I happen to have a lot of friends that are interested in politics. This is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because I can always have an intelligent discussion with someone about the state of our democracy. It’s a curse because I always come away from these conversations feeling like a back-road bumpkin.
It’s not their fault. Really, it’s not. I’m glad to have friends with strong opinions on both ends of the political spectrum. I just always feel like I’m uninformed, or failing to take something more important into account, or just flat-out wrong. And I’m not a total bumpkin. I read the paper and I take poli sci classes for fun. I care a little bit.
You know what’s awesome—and terrifying—about today? I get to speak my mind, and by law my say has as much weight as my more politically-savvy friends.
That’s actually a little intimidating, the more I think about it. But that’s the way our system is structured. That’s how we avoid this really scary thing called an oligarchy.
I can’t tell you how to vote. That kind of defeats the purpose of voting.
I can tell you that if you don’t vote, the only thing you’re hurting is the chance at a more functional government as defined by you. You’re not sending a message or hurting the other candidates or saving any money. You’re hurting yourself.
Personally? I think that voting trends in this country are too driven by social issues. I think that the pro-choice/pro-life debate, legalization of marijuana, and gender-related issues are more present in voter’s minds—or, at least they were in 2012—than economic or international issues. I think that electing political leaders who win the majority of their voters with these topics is a little bit blind. And selfish.
(Yes, I tend to lean a little bit to the right. And in this state, it almost feels like I’m at an AA meeting: “Hi, I’m Jessica and I’m a Republican”. Same confusing sense of guilt, all without the circle and monotonous response. Plenty of cookies and punch to be had, though.)
But that’s me. I have opinions about gay marriage and abortion and pot, but I’m not leading a parade or a fundraiser. Those people will vote according to social stances because they, in their mind, take forefront. Good for them.
This election, as with all other elections past and future, takes place at a unique time. Different circumstances surround these elections. It makes them no less important.
You are a person. If you are eighteen years or older, and you’re a citizen of this country, you are not a bumpkin.
It’s an awesome responsibility to vote—one that should not be taken lightly. Don’t deny yourself that right because you feel uneducated.
Have an opinion and go vote. If you don’t, you—you, reading this right now—will be the only one to suffer for it.