Today in the U.S., five states are holding their Grand Old Party (GOP) Primaries. Voters in Connecticut, Delaware, New Year, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island are going to the polls to cast their ballots for the Republican that they want to represent them in the general election later this year.
Or are they?
Our Civic Duty
Many voters in those states feel that the primary is wrapped up, that the November ballot has been set, that the general election will be between current U.S. President Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Romney. Most likely they are right.
As a result, many voters feel that performing their civic duty is not worth their time. Voter turnout is expected to be quite low in some of these states. By some estimations, fewer than 20% of eligible voters will even bother showing up. One in five.
At the risk of offending people, that’s bad. As Americans, many of our forefathers fought and died so that we might have a voice in the leadership of America. They faced tremendous adversity that we may have a say in our government. Still today, many service men and woman sacrifice time with their families and even make the ultimate sacrifice with their very lives for the same reason.
And many of us don’t even bother to show up.
Vote Your Heart
Your voice should be heard. If you live in one of those five states, go to the polls, cast your ballot, and vote your heart. Don’t vote for the “most electable” candidate. Vote for the one that most represents your ideals. If that’s Obama on the Democratic side, that’s fine. I encourange you to vote that way. If you most closely align with Romney, ok, show it by casting your ballot.
But if neither of those candidates speak to you, if neither are closely aligned with your view of the world, vote your heart. It’s not throwing your vote away. It’s making a statement to the two party system that we think it’s broken and we want a fresh new approach. Perhaps a three, four, or even six party system would be better. I, for one, would like to give that a try. I don’t think it can be much worse.
What’s One Vote?
Ahh, but you say there’s no point, that one vote cannot make a difference in the outcome. Perhaps that’s true. But speaking your voice through the process is worthwhile. If everyone voted their heart, imagine how things could be different.
And perhaps one vote can make a difference. Consider this:
- In 1645, one vote gave Oliver Cromwell control of England
- In 1649, one vote caused Charles I of England to be executed
- In 1845, one vote brought Texas into the Union
- In 1868, one vote saved President Andrew Johnson from impeachment
- In 1876, one vote gave Rutherford B . Hayes the presidency of the United States
- In 1923, one vote gave Adolf Hitler the leadership of the Nazi Party
So if your home state is holding its primary today, get out there and speak your mind. Tell Obama that you support him, show Romney that you agree with his positions, or tell them both that you live by a different set of standards and you want them to know it.
Go ahead. We owe it to those who gave everything so that we would have that right.