It is so disappointing how disinterested Americans are in our own political system. Of the recognized nations that hold elections to choose their leaders, the United States of America ranks 120th in voter turnout. 120th! That number is so embarrassingly beyond words, I cannot accurately describe how sad it is, but I am going to try.
We go to war. Often. Spreading democracy, setting up new governments, giving people the same freedoms we have. People die. Our men and women. Their solders. Civilians. More pain, death, and destruction than most of us could ever imagine, just for the right to go cast a ballot. Yet in America, 64% of us just sit at home, with no other excuse than we would rather not be bothered.
How hypocritical is that? Even if you do not believe in spreading democracy through war, campaign and vote for people who feel the way you do! In politics, of all things, apathy is a lame excuse not to take action. If you cannot trouble yourself to spend 15 minutes in an early voting polling station, or register to vote by mail from home, you are figuratively urinating on the graves of thousands of men and women who died after taking an oath to defend you at all cost.
Sometimes the system sucks. Florida’s Amendment 2 failed and that was a very important issue for me. It happens, but when it does we cannot just grab our ball and go home. Being politically active doesn’t (have to) stop at the voting booth. Call, write, and visit your representatives. The ones you voted for and the ones you didn’t, they represent you all the same.
Confidence in our government is at historic lows, as is voter turnout. You cannot help but think the two are connected. Apathetic bosses (us) create apathetic employees (the government). Let them know, regularly, that they’re being held accountable and I bet they’ll do a better job. If not, we let them go. I am glad we put some of bad apples in the compost heap last week, but it is going to take a lot more of us to finish the job and make this government something we are proud of again.