs to become outlawed. Please note: most issues with gay marriage come from religion, which last I checked, constitutionally, we have to separate church and state. Interesting how that works?

What I’ve realized is that elections seem to come down to the ones who can make it until November sounding the least hypocritical. It’s amazing how few of America’s youth votes, isn’t it? I wouldn’t be surprised if that number lessens each year with newly of age jaded youth coming into the election year. They grow into adults just as jaded, or really just cynical of the system. What once existed merely as a “my one vote doesn’t matter” frame of mind, turned into a “what does this person even stand for and why should I bother” mind frame.

In college, I read a book entitled “On Political Equality” by Robert A. Dahl. In it, he describes a problem with our form of democracy. The fact is, our “democracy” allows us to pick someone, and pray that they do what we actually want them to do as our representatives. Practically speaking, we can’t have a true democracy, there are far too many of us. So maybe those people who feel that their “one vote” doesn’t count, can rest assured that it probably really doesn’t. That is until enough people decide, “my one vote doesn’t count” and you have all those people not participating in the electoral process. (On a side note: fantastic book, I recommend it.)

This all brings us back to the original question. Why should we care? I don’t buy into the ideals of “women fought for your right to vote; it’s your duty, blah blah”. I believe if you feel strongly enough about something, you should go for it. If you find a candidate worth it, go for it. But I believe that you shouldn’t be belittled for your mistrust in your candidates and your disgust with voting for someone you don’t feel strongly in. It’s their job to make you believe in them, but I think it’s better if you believe in something and not a person. The person will let you down and break the promises they swore on to make you check their name off in the poll. I think that the failure doesn’t fall in the person who fails to show up to the polls on Election Day, the failure belongs to the people who don’t spend enough time telling you facts to convince you to vote for them.

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