Please contact E. B. Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org for information on guest blogs and interviews. Interviews for May: (5/4) Linda Norlander, (5/11) Connie Berry, (5/18) Mary Keliikoa, (5/22) Annette Dashofy, and (5/25) Rosalie Spielman.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Make Your Vote Count
NPR, however, brought me news of a number of obnoxious political ads. The one that most upsets me urged a particular segment of the voters to stay away from the polls in protest. It isn’t that I’m against boycotts, because I am not. The women and men of Montgomery, Alabama who brought the bus company to its knees over segregation showed the positive power of such boycotts.
What is so pernicious about the approach of the ad is that the people who sponsored it didn’t suggest these voters should vote for candidate X because that candidate would better represent them. No, they suggested that the best thing these people could do to voice their concern with the last two years was to voluntarily disenfranchise themselves and not vote for any candidate.
Suggesting a strategy of withholding your vote makes as much sense as telling a young child that the best way for them to protest a smaller than desired piece of chocolate cake at dinner is for the kid to stomp off to bed without any dessert. That will sure show them, by golly.
My mother has proposed a voting solution when none of the candidates is adequate: ballots would have one additional box, none of the above. Checking that box subtracts one vote from every candidate. To win, a candidate must have the highest vote count and it must be positive. If all candidates score negative, the parties have to come up with new candidates until someone gets a positive vote.
Our system is far from perfect, but it is the one we have. Voting is a right, not a requirement. Unless you happen to be a white male who owns property, generations before us toiled and shed blood to earn your constitutional right to vote. Even if none of the candidates for a race meets your preferences, one is always closer to your ideal than another.
To make your vote count, you have to vote. Please do.