Monday, November 7, 2016

The Right & Duty to Vote

Tomorrow, Tuesday, November 8, 2016 is election day in the USA. Many citizens who have the right to vote will abstain because they abhor the options. Neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton appeal to voters with a refined moral compass who believe in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. For those of us with Libertarian leanings the candidates for the Republican and Democrat parties are soulless options that do not represent the country that we love, do not support our hard fought freedoms, and seem to polarize the citizenry rather than unite. 

However, as an American woman I truly believe that each offs has a duty to cast a ballot for the candidate that best represents our political psyches. It is preferable to exercise the rights that women and people of color fought and died to achieve than to abrogate the right because we dislike the options that our political process has presented. 

We are not a democracy. Americans like to posture that we have a democratic government, but we do not. We are a republic. We elect representatives to speak for us. And we tend to re-elect the same individuals repeatedly to unsuccessfully argue for what is best for our states and country. Despite what we may argue, Americans tend to like the status quo. We do not want to replace our senior crooks with less influential ideologues. We want our pork. 

As a people many of us conveniently forget that in the  more than the first century of our republic one had to be a wealthy white male to be eligible to vote. Today, thanks to the advocacy and sacrifice of suffragettes and people of color who marched and suffered indignities, incarceration and death for the right to cast a ballot, any citizen over the age of 18 who is not a convicted felon has the right to vote.  

Making a conscious decision to abstain from voting because one does not like the options gives others the power to set our future course.

Throughout our history there have been numerous elections that involved candidates that the general public really did not embrace. Hence, we had presidents such as Franklin Pierce, Warren G.Harding and James Buchanan. Yet, the republic survived because of the checks and balances memorialized in our constitution.   

While one may raise the argument that each citizen has no duty to vote, history has shown that many elections are decided on just a few ballots.  And as a woman I am grateful that brave activists such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott and Susan B. Anthony fought for 70 years to pass the 19th Amendment so that I can participate in the electoral process.  How could I as a beneficiary of such a legacy apathetically ignore my responsibility by abstention? 

Neither candidate for president appeals to me. I truly believe that neither candidate can represent my interests. However, I also believe that I must choose. While my political leanings are Libertarian, a third party candidate is not a viable option. As such I must consider the options an select the best of the worst. And so should you.

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