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07/03/2012 05:47 AM
NOT VOTING AFFECTS YOU
How many times have you heard someone say, “I don’t vote” or “there is no one worth voting for.” Then they complain about what is happening. You complain about governmental things happening.
No one can argue today there being bitter antagonism between Democrats and Republicans. Each party claims the other side is vindictive, divisive, and wrong. “Tax and Spend” Democrats versus “The Greedy Rich” Republicans makes for good headlines. It does not make for good government.
The media is partially to blame. Conflict is much more appealing to viewers than rational debate. No one watches reality shows to see what Snooki is cooking for dinner. People want to see arguments, clashes, and fights. People tune in to Hannity and Maddow to see politicians get torn apart, candidates to be shown as liars, policies get shredded. Everyone watches to see his or her arguments be proven right (or left).
What does that have to do with voting? Perhaps everything! If things are so combustible, if candidates and platforms are all so wrong, then why bother voting. If every candidate is proven a liar, if every program is proven faulty, if every bill ever passed has made the country worse, why would anyone vote for any candidate? Because they are not all bad, or even mostly bad!
What is bad is not voting. Demographically, the percentage of people voting is proportional to their income. Simply put, the more your income, the more likely you are to vote. This gives the richest people proportionally more power. Not from their money, simply from their vote. And your not voting gives them that much more power.
For instance, a small town has two candidates for Mayor. Candidate Amos is a good old rich guy, made his fortune the old fashioned way—he inherited it. Candidate Betty is a hard working greeter at the local drugstore.
All the rich folk love Amos; he supports their causes and proposes city ordinances that will help them. All the poor people love Betty; she knows what it is like to have very little money.
There are 100 eligible voters in Smalltown. 20 are rich, 20 are poor and the other 60 are in the middle. Election day comes. All 20 rich people vote (20). Half (30) the middle class votes. No poor people vote (0). The rich and half the middle class vote for Amos. He gets 20 +15 ( ½ of 30) for 35 votes to become mayor. The poor people, like other poor people, do not bother to vote. Betty only gets the half of the middle class (again ½ of 30), or 15 votes. Amos wins 35 to 15, a landslide.
But what happened? Half the people supported each candidate! It should not have been a landslide, it should have been an extremely close race.
All because some people did not vote. Each non-voter is as responsible for that election as each voter. If they supported Amos, he would have won in an even bigger landslide and could rightly claim a mandate to make the system what he promised. If they supported Betty, her loss is on their shoulders as much as it is on the shoulders of the voters who voted against her.
I am not telling you who to vote for. I am not telling you which party is better. I am telling you that you DO have an interest in the coming election. Become informed. NOT VOTING AFFECTS YOU!