Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Voting, Duty, and Apathy: or, what is wrong with kids these days?

I voted yesterday. That should not come as a great shock to any of you, but perhaps it does. You see, when I voted I noticed that my voting location was rather empty. I talked to the volunteers there and heard that I was the 40th person they had seen all day (and I was there in the late afternoon). I took my "I Voted" sticker and shook my head in disgust.

I talked about this with my husband a little later (he also voted) and I remembered when I taught community college and used to urge my students to vote (those who could). I would say things about it being our duty as citizens and "don't vote, can't complain." My husband, as he always does when this topic is brought up, argued that he doesn't want uneducated voters (knowing that my students were often rather uninformed about events). I'd point out that I would urge them to find out about the issues, to find something they cared about, and vote about this issue at least. While my husband is not crazy about the idea of a one-issue voter, I figured that it would at least help the students get started.

We had a very low turnout at this election. Voter apathy is apparently very high.

I wonder if part of the problem is the constant spam--from the mail and phone calls. We would get 4 or 5 calls a day (since being on the no call list doesn't help for political calls). In addition, we'd have 5 or more pieces of propaganda in the mail.

I was, quite frankly, relieved when election day came along. I was so tired of being bothered by politicians who apparently don't feel like I can figure out issues on my own, with my own research and reading.

It is enough to turn anyone off of democracy. I haven't missed an election since I turned 18. It's an important duty, I think, in addition to being a right. However, I know why some people don't see it that way. It can be hard to find the time to do the research and sometimes it can be hard to care. I understand, really.

However, duties are not always easy but that doesn't change the need behind them. Life isn't always easy. I wish politics would be handled better--more idealistic, less partisan, and a whole lot less of spam. Whether this ever happens or not, however, all of us can legally vote, should vote. We need to participate in our society.

Let's not let apathy outweigh duty. Voting is important.

(Here ends my "get off my lawn" rant about what is wrong with the world/kids these days.....)

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