I live in the United States of American. Today is Election Day for us.
We are a fairly educated country. There are all kinds of outreach programs and initiatives to inform voters about the candidates, the issues. If all that doesn't work, the ad campaigns, commercials and celebrity endorsements should do the trick, right? And yet, we have one of the lowest voter turnout rates in the world.
I did a little research this election and learned that some countries, although not many, have what's called compulsory voting which essentially means citizens have to vote or they face fines, etc. Of the countries that do claim compulsory voting, very few enforce the penalties.
Being forced to vote. Not sure how I feel about that. It seems that it tends to anger people when they are forced to do anything. Do we want people voting simply to avoid a fine? They should want to vote. Have a voice in the way their country runs, who runs it.
I'm a big believer citizens should vote, should want to vote, but I'm also disenchanted most elections and some years when I'm feeling particularly grumpy it all seems silly. Here's what runs through my grumpy mind on this election night...
I live in a red state. We always turn red on the CNN board. I think maybe we went blue for Clinton one election, but for the most part we are red. I'm not red, I'm not always blue, and sometimes I lean pink, but I'm never red.
So, if I chose blue this election. Get up, go to the polls and cast my ballot for team blue, does it really matter? It's not going to be a close race, there's no margin, so why does my vote matter?
I want to believe Justin Timberlake or Wil I Am. I want to believe the stylized commercials that tell me I make a difference, that by exercising my right as an American Citizen that I can truly shape the way my state or this country runs. I want to believe it, but this year I don't.
This year I think this country is run by big business and money. This year I'm seeing the glass half empty and the candidates, the propositions, it's all sort of glomming together into a mess that I don't see being solved by which man we decided to drive the run away train.
Maybe other people feel that way? Maybe they want to vote, they don't need to be forced, but maybe they are grumpy.
It's not an excuse and my upbringing tells me I have to vote. It is a right many places don't have and I respect that. I have to pick, but this election I'm grumpy. I vote reluctantly because until we keep candidates from running multimillion dollar campaigns, until the "too big to fails" stop running the show, I just don't see the point in pretending my vote is doing much of anything.
Kind of a downer, I know but, hey at least we get a sticker. That's something.