THANK YOU FOR NOT VOTING? “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time. And that should be sufficient for most purposes.” “What?,” you say, “That’s not what Lincoln said!.” True, he didn’t say that, at least not in his public version. Lincoln is quoted as finishing this adage with “But you cannot fool all the people all the time.” And, fortunately, we do not fool ourselves all the time. We are not political fools – unwitting victims of political processes powered by greedy, earth-destroying corporations and grossly rich people. We, my fellow Americans, are the roots of the political process, providing the nutrients that feed and sustain our elected officials. We even have an instruction manual. Yeah, you know what it’s called.
Our citizenry (the foolish and unfoolish alike) has an awesome responsibility. We are asked to fulfill our civic duties by: 1) registering to vote, 2) then voting for various individuals and initiatives, and 3) then holding those elected to the highest standards while in office. (Most of us forget about #3). We will elect 435 house representatives, 35 senators, 12 governors, one president and vice president, and hundreds of state and local officials, and say aye or nay on hundreds of ballot initiatives which will affect our incomes, taxes, environment, health care, and civil liberties. Yes, an awesome responsibility and not to be undertaken lightly.
There are about 225,778,000 eligible voters in the U.S., but only about 124,177,900 (55%) will actually vote. (Maybe a bit more in this election, but definitely not more than 60%. i ) If you choose not to vote you are giving your vote to a random stranger who does vote, (and we all know not to get in a car with a stranger unless they have the good kind of candy and/or need help finding their lost their puppy.) A 55% turnout means each actual vote is worth 1.82 votes. That is, each voter become more powerful when there are eligible non-voters. What a wonderful system we control – the foolish and unfoolish alike.
And how do we keep our elected officials on the straight and narrow. Become helicopter constituents. Who are they spending time with? Are they keeping good company? Are they getting to their meetings on time? Are they doing their homework and putting in full days? Do they get along well with others? Do they share? Do they call home often and let us know what is going on? Make sure you emphasize that you know they are big enough to do things by themselves , but you just want to follow along and take notes to see if there is possible room for improvements. All for their own good, of course. NEXT Week: Creating a New Political Party Called “The No-Crybaby Party.”