Non-Voters No Problem

Posted by By at 10 November, at 07 : 47 AM Print

We do a lot of hand-wringing over the numbers of registered voters versus the number of voters who actually, you know, show up.

It just occurred to me that we are wasting our time.

Look, in this country, there are darned few outward impediments for any citizen who wishes to vote being able to do so. It’s not as though people have to ride burros or camels over rugged trails to get to the polling place, hoping that no brigands brandishing assault rifles would get in our way. The only impediment to voting in the U.S. of A. is our collective inability to pull our sorry butts away from our daily routines and spend a few minutes once every six months making a difference.

I would imagine that many of those folks who can’t be bothered to vote for their legislative leaders are all to eager to vote someone on to the next round of Dancing with The Stars, or off the island. And no, I don’t think making it possible to vote by hitting a set of numbers on your cell phone is a good idea.

I think we need to change our way of looking at this problem. Maybe we should stop thinking of it as a problem. Reduce our stress. Take a load off.

We who vote should simply think of ourselves as the elite, the real citizens, the crème de la crème, as it were. That’s the ticket.

After all, while the non-voters claim that they are all taxpayers, so are we. But we do the heavy lifting, the comparing of candidates, thinking about the issues, weighing our choices. Well, that’s the theory, anyway. I know some just vote on anybody who’s a member of the same party they are, regardless of qualifications for the job or the lack thereof. That’s their right, of course. The fact is that straight-party voting is, in my view, the result of thinking about elections the same way we think about sporting contests. It may be fun and a great distraction, not to mention leaving out the hard work of having to think about one’s choices. But it does remove some of the filters. Somehow, it doesn’t sound very edifying to cheer that you won the race by putting an idiot in office, on the argument that at least he or she is YOUR idiot.

Sure, all those people out there who don’t vote are missing out on being part of the system that is going to nudge their lives in one direction or another over the next however many years. We can bite our knuckles and come up with all sorts of schemes to get more people registered, as if that is somehow going to get them out to vote. We have been deluding ourselves into thinking that there is something in the way that prevents them from slogging down to the polls and making a few inky ovals on a paper, or pushing the right spots on a screen.

We would be right, of course. But what is in the way of these good people going to vote is that they don’t care. Oh, they’ll grouse and gripe at what gets done or not done, but that’s their right. Bellyaching is protected by the Constitution’s Bill of Rights, not in so many words, but it’s there.

But griping about the actions of a government in which you gave not the least participation is really the worst sort of Monday morning quarterbacking.

Here’s an idea: Maybe non-voters ought to lose something for not taking part. Oh, wait. They already do.


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This post was written by:
- who has written 28 posts for Rock The Capital
T.W. Burger was born in western Pennsylvania but spent more than 30 years growing up in Athens Ga., with a two-year side-trip to Greenville, Mississippi. He has lived in the Gettysburg area since 1985. Before becoming a newspaper reporter at 35, he was an apprentice mortician, concrete mixer driver, garbageman, salesman, laboratory technician and all-around roustabout. He has written professionally since the late 1970s. He lives along Marsh Creek near Gettysburg with his partner Sue and a loose affiliation of cats. He is the author of the “Burger to Go” blogsite at - Email tburger


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