In 2001, Secretary of State Sam Reed launched a program that encourages young people to vote. Dubbed as “Take Pride in America and Vote” the program included a tour through five Washington schools. Mr.
Reed says that young citizens should remember that they are fortunate enough to enjoy true freedom and democracy, and that they should remember their privileges and exercise their voting right (A Case for… 2001).
The program was created by Reed as a response to the low turnout of young people in the 2000 election.Secretary Reed laments that with greater participation, Washington’s young people could have made a difference (A Case for…
2001). More than Numbers Stephen J. Dubner and Steven D. Levitt writes that the odds that your vote will affect the outcome of any election is very slim.
Dubner and Levitt then asks, “why bother to vote? ” adding that voting is a waste of time. Fortunately, a New York Times Magazine informal poll shows that 48% of respondents disagree with Dubner and Levitt, while only 14% agreed that voting is a waste of time.The other 38% thinks it’s sometimes a waste, and sometimes it’s not. Rightly so.
Ulysses Currie writes that the voting process is the “heart and soul” of representative government. It is through voting that one can make their voice heard. Currie also puts in statistics that makes the saying every vote counts literally true. Currie cites JFK’s winning the presidency by an equivalent of just one vote per precint, as well as a lot of state and local elections that have been determined by one vote (Currie, 2006).
Daily Lobo’s editorial during the 2001 New Mexico mayoralty elections says that if one doesn’t vote, one loses the right to complain and ignores one of the most substantial civil liberties one should enjoy. The New York Times published a letter to the editor noting the same. The letter-writer, Max Greis, writes that people who have no participation in the political system, or those who don’t vote, condemn themselves to living under a bad government. Greis argues that the only way to get quality people as leaders is to vote for them (Greis, 2001).
Let’s veer away from the guilt-inducing propaganda that expounds on your duty as an American citizen to vote. Let’s try and put some obscure and hard-to-define concept like patriotism and nationalism to rest. Let’s not compare our liberties to those of some far-flung country where citizens take to the streets just so they could be heard. Let’s focus on the facts.
The very foundation of our democracy lies in it being a government by the people, for the people and of the people. The only way to achieve that is through voting. Currie is right, each vote counts.Each vote carries with it our voices.
Each vote would determine what you as a citizen wants for himself, his community and his country. And for most of us, voting is the only active participation that we have in choosing our leaders and government. Greis is right. The only way to get quality leaders is to vote them into office.
One would lose their right to complain if some corrupt and immoral knucklehead gets into office and ruins everything, because he didn’t even go out and try to prevent the said knucklehead from getting elected in the first place.However, for me, the act of voting does not begin and end at the voting precinct or the voting booth. To effectively vote, one has to be informed with the options presented before him. One would have to get into discussions, to learn about each candidate’s platform, get involved.
And here, for me, lies the real importance of voting – getting involved and making sound decisions, knowing that one’s action can change the future.
- A Case for Patriotism: Secretary of State Pushes Youth Vote Campaign. (2001). Retrieved14 April 2008. http://www.secstate.wa.gov/office/osos_news. aspx?i=cCgsNUWIZpnnqJ1nPgffog%3D%3D>Currie, Ulysses. (2006). It is our duty to vote on Nov. 7.
- Gazette.Net. Retrieved 14 April 2008 <http://www.gazette.net/stories/110106/montope170528_31954.shtml>Dubner, Stephen J. and Levitt, Steven D. (2005).
- Why Vote? New York Times. Retrieved 14April 2008. <http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/06/magazine/06freak.html?_r=1&oref=slogin>Greis, Max. (2001).
- A Duty to Vote. New York Times Letter to the Editor. Retrieved14 April 2008. <http://query. nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B03E4DC1730F931A15755C0A9679C8B63>Voting is best way to show patriotism. Daily Lobo.
- Retrieved 14 April 2008.<http://media.www.dailylobo.com/media/storage/paper344/news/2001/10/02/Opinion/Editorial.
- Voting.Is.Best.Way.To.Show.Patriotism-109422. shtml>Web Pulse: Is Voting a Waste of Time? New York Times. Retrieved 14 April 2008 <http://www.nytimes.com/ezpoll/20051106mag-voting_results.html>