Today I waited in line for 2 hours to vote and I couldn’t be happier. Ok, so I hated the fact that a good bit of the wait was because the line system was inefficient, but I was thrilled that there were so many people out voting. I loved that instagram was covered with pictures of peoples “I voted” stickers [see below, and yes I got an extra in case mine fell off. Love those stickers] and I was pleased to see so many voting story status updates, even if they were all the same. Voter turnout is usually abysmally (and embarrassingly) low and if social media is any indicator of things, maybe this year will be different.
For the last two weeks I have been harping my students about voting, using all of our recently learned subjunctive phrases to remind them of the obligation/ necessity/ desire to vote. Why?
BECAUSE IT IS REALLY IMPORTANT.
Don’t tell me your vote doesn’t matter – I live in DC so mine really doesn’t matter. That is irrelevant, and wrong, because if everyone thought that then there would be no election. But the bigger truth is that our whole idea of democracy is based on the idea that we all take part to elect our officials. Lots of people fought and bled their way to securing us the right to vote and I get so upset when people don’t seem to care.
You know what has annoyed me the most about this election? Certainly not the negative political ads. Why do people get all surprised every year by negative ads? No one gets elected by saying nice things about the other person. And have you ever studied history? Today’s polictics are by far not the meanest our country has been through.
What has really annoyed me is the proud way people have been parading their apathy across the internet. Yes, we already know that most of our generation is totally selfish and devoid of any interest in anything other than what affects their daily life – but do we really have to broadcast it? I got so tired of Facebook statuses lamenting other politically minded statuses or proudly posting things like “[not commenting on the presidential election here].” Well good for you. How much are you enjoying life under that idealistic rock? And as long as we are under idealistic rocks – third party candidates just don’t win. They don’t. Let yourself emotionally vote during the primaries, but when the big kid elections come up, try not wasting your vote just so you can gleefully announce that you are still believing in Ron Paul.
The fact of the matter is that you are required to care, at least for a couple months every four years. Other people have given up a lot so that we have an amazing government, nation, and system of elected officials, and your responsibility is to care a little, pay attention a bit, and VOTE. The rest of the time, by all means, post more mirror/cell phone self-shots of yourself, or pictures of your lunch, or lines from random songs. But every four years, just for a little while, would it hurt to care? And if it does, would it be so awful to at least conceal your total apathy a little?
So if you voted – thank you. If you didn’t, keep your mouth shut for the next four years.