Your vote: Use it or lose it
Yes, you read the title correctly. If you don’t vote, you should leave the country immediately. I have vacillated on this radical view but I grow tired of the low voter turnout in Solano County and in the United States as a whole. Many rejoice when there is a fifty percent turnout of registered voters. That is quite pitiful and shameful.
According to Solano’s registrar of voters, there were 191,387 registered voters in Solano County during the November 2008 presidential election. Eighty-five percent of Solano county voters (that’s 162,638) cast a ballot. Compare this to November 2010 when 196,133 people were registered to vote in Solano County but only 121,916 (62 percent) of the registered voters in Solano county voted. Where did the voters go? Why did so many discard the vote so soon after 2008?
My wrath is for those individuals who have never registered to vote, those who have let their voter registration lapse due to a lack of voting, those who are registered voters but refuse to vote, and, finally, these people are my absolute favorite, those who declare that they will never register to vote or actually vote. Well, hell, allow me to show you the door.
Naturally, the above-mentioned individuals will assert one or more of the following reasons: I have no time to learn about the issues or candidates, I am protesting the government (local, state, or federal), I don’t believe in voting (my favorite excuse), all the candidates are bad choices, etc.
I have a small test. Now, I believe everyone should vote but there are a few groups I would like to single out. This test is quite simple. Find a mirror. Look at the mirror, staring at your reflection. Then read the next two lines. If you qualify for one or both lines – you really have no excuse not to vote. Are you ready?
•The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude
•The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
How did it go? Did you qualify for one of the lines? Now do you understand the importance of voting? No? Need more proof? Okay, go to google.com and switch to image search of ‘Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith.’ Look at the full image – see that guy in the crowd pointing up at Shipp and Smith? Do you see the glee and defiance in his eyes? Shipp and Smith were not lynched for voting – they weren’t lynched for other reasons but I have always thought of the man pointing up at Shipp and Smith when I cast a ballot. Every time, anyone, whether African-American, Caucasian-America, male, female, or any other ethnicity votes, you are telling that man pointing at Shipp and Smith to go to hell. Vote so you can erase that smirk off of his face. Vote so you can avenge Shipp and Smith.
Did you know that suffragette Susan B. Anthony was arrested for voting in the 1872 presidential election? She was arrested for voting- arrested because women were not allowed to vote at that time. Vote to avenge Anthony’s arrest over such an arcane rule.
I’m comforted by the words of William Lloyd Garrison who started his own newspaper: The Liberator in 1831. As an ardent moral abolitionist of slavery in America, Garrison wrote:
“The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal, and to hasten the resurrection of the dead.”