The 2016 General Election set an all time low for voter turn-out at 55.4%. The highest turn-out in the past 60 years was 62.77% in 1960 according to The American Presidency Project. In the 56 years between1900 and 1956 the average turn-out was 59.5% by The APP. In 2016 there were 200 million registered voters – 92 million did not vote.
The United States Government is supposed to be a government for the people, by the people. Government actions, and inactions, have impacts on our daily lives in almost every way. The wealthy have their way with the government because they have the most gold, the poor and the average guy only have their voices. Why do these two conditions exist?
Apathy is the main reason and complacency is a contributor.
We just don’t care enough. Historically, voter turn-out in both federal and local elections are dismal at best. So, we get what we deserve. Could it change? Yes, absolutely it could change. How? Change requires every American citizen getting involved in running this country. Sounds like too large of a task? It’s too hard? Can’t be done!
The sky is falling anyway so why bother? Well, if that is what you think, you are probably correct – after all, you are what you think. In this country, we have an abundant amount of those negative thoughts by negative people.
I am not one of them.
I cringe whenever a politician stands up and says, “It’s what the people want.” I wonder if it really is what the people want, or is it what their big contributors want, or the lobbyist wants.
Do the representatives you voted for know what YOU want? If so, good job, well done — but you are in the minority, if they don’t know what you want, why not? Do you complain, bitch, and moan about the President, about Congress, about how your standard of living has been affected, about same-sex marriage, about gun control or the lack thereof, about taxes, about the mega-rich not paying their share, about unemployment, about immigration, etc.? In my mind you shouldn’t have the right to complain, bitch, or moan unless you do more than just vote — you need to participate in government by the people.
Those that bellyache the most and complain the loudest are those that know the least about how the process is supposed to work — notice I said, “supposed to work.”
It is supposed to be government for the people, by the people. Granted, we vote so that is participating, but voter turn outs are way short of what they should and could be. And, voting is just part of the process; you are not finished with participating when you vote. Voting either got your candidate elected to stand for you, or defeated and back to their day job.
If your candidate was elected, are they doing what you and all of your fellow voters want them to do? You elected them, they stand for you, but do they know what YOU want? How about the candidate you didn’t vote for but got elected anyway? What are they doing? Are they aware of your displeasure with them? Have you told them what and how you feel on pertinent issues?
The “by the people” standard needs reviving, pumped up, practiced, and clung to. How do you do it? Where do you start? Find out who your representatives are, and how to contact them, then go ahead and contact them, often. Make your voice heard. Tell them what you think, both good and bad.
In the past few months, there have been numerous marches, protests, and speeches. There are numerous ‘resist’ and ‘protest’ movements active today. There also are ‘support’ movements that might suit you. Search them out and if they suit you, join them.
A couple years ago I tried to organize a movement I called Participating. It started with lots of enthusiasm, but only lasted a few weeks. People were just too busy, their apathy took over.
If there was ever a time when participation is needed, it is now. There is so much to say about so many subjects. How do you feel about the chemical companies lobbying the White House to scrap regulations on pesticides? How do you feel about what’s happening with health care? How do you feel about gun violence, and gun control? How do you feel about young workers making less money than in 1975, after adjusting for inflation? How do you feel about marijuana, both medical and recreational? Do you know why marijuana was made illegal? How do you feel about WikiLeaks and Julian Assange?
There are 168 hours in a calendar week. Let’s assume that:
- You sleep 56 hours a week
- You work 40 hours a week
- You spend 10 hours a week commuting
- You spend 12 hours on weekend chores
- You spend 21 hours eating
That would leave 29 hours for whatever. Don’t you think you could devote 30 to 45 minutes each and every week communicating with your representatives? How powerful that would be if each one of you, plus three friends, and each one of them had three friends, and each one of them had three friends and so on. Yes, it can be done.
Let both the Federal and local Governments hear your voice. Get involved, discard your apathy, your efforts will pay off. It works! Get your dictionary and your thesaurus out, and then think through what you want to say. Don’t be nasty, or profane, just be honest and true.
“Well done is better than well said.” - Benjamin Franklin