Last week I saw a Levi’s commercial urging Americans to vote. It’s a great spot and bravo to them for doing it, but that they should have to, makes me crazy. Theirs is the only commercial I’ve seen — at least so far. But apparently, they’re just one of many companies doing it.
The Skimm has also been pounding away at trying to get people to vote. For those of you unfamiliar with it, The Skimm is a quick and easy-to-read daily digest of news stories.
They’re so concerned about low voter turnout among female Millennials, for months leading up to voter registration for the upcoming US midterm election, they launched a “no-excuses” campaign, with daily tips, apps, info and even a link to register.
For the life of me, I will never understand why people are so ambivalent about voting, how they have no compunction whatsoever about sitting out an election.
To be perfectly honest, it really pisses me off. And as far as I’m concerned those who waste their vote are no better. You know who I mean — either they write in the name of their dog, or they vote for the candidate least likely to win. And their excuse is, “I don’t like any of the candidates.”
Well, you know what? Too bad! Suck it up. It’s an imperfect world. And I don’t want to live with the consequences. So get off the couch and pick a candidate who has a real shot at winning — one whose platform and values you can live with, one who’s at least decent and sane and has some integrity. One who doesn’t lie for a living, one who won’t turn allies into enemies, one who isn’t a laughing stock, one who won’t press the wrong button at the wrong time and hide in a bunker while the world blows up.
Get involved — at the local or federal levels. Volunteer, show up at community meetings, speak up, speak out, protest, write letters, send emails, leave voicemails. Do your bit. Make a difference. Set an example. Run for office yourself in your own local community if you’ve got what it takes and can mobilize the resources you need. Do something. Do anything.
But do not check out. Do not say “I’m just one person, my vote doesn’t matter.” And under no circumstances — if you turn your back on democracy, on your right to vote, on your responsibility to vote — do not — while in my presence — either in my physical presence or online — complain about the outcome of an election or the state of politics or how much you hate what’s going on in your city, state, province or country. Not even for a minute. Just do not.
I have always felt this way but since Brexit and the 2016 US election, it just inflames me. For the record, I’m no happier with Ontarians who were equally irresponsible when it came to electing a premier this past June. And I’m holding my breath about this month’s municipal election for a mayor. I wasn’t crazy about the choices in June and I’m not crazy about them now, but that’s not an excuse.
Abstaining or wasting a vote is not a solution. What’s wrong with people? It’s not rocket science. Why can’t they figure that out? Why don’t they care enough about issues, about rights, about the environment, about themselves, about their families and future generations to take voting — and what it means — seriously?
Geez! Come on people. Show up!
“Frustration” illustration by Dan4th Nicolas, through Flickr on Creative Commons