I did not vote on November 2. I’ve heard it said that not voting is “un-American.” I beg to differ. The last time I voted, I put an unseasoned junior senator into the most important office in the United States government. Suffice it to say, I’m now a bit gun-shy.
I was raised a relative liberal. While my family would never publicly proclaim our shared views, it was just always there. We generally voted for the Democrat in an election because “the Republican candidate is just so stupid.”
I was also raised to be a free thinker — not something typically present in a liberal family, where the thinking is done for you already. I would listen to my family discuss current politics and wonder about the validity of their opinions, although since I’m a shy person I typically didn’t voice my disagreement or confusion.
In the last two years following one of the most historic elections in a great while, I have learned quite a bit. I met a conservative (strike up menacing music). However, rather than try to beat his ideals into me, he explained the conservative platforms. I could voice my questions and opinions, and he would field them and explain the answers to me so I could make the decision for myself. Rather than having CNN telling me what to think, I had found a reliable source for information to assist in making an educated choice.
I have had my eyes opened.
I have been taught to think about politics and to voice my opinion. I now look for the good candidate, one who will actually be for the people and not just for themselves or for lobbyists. I am able to see both sides, rather than just the liberal spin. And thankfully, I no longer look at conservatives and think how stupid they are.
I live near Chicago, where everybody knows about the debacle with our governor a couple years ago. I have fielded many a snarky comment about that, and am thankful that I was able to deflect them, as I was not yet old enough to vote when Blago won the seat. However, this year’s election hardly shaped up to be anything different — it appeared as if Illinois would yet again be stuck with a poor leader. I thought about my vote: Quinn is a corrupt son-of-a-gun who will probably follow in the same steps as “Bleeping Blago.” Brady seems like a typical “I’m gonna say whatever the Democrat doesn’t say” Republican. Whitney? No, he’s part of the crazy Green Party. And Cohen was accused of domestic battery.
My choice was not based on laziness or ignorance, but disgust. How are we supposed to progress as a county, state, or country if we can’t even get decent people to govern us?
So with this, I call out to politicians, or people with political aspirations: please, for the sake of this country (and perhaps the sanity of the people), think about whom you are representing. Think of what your position means. Public office is a grand privilege. Rather than roll your eyes at the non-voters, think about why they’re not voting: target those people, the people who have given up on politics.
Instill hope in them that government can improve and can faithfully represent the people.