Anecdote A: A girl in my in my class ( who is, by and large, insufferable, but that’s irrelevant here) was talking yesterday about how she’s not registered to vote. She’s 20, so she wasn’t old enough to vote in the last presidential election (and let’s face it, people don’t register for midterms so we’ll forgive her there) but that she CHOSE not to register during this election cycle because she feels that the political system is corrupt and dysfunctional and her vote won’t matter.
If you feel this way, please watch this excellent explanation on why voting is so important by Hank Green that was floating around Tumblr a couple of weeks ago. The voice of the constituency matters, even if your guy doesn’t win the election. Not voting is not a protest, it is silence. Silence never solved anything. Silence cannot change the world.
Anecdote B: There’s a proposal on the ballot in Michigan which would amend the state constitution to prohibit the construction of new international bridges or tunnels without a popular vote. The ads supporting this proposal (which in my unscientific observation outnumber those opposing it by about a billion to one) claim that we can’t leave such important decisions in the hands of politicians.
These ads make me want to bang my head against a wall, but they are also extremely effective because they play into a common and self-perpetuating misconception about the way that representative democracy works. The idea is simple: politicians are a different species who act entirely without thought of their constituency and they are not to be trusted. The problem with this line of thinking is two-fold. First of all, it is predicated on the idea that politicians are simply spawned into their seats, fully dressed and hair gelled. That’s not true. The people elect the politicians. Politicians are, in fact, human, which means that they’re corruptible and prone to error. They also like to spin facts so that your decision doesn’t seem so hard. Sometimes they even outright lie. However, if you pay attention, despite vagueness and platitudes and spin, most politicians carry out or at least attempt to carry out the platform on which they ran. So if you don’t know who your representatives are or what they stand for or whether they can be trusted or not then that is on YOU. Secondly, if anything, one of the primary functions of the government is to construct and maintain infrastructure. That is why we have a government. If you feel you cannot trust your elected officials to carry out one of the most basic functions of government then elect. different. officials.
Anecdote C: A girl that I grew up with (whom I adore, but that is irrelevant here also) is an undecided voter, which is fine, but keeps referring to the choice between Romney and Obama as a choice of the “lesser of two evils.”
I hate, hate, hate this terminology. It is not new. It’s been around for a long time. I remember my mother using this terminology when referring to the Clinton/Dole election (she now loves Clinton - history lends perspective). BUT THERE IS NO “EVIL” INVOLVED. This is the kind of language that feeds into the concept that politicians are that different species who cannot be trusted and that we have no real power anyway and boohoo poor us.
Look, I may not agree with everything the President says or does. I might disagree with some aspect of his foreign policy (which is true) or I might not like somebody he appoints to the Supreme Court in his next term or I might think he didn’t do this well enough or that could be better, but the fact is that I look at him and I look at his opponent and find myself much more aligned with his vision of the future than his opponent’s even if I am not entirely aligned with it. This does not mean in any way shape or form that I am choosing the lesser of two evils. What it does mean is this: I’m an adult who makes an effort to stay informed and as such knows not only the things that I agree with that the President does but also things I don’t agree with and what the realities of those two things are and how they interact with each other. This means that I have to prioritize which issues are most important to me. This means that these decisions are difficult and worthy of a lot of thought and research which they should be because the outcomes effect EVERYBODY.
Democracy is not easy. It’s hard. If it were easy, it wouldn’t be so fragile and every person would be living under a democratic system. These are decisions that may not only have a profound affect on your life but the lives of Americans for generations. That can be scary and make you feel small and that’s understandable but that shouldn’t keep you from participating fully in the process. You are by pure accident of birth part of the slightly less than half of the global population that has the gift of a voice. It is a beautiful thing; something that countless people have fought and died for but that was just placed in your lap by virtue of your turning 18. Don’t waste your voice. Don’t sit in silence. Get informed. Make your choice. VOTE.
I’m asking everyone to consider reblogging this, just to get the facts out there.
Initiative 26 is an outrageous Amendment that is being pushed in my home state of Mississippi that will redefine the meaning of “personhood.” This so-called “Personhood Amendment” will change the legal definiton of the word “person in Article 111 of the state constitution to include “every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof.”
Not only will this amendment criminalize abortion, but it could bring about radical and disastrous results, some of which may include the banning of certain birth control (including the morning-after pill), presenting problems for couples who wish to have in-vitro fertilization, as well eradicate abortion options for victims of rape and incest.
So please, I ask you to consider reblogging this in order to spread facts regarding Initiative 26 and opposition to it. Even if you aren’t a Mississippian, please help spread support.
This isn’t about pro-choice and pro-life—it’s about pro-women. So please, stand up next to your fellow sister, get the straight facts, and protect yourself by spreading the word and voting “no” on Initiative 26.