Thursday, January 7, 2016

...for the candidate of your choice

Interesting item, front page of the Baltimore SUN the other article about a group of people in Baltimore calling themselves Black Girls Vote. Their goal is to get more people registered to vote, and not just African-American females.  They want everyone who is eligible to get on the rolls and be ready to vote this fall and forevermore.  Here is a link to their page.

This is thoroughly commendable.  A worthwhile endeavor, to be sure, but I have to wonder why it's even necessary.

Will someone please give me a reason for not voting?  For heaven's sake, if you look at social media, everyone seems to have an opinion to offer.  Why not show the strength of your convictions and vote for the person who best represents your beliefs?

Go to other countries - go back just over 50 years in THIS country - to where people are not allowed to register to vote. When you think back to the people who had to participate in voter registration rallies to clear the way for the removal of barriers such as ridiculous "poll taxes" and "citizenship literacy tests" like this one from Mississippi in the 1950s that were designed to keep people from voting, you have to wonder why people don't exercise their right to vote.  Here's another one of those tests, an insanely written exam from Louisiana, the sole purpose of which was to keep from the polls "people who cannot prove a fifth-grade education." In a state that actively sought to keep people from getting into school at all unless they were majority types.

But those days are over. And even the excuse of not liking "any of those bums" doesn't stop anyone from going to the polls and voting for someone whose name they write in.

In 2014, the Census Bureau asked some people who were otherwise eligible to vote, but did not, just why that was.  29% of them said they were "too busy." 16% said they just weren't interested in voting, 11% said they were sick that day, 10% found themselves out of town on Election Day.  8% said they forgot to vote, and the same percentage said they didn't like the candidates available.  Registration problems, transportation problems, and the inconvenience of the polling place each racked up a sad 2%.

Of course, it's up to each citizen to vote.  Wars have been fought against people trying to take away our right to do so, and people have suffered mightily for fighting for it, and so if I find myself in a political discussion with someone who says they don't vote, I just don't have anything else to say.

And that doesn't happen very often.

No comments: