Certainly there are legitimate reasons to miss an election. You might fall deathly ill or get into a serious car accident on your way to vote. Your children might be sick and you can’t find someone to watch them for you but you don’t want to infect other voters. You might get called out of town unexpectedly for something you can’t miss, like a funeral.
Really though, most people who don’t vote are just lazy, and/or they are ignorant fools who think it doesn’t matter.
I think voting matters tremendously. The party in charge of Congress and the Senate sets the legislative agenda. They decide if issues ever come up for debate or are buried. They can raise or lower your taxes, drastically impact national defense and national security, and spend your hard earned money on pork barrel projects.
In previous posts, I discussed my grappling with how to vote as a Christian. I carefully considered my representatives and their positions, and felt that I did not have moral grounds to vote for their opponents. It wasn’t really a “lesser of the two evils” question in my district.
What I did decide to do, and what I would encourage readers to do as well, is to write my representatives letters explaining my vote. I will tell them that my vote for them should not be considered a vote for the status quo, but rather one more chance to get it right (because the other guy would have gotten it wrong for sure). I am concerned that six years of Republican power has not led to greater strides on the pro-life front. I am concerned that Republicans have thrown fiscal responsibility into the wind. I am concerned that so many Republicans are jumping on the cut-and-run bandwagon regarding Iraq policy. I will list these and other issues, and respectfully ask my representatives to consider my concerns as they approach their next term in office.
I understand that many people feel they cannot in good conscience vote for either main party. Sometimes these folks vote for independents, or Libertarians, or the Constitution Party, and sometimes they abstain from voting, not out of laziness or apathy, but out of principle. I respect that. However, I think to be effective, a thoughtful abstention needs to be followed up with thoughtful and thorough letters to EACH candidate for that office, explaining why you couldn’t vote for any of them. It may be a drop in the bucket, but just staying home really doesn’t advance the cause.
On a more cheerful note, hurray for no more political ads and commercials this year!!!! It was getting NUTS around here! I might actually enjoy seeing the cheesy “built Ford tough” commercials. OK, no, I’ll still plug my ears and sing “la la la” when those come on, but I’m glad to see the mudslinging put to temporary rest.