ith just 51 days left until the election, it’s hard to know what, exactly, to talk about. Clinton’s health. Trump’s continuous outrageous speech. Why voting third party this time around might be a really, really bad idea. These are all things that we could, if so desiring, discuss here – the lies, the theories, and opinions (Is she really ill? Did he really say that? Don’t vote for the major parties, vote third party) until November, and probably never fall short of fuel for discussion.
But as fun as that might be, I think there’s only one thing that I should talk about now – that I *need* to talk about, and that I have to talk about:
Yes, your vote does actually matter, so please – vote.
Now, I know – you may well disagree with me on that subject, and have any one of a number of reasons, backed by various publications, that would argue against the statement I just put forth. You can quote mathematical statistics, point to quotes from elected officials that reinforce the negative assertion. Heck, bring out that George Carlin quote if you want – I stand by my statement:
Your vote matters, so please, vote.
(Allow me to clarify here, if you will, as I sense…doubt?)
Voting, reduced as simply as one can, is a numbers game. With that analogy in mind, let’s say then that numbers equal power. In this country, only those who actually vote, are counted. By removing yourself from that count, not only do you remove your own power in contribution, you simultaneously increase the power of those who do turn out. It’s a reasonable enough assumption that in a system involving more than one party (like ours) there will be those with views opposing yours, and looking to change things to suit them, quite possibly at the expense of you. Do you want to give them more power? I would assume not.
It’s often put forth that that your vote is your voice, and that not voting means you lose the right to complain about whatever is happening, because you did not vote. While I certainly agree that your vote is your voice, I disagree with the second part, and prefer to see it this way:
When you don’t vote, you silence yourself. And as you’ve probably heard, silence equals consent. Maybe not in all things, but in politics, it’s definitely viewed that way. Sorry, George Carlin, but in this, you were wrong. Yes, we are indeed responsible for what happens, if we choose poorly, and elect people who do not need to be in office. But you too bear that responsibility, because you could have said or done something, and chose not to. If anything, choosing not to vote is you saying that whatever the person elected does, you’re okay with it. You’re behind it. You can get with it – whether it’s increased spending to build new parks and free ice cream for every child in your city, or a ninety percent tax increase on the middle class, and internment camps – your silence gave consent.
Now, I’m not saying that your singular vote will indeed change the course of American history, because as we’re aware, that’s not quite how it works here. It won’t change the overall thrust of things at the top, or necessarily at the middle, because again, that’s not quite how this all works. No one vote has that magic power, but those wishing to discourage voting often play that aspect up, so that defeat becomes a greater deterrent towards future voting. Which brings me to my next point:
If voting really does not matter, why then, are so many states (Texas among them) working so hard to alter the voting process?
In 2013, the Supreme Court decision of Shelby v Holder retooled the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (enacted to address racial discrimination in voting), striking down Section 4(b), claiming among other things that the data used would be historically inaccurate compared to today. States previously prohibited from passing laws regarding voting due to prejudice would no longer require Federal clearance for passing new laws.
Within hours of the Shelby decision, then Attorney General Greg Abbott pushed through S.B 14, which had been sitting since 2011 (but blocked due to conflict with the Voting Rights Act) into effect, redefining the types of identification that would be accepted for voting, in order to address the problem of “in person voter fraud”.
Since then, the Appeals Court have determined that the new voter ID law was indeed unconstitutional, which should (in theory) make it easier for voters in Texas, come November. That is, it would be if Ken Paxton, Greg Abbott, and others, would quit lying about it.
It think it’s here that I will remind you that Greg Abbott and Ken Paxton were elected with a voter turnout of about 33 %.
The same Greg Abbott who’s sued the Obama administration 31 times, and believed that Jade Helm was designed as a means of illegal federal takeover.
The same Ken Paxton, who’s spent his entire career as Attorney General of Texas, under investigation and indictment for securities fraud (and who has also sued the Obama administration 13 times).
This administration has spent millions of your tax dollars, working to keep you from voting – you know, that thing that doesn’t matter. Millions more, on fighting against fairness and equality. They support a candidate who has openly mentioned deporting many of your fellow Texans and Americans.
Still don’t think your vote matters? Abbott and Paxton sure do, and have worked hard, spending your money, to keep you from it.
Do not reward them. Vote. Use your voice. Don’t let them use your silence as consent – whether at the city level, state level, or even federal level.
You matter. Your vote matters.