Abandon Your Vote – Ruin Your Country
Which Voter Type Are You?
By being American, we are all equally gifted with the right to vote at 18 years of age, but we don’t all treat it equally. I have observed Four Voter Types.
First, are The Courageous Voters, who are both voters and activists devoting much of their time to positively contributing to society. They pay attention and are well versed on the issues. They follow creative, constructive, compelling and intelligent serious candidates. They are proactive with their emotions, are not swayed by inflammatory rhetoric, and they understand that a more perfect union is possible only when people vote and stay active all year long. They hold their elected representatives accountable by calling and writing to them.
Second, are The Concerned Voters, who stay on top of the issues and educate themselves about policy but somewhat less rigorously than do the Courageous Voter. They are not swayed by inflammatory rhetoric and are looking to learn and listen. They understand that it is important to be heard by their elected representatives, although, because they are concerned about privacy, are hesitant to advocate for any positions publicly. They too understand that democracy is delicate and that voting is their primary expression of power.
Third, are The Casual Voters, who willingly abandon their vote by failing to vote in every election. Unknowingly, they are playing right into the hands of those who do not want everyone to vote.
The late Paul Weyrich, an influential religious conservative political activist and commentator, said in a 1980 speech to his followers: “I don’t want everybody to vote … As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.” This speech initiated decades of plans on how to disenfranchise and suppress voter turnout in America.
The Casual Voters can often be fooled by the strength of a candidate’s personality, and they will not take the time to ascertain the candidate’s character or anti-character behavior. Casual Voters vote only when it is convenient, and will skip ballot questions and are less likely to take the time to research issues, especially the all-important judgeships.
Fourth, are The Caustic Voters, who vote for destructive and disruptive reasons. They are angry, reactive, vindictive and irrational and represent a clear and present danger to democracy. These voters are drawn to their candidates and political and cultural issues because it hits an emotional or fear-based resonance within them. Caustic Voters may have good intentions but their emotions have over taken their rational side. They may be called the Angry Voter, Nostalgia Voter, Values Voter or One-Issue Voter. The Caustic Voter will be fooled by the strength of a candidate’s personality and blinded to their anti-character behaviors.
In addition to the Four Voter types, there is the Cynical Citizen who is a non-voter. Cynical Citizens believe they have been unforgivably, abandoned by their country. They think the political parties are all the same, that their vote doesn’t make a difference, and nothing will ever change … not realizing, in fact, that America has already changed because of apathy and low-voter turnout. They throw their birthright away and directly assist America’s powerful forces, corporations, billionaires and conservatives, who know that their self-interests will win if less people turn out to vote.
After a recent local election, a newspaper article quoted the Registrar of Voters forecast for the election, saying only a 35% turnout was expected because “… there are not a lot of hot issues on the primary ballot.” This meant that 65% of registered voters were abandoning their vote by staying at home or at work or believed their vote would not count, or that there were not enough hot or exciting issues to warrant their time.
They totally miss the main point — that voting is the hot issue because so many nefarious forces are stealing it from them. It is the hot issue of all issues in a democracy.
In 1996, Taiwan became a democracy and had its first presidential election with a 76% voter turnout. It was a spectacular level of voter participation. That same year, the voter turnout for the United States presidential election was 49%. What would this country look like if America had a 76% voter turnout?
In a democracy, it is incumbent upon each and every one of us to make informed decisions at least once every year. Yes, there are elections every year. Vote for your school board. Vote for your city council. Vote for your representatives. Become as involved as your busy life permits, and do your research so that you can cast your vote with supreme confidence.
Never let anyone tell you that your vote doesn’t matter. Do you know when your vote doesn’t matter? When you don’t cast it. Read. Talk. Listen. If your elected representatives do something of which you disapprove, you had better let them know. If they do something you endorse, let them know that too.
In a functioning republic, the elected officials Constitutionally perform a representative responsibility with the true power resting in the hands of each and every one of us, with our vote and ability to recall, making decisions together, supporting each other, doing what we think is best.
Can you take a stand and move a step up from your current Citizen Voter Type?
Can you commit to yourself to always vote responsibly, in the big and small elections, regardless of the speed bumps that are put in your way?