America At A Crossroads: Not Voting Is Tantamount To Being An AWOL Citizen

January 31, 2012
Written by Janice S. Ellis... in
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Not taking the time to cast your vote could make the difference between a Congress and President we can trust to improve our lives and continuing down the same path we are currently on in this country. Photo Credit:

Not voting in the 2012 presidential primary elections is tantamount to an act of cowardice. At a bare minimum, it can certainly be considered laziness. What is the difference between being a nonvoter in a democracy and a deserter in the military? They both represent dereliction of duty.

Failing to vote is cowardice because it shows a lack of courage to take a stand, work, and vote for one party or the other and its candidates. It is laziness because it shows a lack of energy to invest the time to understand the positions and differences among the choices in order to make an informed decision on Election Day.

Cowardice and laziness seem especially fitting when we are likely to face some of the most important and closest races in recent history — when every eligible voter needs, and should want, to be counted. America in many ways is at a critical crossroads in its history.

While all attention is being focused on the undecided voters, something needs to be done to prick the conscience of the non-voters. Nonvoters have become comfortable being non-entities — not counted — relying on others to make the decision, only to become chronic complainers.

There are growing reasons to be alarmed. There was a time when nonvoters would have been too ashamed to admit they did not vote or were not registered. But today, many claim their non-participation with comfort and ease — seemingly wearing it as a badge of non-patriotic honor.

You can almost hear their pious boastings: “Voting for those incompetent crooks is beneath me. Politics and government are no longer honorable professions.” While the current Congress has one of the lowest approval ratings in recent in history, it is still no excuse.

Brash, non-voting braggarts, too many of us have become.

What a way to demonstrate being a proud American, thankful to those who made it possible, many by giving their lives for the democratic principles they fervently believed in, including the right to vote.

More and more, we are squandering the privilege with no shame, no remorse, and no sense of obligation or responsibility. Very little connection is made between failing to vote and the quality of one’s family life, the well-being of one’s community, the quality of neighborhood schools, availability of jobs, and the buying power of a hard-earned dollar.

How will our democratic process survive if this downward spiral of non-voting continues? If fewer and fewer Americans vote, over time what kind of democracy will there be?

Many young people offer such frivolous reasons as politics is boring, irrelevant, or uninteresting. Many older people hide behind cynicism, finding fault, placing blame as solace is found in self-righteous indignation and the ignoble position of being a nonvoter.

Candidates can work tirelessly to earn the right to hold an office to serve their country and the people they represent. Our political process is not a one-way street. Its failure or success is not left solely up to the candidates.

There will be Presidential primary elections and other local elections held until November 2012. Candidates for these offices present clear and distinct choices. If you are claiming there is no difference between Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, or Rick Santorum, you are truly out of touch with your government and its future impact on your life and the lives of your loved ones.

Voting is a small investment that yields decisive consequences in the quality of life in America, in your state, in your city, in your community, and the overall quality of our democratic process.

If the shoes of spinelessness and being trifling don’t fit you, then don’t wear them. One must ask, however, “If it were up to nonvoters, where would our governmental process be?”

The morning after any election of which you could have been apart, will your action have demonstrated concern or a cop-out?


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