Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Voting: A Right and a Responsibility

Maybe an aspiring computer scientist really shouldn’t have anything to say about politics, political processes, or voting, but I do have an opinion, and I have the platform of this corner on the Internet to say express it, so I will.

After class this morning, I drove over to the local Junior High to go and cast my vote. There was a line, and I waited for about twenty minutes, it was good to see people showing up to voice their opinions, and let their voices be heard. Whether you agree with the Electoral College or not, it behooves every eligible American citizen to cast a ballot for the men or women whom the voter thinks will represent him or her and his values. Because of the criticality of the decisions being made in the voting booth, it is also of paramount importance that each person makes the effort to be informed of the issues. Listening to the radio, reading local and national newspapers/magazines, reading the voter guide, and just making sure that they have spent the time so that they can make an educated decision is important. If I am to elect someone to represent me, then I had better make sure that I know what I am getting into when I make my vote.

After voting today, I got into work and quickly checked a few of the message boards that I read daily. Usually these boards are not a place where politics are discussed, because of the varying backgrounds of the participants. However, for a change of pace someone had posted an “off topic” discussion where he stated that he was not going to vote and why. This man is highly educated, and respected in this particular online community, and all I can say is that though it is his right to say what he said, I completely disagree. Voting may indeed be a right, but it is also a responsibility. For whatever reason, I find it very sad that this person, who has opinions, and has studied the issues, feels that for whatever reason, the apathetic way is the best. Maybe said person feels he can’t support any of the candidates, is that a reason not to vote? Is there a way to find the lowest common denominator, and vote for the person that most closely matches what you feel is correct and good?

In the opinion section of the campus newspaper, the paper’s editorial staff says:

“Skip a class if you have to. Go ahead and walk those 10 miles uphill both ways in the snow without shoes and a little brother on your back to that voting booth (your grandparents apparently did it every day, you can do it for one).

And expect your neighbors to be doing the same. Let's go out there and live the dreams of everyone who gave their lives so we could walk into that little booth and check a name.

There's no way to know for certain what tomorrow or the next four years will hold. Some things are out of our control.

But one thing left entirely up to us is the ability to wear that little white sticker that says, "I voted."”

I whole-heartedly agree.

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