As Election Day nears, I have become particularly annoyed with a certain group of citizens. These people are not just republicans or democrats, maybe neither. They are people that are not necessarily persuadable, but they may be completely persuadable. They are people who are disengaged and lacking an understanding.
There is a certain portion of the population that chooses not to vote, who does not care about government or politics. Rather, these people say things like, “I don’t like politics” or “I don’t vote because it doesn’t matter.”
These people are the people who make things more difficult than they should be. Sure, it is within anyone’s rights to choose whether or not to vote. But, it’s disgraceful. The argument that one does not like politics or misunderstands the value of voting holds no weight. Politics, government, and laws are in every part of every day – the price of gas, what’s aired on TV, and what nutritional value labels are placed on food — all have a political or governmental value behind them. Yet, the argument that some just don’t care or their vote doesn’t matter still holds true for a large portion of the US. Some of these people complain about the price of clothes or lose their job to another country or use government aide for their college education. Yet, they do not care to cast their vote.
In 1919 a key vote was cast in the United State Senate. That year, an amendment to the Constitution had been placed before Congress that would allow women the right to vote. Controversial for many reasons, it took decades for women to gain traction on the issue – voting is power, a right held by men. So, when the time came, women lined the streets and sidewalks because for the first time they had a voice in the direction of their country.
Similarly in 1965, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act that outlawed the suppression of voting, specifically addressing racial discrimination. In a clear response to the Civil Rights Movement, the Voting Rights Act proved to be the open door for many black Americans to cast their first vote. Again, streets and sidewalks were lined with soon-to-be first time voters.
Today’s world is much different. Many people do not fight for these basic, yet essential rights. Many states, including Colorado, have been faced with new voting restrictions or guidelines. In Colorado, if you did not vote in 2010, your registration is considered inactive – meaning you have to renew your registration in order to cast a valid vote this year. Seems simple, but it’s a form of suppression. Many people who want to vote and expect to vote will not be able this year because of laws like these.
Yet, there are those who choose not to vote because of ignorance.
It is disgraceful not to vote because of what it represents. Not voting is a slap in the face to all those people who fought for the right to vote. Choosing not to vote is choosing silence over progress. We are a country built on sacrifice, strength in character, and compromising opinions. When one chooses not to vote, it tosses away one of simplest forms of freedom – your voice.