I say damn the ignorant voter! Too strong you say? As Americans, it is our privilege and duty to vote for our representatives, but too few people take this honor seriously.
Voting is not about walking into a booth to check a box. Voting is not about choosing the candidate who is most personable or handsome. Voting is not about trying something new. It’s not about getting out there to do it because some snappy commercial says it’s important for you to “Rock the Vote.”
Voting is one of the heaviest decisions we make in our lifetimes. It is our moment to make our statement as individuals and as a collective people about our rulers, our freedoms and the future of our country.
The votes that we make on policies, representatives and the president have far-reaching effects within and beyond our lifetimes. When we vote for Bachelor No. 1 or Bachelor No. 2, we aren’t just making a coin-toss choice; we are determining the course of a nation and all of her people.
Many of our forefathers came to this country to escape the tyranny of rulers whose governments gave the people little or no choice in how they were ruled. Early pilgrims braved the Atlantic Ocean in ships and toiled to build lives in an untamed wilderness just for the opportunity to establish a land of freedom.
The founders risked being hanged for treason to declare independence from Britain and later write the Constitution. African slaves labored for generations while harboring hopes for a chance at freedom (including the right to vote) that was not realized until after the Civil War. Women in petticoats and flowery hats protested in the streets with signs for the right of women to vote. Our soldiers have fought at home and abroad in multiple wars to preserve freedom. Some have returned as veterans, some have returned with wounds that will never heal, some soldiers did not return alive, and others did not return at all.
Our freedom, our right to vote, has been hard won through generations of hardship and blood. So if your idea of voting is to walk behind a curtain make a series of random choices, you disrespect all those who came before you who risked everything to secure that right.
Not only do you disrespect the Americans of the past, you jeopardize the Americans of the future. The men and women we elect create the policies that will affect the generations of America after we are long gone. Would you risk your future and the futures of all your descendants on a guess?
If you cannot name both of the presidential candidates running and have no clue what either of them stand for, stay home Nov. 6. If you cannot name the major issues at stake for this election, don’t vote. If you are only going to vote for a candidate because they belong to the same political party as you, your friends or your parents, then don’t bother to go to your polling place. If you have not given any thought to the far-reaching effects of the policies in question, watch your favorite sitcom instead.
If you don’t keep yourself informed enough to have a clear idea of what is going on in the economy, in politics, in our relations with foreign countries, with our taxes, with public education and our armed forces, then don’t go to the polls to check a box. It is irresponsible and dangerous to our future.
I say damn the ignorant voter because your ignorance damns us all.
Jessica Boucher lives in Nevada City.
It’s not about getting out there to do it because some snappy commercial says it’s important for you to “Rock the Vote.”