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There Is No Excuse For Inaction

October 10, 2008

In general, I refuse to post anything that comes from an emotional perspective here. This is not to suggest that I am free from such feelings. But before posting to this blog, I attempt to remove emotion from the equation and inspect only the supported facts. There are enough blogs that rant, the world doesn’t need another. But there is one issue about which I can no longer set aside emotion. It’s simply too important to me. So I’m making an exception to my own policies, and ranting about an issue. That issue is inaction.

I’ve noticed lately that a lot of people I speak with have become so disheartened and disenfranchised by the current state of politics in this country that they use it to validate their inaction. The usual logic goes something like this:

“Politicians are all corrupt. They’ve found ways of making sure the interests that are currently vested in the system stay in power. My vote doesn’t really matter. So why should I even try?”

To this, I must cry…BS. Nothing scares politicians more than the thought that people might actually exercise their rights and vote. Both parties are scared by this. Most of the officials in power are there because they are able to motivate a small group of supporters to vote for them. This number is generally enough, because they know that most people simply don’t care enough to turn out on election day. They’re happy with this, because it means they can continue to control the process. They predict the number of people who will turn out to vote in an election, and based off of these numbers, they predict how many supporters they will need to get to the polls in order to win. When people vote en masse, these predictions begin to lose validity. And an unpredictable election is every politicians worst nightmare.

The system of democracy in America relies on checks and balances. The reason the founding fathers gave the electorate the right to vote was because we are part of these checks, and it is our responsibility to keep things in balance. By allowing ourselves to become so disheartened that we simply don’t vote, we have let them win. Elected officials are supposed to face the fear of losing their jobs every few years. It is the greatest weapon given to us as citizens to keep them honest and make sure they are working in our best interests.

If you’re not already registered, register to vote. And then do it. In large numbers. At every election. This means not just the one that comes up every 4 years, when the eyes of the media and the interest of the country turns to the election process. The office of President is not the most important, nor is it the most powerful. The truth is, no one branch of government holds the “most” power. The constitution was designed as such. This means every election, no matter how large or small, matters. Whether it is for the local schoolboard or the House of Representatives, politicians take notice when people turn out in droves to voice their opinion on a ballet.

The recent economic events offer us some of the greatest proof that it is time we scared our elected officials again. They have become complacent, sitting in the jacuzzi that is the current political system. It’s time we ratchet up the thermostat, and make the water boil. It has been said that the pen is mightier than the sword. In this case, the voters are mightier than the politicians. We just need to remind them of this more often.

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