Why Should (or Shouldn’t) We Vote?
As many of you know yesterday was election day. So, just like many people out there, I felt the need to talk about the elections with my friends. And, in every one of the conversations I started with the same question, “Did you vote today?” To my surprise, every time I asked this question I was told no. Then came the follow-up question, “Are you going to vote today?” And again I was met with a resounding no. Maybe I was just talking to the wrong people, but in any case all of this voter apathy got me thinking. All this discussion on social contract theories is fine and dandy, but what happens when a social contract is accepted and yet the people simply don’t follow through?
What’s the point in deciding to be a democracy if the people don’t follow through with their civic duty? Can it even be considered a representative government when only about half of those able to vote bother to show up to cast a ballot? These questions I pose simply as food for thought, as I have no profound answers for you.
Maybe what I should really think about is why so many people don’t show up to the polls. In talking with all of my friends who don’t vote, the main reason isn’t that they don’t care about this country, but instead that they simply don’t feel informed enough to make the right decision. Now, not being informed certainly may seem like a “don’t care” attitude, but it seems to me that there is a difference. They aren’t voting because they don’t give a damn, they’re not voting because they’re afraid to make the wrong choice. This is ridiculous because of course you’re going to make the wrong choice sooner or later, but thankfully there are enough people voting that the guilt doesn’t fall on you alone. If a representative does a terrible job it isn’t the fault of one voter, but of the voters as a whole. And even if we all screw up and pick a terrible person, we’ll get another chance the next time an election comes around. So why not vote those times that you get the chance?
One of my friends also voiced an opinion against young people voting. My friend said, “I don’t think young people should vote unless they are extremely involved in politics. They don’t have the experience and wisdom that older voters do.” This logic is faulty because how do you become an experienced and wise voter without ever voting? And what makes an older person any more informed than those of the younger generation?
I guess since I vote and think voting is important, I can’t understand the perspective of my friends. If you don’t vote I would really be interested to hear why. Why not take part and make a difference?