Monday, November 3rd, 2008...1:40 am
Eight years ago, I remember staying up late into the night watching Election Day coverage plunge into sheer chaos as the closest presidential election in American history unfolded in real time. I was in college, and watching a historical moment in the making seemed like a great way to kill a night hanging with my Bagel apartment comrades (I’m thinking it was in Matt/Afari’s apt with Perry?) and throwing back a few brews. Conspicuously, I didn’t exercise my right to vote in that election and I can’t remember if I even cared all that much who won. A natural instigator at heart, I just wanted to see what would happen and how big of a debacle it could become.
Four years ago, I was living/vacationing in San Diego and didn’t want to be bothered with having to register to vote or send in an absentee ballot. I remember an older guy in my office asked me if I had voted. I made up an excuse about not having permanent residency in California, but he sternly told me that it’s my duty to vote. I kind of shrugged it off and chalked it up to weird old people stuff (like worrying about cholesterol and being knowledgeable about window treatments) .
It’s no secret that young people are apathetic when it comes to voting. There’s probably a bunch of logical reasons why that’s the way it is. It’s interesting how voting seems to become more important to people as they get older. In one of my first posts on the blog in February 07 I wrote about voting and was just beginning to come around to realizing it’s significance (interesting to read P’s stinging comments to that post!). It’s like one day we all have a collective epiphany where we go from “my vote doesn’t matter” to voting is a “right, privilege and duty”. In my cynical youth, I was pretty sure that adults feigned outrage just to seem sophisticated. But now I’m that adult!
I’ll skip all the patriotic-constitutional freedoms-suffrage to the people- verbiage because it’s precisely those overused clichés that are ineffective. Here’s my reason why you, and everybody else, should sacrifice an hour of your time on Tuesday to go vote.
As I sat on that couch eight years ago, I wasn’t mature or insightful enough to realize that I had the opportunity to help determine who would be the leader of the free world. I didn’t realize that this election would dramatically influence the course of the world which we all share.
I’m already starting to get all philosophical so let be more clear before you zone out. [BTW, i went on a date a few months ago with a girl who said she didn’t care about voting. I went into a stumbling monologue why that was a bad attitude. The next day i sent her a link to the register to vote. I’m still waiting to hear back from her about our next date!…On the brigh side, if you unsubscribe after reading this blog post at least my skin has already been thickened. Anyway…
George Bush won. Al Gore lost. If it were the other way around lots of things in our world would be different. How we dealt with our enemies. How we dealt with ourselves. How we treat our planet. How we treat each other. How we live. How safe we are. It goes on and on.
I believe that the next president will be just as powerful in steering our country through our future. I want our next President to lead us into a future that I endorse. I want to say that I contributed to that in the most direct way possible. Yeah, there’s also a chance that the person I vote for isn’t the best solution. Or that I’m wrong in some of my beliefs on what is best for this country. As much as that scares me, it scares me more to think the future of our country is being created without me. Voting give you the right to care. I want to have a clear conscious knowing that I either validated or rejected our country’s path. My Nana always tells me “Brian, it’s your America”. I want it to be.
As for the argument that we live in NY or CA or wherever and our vote doesn’t even count. Well that argument is just a few fries short of a happy meal. Yes, I realize you don’t need to be captain of the 1998 Great Neck North math team to know that if NY had one less vote for either candidate it won’t effect the result of the election. But if every single individual voter had that attitude, well, it wouldn’t be much of an election. Furthermore, the “my vote doesn’t matter” argument is akin to “you’re going to die anyway so what’s it matter what you do in life”. It’s not about them, it’s about you.
One last thing – Election day, especially for a presidential election, should be a national holiday (or at least a national half-day). There are lots of people who don’t have the ability to carve out an hour in their day to vote because of their binding daily responsibilities to their career, family, wii, etc. Isn’t it about time we use some of the great technology we’ve developed in the last quarter century to make it as easy as possible for everyone to vote.
Check out this awesome video to get you pumped. I dig the message and the dancing — you can vote however you like